Can attitude and action equal positive aging?

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When was the last time you were on a playground swing, or a swing hanging from a large tree branch? (I’ve occasionally enjoyed a swing at the school playground across from our home.) Did you pump up your own swing speed? Did you get a push from someone? Did you have fun?

Swings can be a fun metaphor, too, when we think of the swinging transition from one attitude of aging into another attitude. While we’re in the air, we can experience a different freedom inside, swinging hopefully into a new future as we grow older.

Then as we tire of the back-and-forth motion, we slow ourselves down until our feet drag the ground and our swinging comes to a stop. Now we need to stand up and decide which action we’ll take to match our freer-swing attitude.

Which direction will we walk? Will we move toward a new attitude of intentional hope and change, or will we backtrack toward a more familiar, comfortable attitude that might keep us trapped in negative thoughts about our aging?

If you’re in any quandary about which direction your attitude swing should impact your action once you’re back on the ground, I encourage you to swing into positive aging. That’s the direction next Tuesday’s Geezer Forum will take.

In our gathering on January 22, 2:30-4 p.m. at Columbia Bank’s Community Room, we’ll use “digital aging” (photos) to stimulate both our imaginations and our conversations. We’ll first identify some of the negative attitudes/actions many adults succumb to as we face personal and cultural challenges of growing older.

But then we will counter-balance the negative attitudes and actions with photos that remind us how positive aging is begun and nourished by attitudes and actions to honor our aging as a given (“it is what it is”, but only up to point).

So many marvelous people model for us what aging can be at its best. Who inspires you? Many people inspire me.

We must take very seriously the struggles many experience on a daily basis, struggles we might label as loneliness, idleness, illness, lack of meaning/purpose, depression, isolation, ageist stereotypes, etc. But taking them seriously doesn’t mean we have to stay caught in their grips forever.

So our Digital Aging visual reminders and our conversation at next Tuesday’s Geezer Forum will try to remind us we have significant choices we can intentionally make on a daily basis. Those choices can swing us into attitudes and actions that enrich our lives. They can renew our relationships with family and friends, and even draw us into activities that nourish both us and the community we are live in.

Please consider joining us for a 90-minute swing toward healthier living in the journey we might rightly call Positive Aging. Oh, and bring some extra smiles along with you. Someone might need one.

Paul Graves, M.Div., is lead geezer-in-training of Elder Advocates, a consulting ministry on aging issues. Contact Paul at 208-610-4971 or elderadvocates@nctv.com.

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