In this fourth part of our series, “Growing Older Gracefully,” we want to share some thoughts that may help make the aging process a time of blessing. These practical suggestions can positively influence not only ourselves but also others around us. In previous articles, we looked at our relationship with God and the importance of gratitude, as these aspects form the foundation for rewarding, golden years.
I had discussed this topic with some older brothers and sisters of faith, and I would like to share some of their hopes and useful ideas:
– On a daily basis, I want to pray for my family and also the people I interact with. Through prayer, I desire to build a close and intimate relationship with Jesus, who is my Savior and best friend. “God, please let me experience a stronger connection to Your Spirit and Your presence. Let my relationship with You be more real than the physical world around me.” This is also my prayer, both for now and for my entire life.
– I want to keep reminding myself that this world is not my final home. God has prepared a wonderful place for us in heaven where we will be one day. This perspective brings joy, courage, and hope into my life and prevents me from losing heart. Instead, I can look to the future with anticipation and be grateful for everything I have.
– I would like to focus less on myself and my problems. Instead, I want to have compassion for others and be interested in their lives and struggles. I want to share in their successes and days of happiness and encourage them.
– I hope to radiate joy wherever I am. It is my goal to brighten my surroundings so that those who visit or care for me are refreshed and encouraged.
– I desire to remain adaptable and not stuck stubbornly in my own views or insist that my way is always best. Instead, I want to have the ability to step back, ask questions, and recognize that there are likely multiple possible options. I want to be able to consider different ideas and be open to new ways of doing things. Listening to younger people is especially valuable because they have experienced so many advances in technology that may be foreign to us.
– I don’t want to be a curmudgeon! I don’t want to wallow in complaints or assume I’m being overlooked. I don’t want to be the one who says, “Why didn’t you visit me? Why didn’t you call me? Why can’t you stay longer?” I pray for a loving spirit and understanding when my children (including my children-in-law) are busy with their lives and have limited time for me. I hope and pray that they will ensure I am not neglected or rejected.
– I want to be open to my children’s advice and suggestions. If they tell me that a dress or other article of clothing looks really dated and worn out, I plan to replace it. I will make an effort to get rid of shabby things and irritating habits. If my actions or words are inappropriate, I hope my children will gently remind me. As much as I am able, I want to have the grace to change.
– If possible, before I am no longer able, I would like to declutter my life, donate things, and downsize. I don’t want my family to have to deal with an overflowing dumpster when I’m gone. Instead, I want to leave them with meaningful memories.
– I strive to make it my priority to follow Jesus and fulfill His mission by telling others about Him and making them His disciples. This applies to all of us, regardless of our age. Even though I don’t travel to faraway places to spread the Gospel, I see and talk to people from all over the world who live near me. They are our children, grandchildren, neighbors, and even the people we meet in our daily pursuits, such as the doctor or the hearing aid specialist.
– I don’t want to talk about others or spread gossip. I always pray for God to help me control my words that I may not sin against Him or hurt others.
– I don’t want to be that older person who constantly feels the need to correct others or give advice. Instead, I would like to listen and share in their lives without interfering. I want to give others opportunities to share their experiences and listen attentively without judging or providing unsolicited advice.
– I wish to be an active senior and not rely on others. I want to guard against loneliness by being involved and taking the initiative. I don’t want to passively wait for someone to contact me. Instead, I will pick up the phone and invite some people. I want to stay connected and foster friendships or make new friends.
– May I never be too proud to ask for help, whether I’m facing physical, emotional, or spiritual challenges. Should I need physical assistance, I want to accept assistive devices such as hearing aids, glasses, a cane, walker, or wheelchair. There is no shame in asking for help when I need it. It is important to recognize that such aids serve to make my life easier and more pleasant.
– I wish to use my time wisely by staying occupied and doing things that make me happy. As long as I can, I would like to bake, cook, and create flower arrangements to bring joy to others. I would also like to volunteer, for example at a food bank, to stay in touch with people and help them. Rather than isolating, I want to be involved.
Let us think about how we can grow older gracefully, and set goals to accomplish that. We want to turn our resolutions into reality. In doing so, we trust in God’s help and support so that our plans and wishes can come true.
-Conclusion to follow-