PURSUING HAPPINESS AT 65+
With such a sad date of remembrance occurring this week and today’s news full of fear, I thought a lighter subject might be helpful for all of us.
At 65+, can we find happiness in these times ?
We are so much more aware of global issues now. Instead of our parents, it’s us glued to the TV news reports. Instead of once a day in the evening, it’s every day, all day long. No longer do we require televisions or radios for news; we have up to the minute news on our computers and alarms on our cell phones to keep us in the know. Unfortunately, the same phone alarm sounds to tell us that an enemy attack is imminent or a sports figure has signed a new contract. Too bad my blood pressure can’t detect the immediate difference. So, how can we be happy with all this going on? We are resilient; we’ve enjoyed Happy Days, survived the Cuban Missile Crisis and are living longer lives than our ancestors.
Happiness is a fleeting emotion.
Years ago, I heard a speaker address this subject with an excellent visualization. Picture yourself in a room surrounded by floating balloons. They represent your emotions; those floating high are happy and those nearing the ground are sad. You begin your day with all balloons floating to the ceiling. Then the phone rings and it’s your doctor’s office wondering why you are late for your appointment = balloons start dropping with your angst, embarrassment and other negative emotions. A few minutes later you receive another call from your best friend inviting you to lunch and your warm fuzzy emotions kick in, raising some balloons to mid-height. You get the picture, they drop with fear/disappointment/sadness and rise with fun/happy/good experiences.
By mid-day your balloons are all over the place. It’s a wonder we’re not all manic depressive. The speaker encouraged us to imagine a day with all your balloons just above your head; not too high, not too low, just a bit above average representing contentment. He said if we would keep our emotions in check, this could be accomplished. Easier said than done!
I’m certainly not a psychologist so you’re just getting Mary Ann’s opinion here. The age 65+ people, who seem to be happy, have a deep level of contentment in their lives. They may be in 30+ year marriages, or widowed, divorced or single. Their histories may include severe medical issues, great loss, failure or other life impacting events in their families. Yet, they all seem content. A few have experienced greatness in their lives with fame/career/achievements and yet they seem to be content with their years of senior maturity.
seems to be a key to that contentment; appreciating what you do have and making the most out of what you have to work with. Some, like me, look to their faith for a firm foundation. Then according to their resources and abilities, they expand their interests and friendships in the world. We face physical and emotional setbacks then pause to recover and begin again. Resilience!