Aging

Going Back to School Later in Life

This past September my mother, at age 70-something, returned to graduate school after a 40-year career in interior design.

Going back to school brought great joy to her life. She loved learning and being part of a collegiate community with its accompanying youthful energy and enthusiasm. But she also experienced high anxiety about grades, keeping up with the workload, reading small print with her failing eyesight, and getting to class in bad weather.

When I went back to school at age 39, I also remember feeling both excitement and fear. My mind raced with questions: will I be able to study and do well while maintaining my family responsibilities? Will I be the oldest in my class? Will I still have the focus to study after all these years? Will the classes be interesting? Is it worth the money that school costs? Will it lead to a better life? I had many hopes and dreams but also the fear of failure, dread of embarrassment, and anxiety about all the unknowns.

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Aging

How Failure Breeds Success

Our weaknesses are the source of our strengths; our failures are the roots of our successes.

This is not another motivational cliché, this is a fact of history and science. Evolutionary theorists long ago concluded that the power of the human species lay in its weaknesses. Aware of their bodies' fragility compared to that of other animals, human beings had to compensate for their powerlessness in order to survive. Individuals were too weak to hunt by themselves, so they collaborated and hunted in groups. Collective activity emerged, communication evolved, tools were built, and the human species ruled all others.

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Aging

The Luggage Set

I needed luggage. Specifically, I needed matching luggage. At 53, I’d never owned a complete set of coordinated baggage. I figured it was time.

I was at the local thrift store one day, and I saw a beautiful, brand new, four-piece luggage set. The color of the suitcases was black and beige; I would later learn that the pattern was called “English Garden.” The manufacturer was American Tourister. “You can’t go wrong with that,” I thought. And to top it off, it was priced to sell -- $100.00 for the whole set.

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Addiction

The Physical and Emotional Parallels of Hoarding

In the newly-released indie film "Hello, My Name Is Doris," sweet and eccentric Doris (played by Sally Field) is an older woman who lives in her deceased mother’s immensely cluttered house. Needless to say, Doris grapples with hoarding issues, tightly clinging to all kinds of items from her past. Her home’s disarray is a barrier of sorts, physically creating entrapment to what was - and not what could be.

Doris blossoms through a new relationship with a younger man (played by Max Greenfield). Though the outcome of their relationship may not be the one she unequivocally pines for, their time together symbolizes hope for what is very well possible in her next life chapter. She’s merely grateful for the friendship they share -- for its impact.

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Aging

Love is a Verb: Findings from the Longest Study on Happiness

For decades psychology as a science studied the flaws in human beings. Depression, anxiety and mental illness research and treatment protocols dominated the journals. Looking for causes and treatments, scientists sought to find ways to alleviate suffering for the populace. In spite of all the advances and success, one truth remained: Not being depressed isn’t the same as being happy.

Nonetheless, since 1938 researchers at Harvard have been collecting data about 724 men. The study followed two groups of men for 75 years. Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant began the study of 268 Harvard sophomores, while law school professor Sheldon Glueck studied 456 12- to 16-year-old boys who grew up in inner city Boston.

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Aging

Let Your Childhood Dreams Help You Live an Intentional Life


Chances are, you were on to something about yourself then.

Do you remember taking a careers class when you were a kid? You know, the class that got you thinking about your future employment?

I remember it. It was way back in 9th grade at Penndale Junior High.

I remember wanting to be a commercial artist back then. I was fascinated by typography and calligraphy, and, at the time, that was the only thing I could think of that would bring me happiness and capitalize on those interests.
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Aging

9 Simple Ways to Exercise Your Brain

Research shows it's possible for both our bodies and our minds to age well. Try incorporating a few of the tips below to keep your brain sharp and strong well into your golden years.

Write a thank-you letter.
Research shows that writing with a pen on paper can create and sharpen existing neural pathways in the brain, while carving new neuronal connections. The hippocampus, which is responsible for memory formation, and stories of memories also is exercised. Research proves every day that cultivating and expressing gratitudecan make you healthier and happier.
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Aging

3 Ways to Increase Adult Happiness

A man's maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)
A number of years ago, I stayed up till 1:30 in the morning watching a long lineup of comics at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, Calif. I remember being thoroughly entertained during each and every one of their routines. Yet, there’s only one act I recall in detail. Like all the others, it was based on the kind of exaggerated truth we can all relate to. I remember it above the others because it’s a truth that stayed with me, a truth of which I believe many of us adults need to be reminded.
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Aging

Epigenetics and Well-Being

In 2008, the National Institutes of Health announced that $190 million had been earmarked for epigenetics research over the following five years. In announcing the funding, government officials noted that epigenetics has the potential to explain mechanisms of aging, human development, the origins of cancer, heart disease, and mental illness, as well as several other conditions.

Even when you’ve inherited genes from your biological parents, they might or might not be active in your own makeup. When a gene activates, that’s called “genetic expression.” It turns out that genetic expression can be affected by your experiences and even by your thoughts and feelings.

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Addiction

Older Americans Are More Prone to Substance Abuse

In 1998, government officials warned of a dire trend that we’ve only recently began to take note of. It wasn't an asteroid hurtling toward earth or the ever-growing impact of humans on the climate. It was elder substance abuse.

In the late 1990s, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) already was predicting the drastic increase in alcohol and drug abuse among adults 60 years old and up.

Close to twenty years later, we don’t know much more than we did in 1998.
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