60+ Life Hacks for Seniors Part Two

Article by Dr. Michael Tobin

Since you’re a Premium or a Very-Alive-and-Relevant-60+, I’m sure you remember the first 26 Life Hacks from Part 1. Here is the continuation of our list on how to get smarter, healthier, and happier, and live the premium lifestyle you deserve!

BTW, if you’re not yet familiar with the term Life Hack, it’s a shortcut, trick, or strategy designed to achieve maximum success. Behind every life hack is a failure and the culmination of learning derived from it.

Grandparenting

You’ve paid your dues and now it’s time to cash-in. Hopefully, it’s a time when you have no responsibilities, but rather only the pleasure of developing a relationship with your grandchild.

  1. Nothing’s more fun than taking a grandchild to the zoo. Be ready for the reaction to the elephants. It’s a Kodak moment – you know what I’m talking about.
  2. Read to your grandchildren. I hope you saved the books you read to your kids because they’re all timeless, like Where’s Waldo, The Berenstain Bears, and Dr. Seuss. For under 10, Where’s Waldo is still a big hit.
  3. You want to have a special bond with your grandchild? Teach her skills like carpentry, painting,reading, (or feeding the birds – great for children 6 and under), etc. If you run short on ideas, look at this resource.
  4. Spend one-on-one time with your grandchildren and encourage them to talk about their interests, their friends, and their concerns. Ask them pointed, specific questions – not “How is school?” but rather “Who are you playing with at recess?” or “Which teacher do you like best?”
  5. Rarely, if ever, discipline your grandchildren, especially if their parents are around. On our last family vacation, I asked my four children and their spouses how they felt about grandparents disciplining grandchildren. Their unanimous response was NOT TO – with 1 exception – if the grandchildren act disrespectfully to either my wife or me, then they want us to speak to them.
  6. Never criticize your children in front of their children and never discipline your grandchildren in front of their parents. (See this blog for what might be a reasonable exception.)
  7. I know that you were once a kid and you probably had a grandparent. Try to remember what you liked about being with your grandparents and what you didn’t. Now, either be like the grandparent you loved or be like the one you wished you had.
  8. If you live close to your grandchildren, try to show up at their sporting events, school performances, and other special events. I know that you thought you were finished with all those boring, insufferable events, but guess what? You’re not!
  9. Be silly and spontaneous. Dress like a clown, get on all fours and get physical, play games, spoil them with ice cream and other goodies, and just have fun.

The Premium Mindset

If you think old, you’re old. If you believe you have nothing to contribute, you won’t.  The mind is a powerful instrument. In these hacks, we’ll identify which thoughts and feelings generate positive energy and which don’t.

  1. I own a T-shirt which says, “I’m not 72; I’m 21 with 51 years of experience.” This is my message about aging. What does your t-shirt say?
  2. Here are 3 statements that no Premium should ever say: “I don’t know,” “I can’t”and “Whatever.” Why? Because each one is an expression of passivity, laziness, and despair.
  3. The art of Premium Living is learning to let go. So, what do you need to let go of? Try these for a few: 1. Comparing yourself to a younger you; 2. Old limiting attitudes about who you’re supposed to be; 3. The things you’re not supposed to do; 4. The people who drag you down; 5. The resentments you carry with you; 6. Whatever you know you need to let go of.
  4. One more thing about letting go. Don’t carry anger to the grave. It will get you there sooner.
  5. Know that as long as you’re breathing, you can grow. Do something you haven’t done before that challenges you. Create a bucket list and start checking them off.
  6. A young mind is one that only has a future. A Premium Mind is one that has a future that’s based on significant life experiences. You’ve made your mistakes, presumably learned from them, so now cash in on your hard-earned wisdom.
  7. If you know how to extract value from your experiences, your life can be a gold mine of knowledge, common sense, and expertise.
  8. Cultivate gratitude. It takes a whole lot of people to keep one person going. Learn to appreciate all the people who contribute to your life. A gratitude a day will keep the doctor away.
  9. Whomever you love – be it your children, grandchildren, spouse, friends or family members – tell them. Be sure that before you leave this world that everyone you love knows it.
  10. Insist that everyone who’s close to you tells you everything that they need to tell you before the final curtain. It’s the message I gave my kids. “Say it before I die or don’t say it – the good, the bad, or the ugly.”Don’t go to the grave with unfinished business.

Marriage/Committed Relationship

Doesn’t matter whether you’re married for a short or long time or in a committed relationship of some duration, your relationship plays a significant role in the quality of your life. Here are some hacks to help keep the quality high and the discomfort low.

  1. Play this role-playing game with your partner: Go to a café or restaurant and one of you sits down at a table alone. The other acts as if he or she is an interested perfect stranger and finds some pretense for joining the other at the table. Now start interacting as if you’re really interested in discovering things about one another. Guaranteed to open up some interesting insights about your relationship.
  2. At the Premium stage of life, you’re fortunate if your partner is your best friend. Cultivate this relationship by practicing daily acts of kindness for one another. A quality relationship is measured by the number of kindnesses you do for one another.
  3. Acceptance is the key to a healthy long-term relationship. You know who your partner is and who your partner isn’t. You know what you need to accept. Even the most open-minded and flexible people have qualities that are immutable. You know the deal: Accept with serenity what you can’t change.
  4. Support each other in becoming active Premiums. It’s great to travel, learn, and move together or at least in parallel (except for travelling – works better together.)
  5. As long as you’re alive you can enjoy each other physically. Perhaps you don’t have the same stamina you had when you were young, but what you may have lost in pure, unbridled passion you’ve gained in wisdom and experience. Draw on what you know your partner likes.
  6. As a Premium, you never stop growing, and that includes your relationship. We all have issues and challenges. Deal with yours by speaking to your partner, by sharing your feelings, by allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
  7. If you have the time and money, travel together. If you’re willing to take a bit of a risk, don’t go with a group. Do your own thing. You can organize your entire trip online.
  8. The defining quality of a Premium relationship is friendship. Understand how much you need your partner, how much your spouse contributes to your well-being, how much your partner needs you and how much you contribute to your spouse’s well-being. When you understand all that, you’ll know how valuable your closest companion is.
  9. Here’s a simple but essential marital commandment: Every day tell your partner, “I love you.”

Travel

As a Premium, I’m assuming you’re physically, emotionally, and financially healthy.  Therefore, see the world. Here’s how:

  1. Create your dream destination(s) bucket list. It should include all 7 continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica. For argument’s sake, all islands are included with their closest continent.
  2. Do your research on group vs. individual travel. If you need more security, then group is for you. Just know that what you gain in security, you lose in adventure and proximity to local culture.
  3. You can set up your dream vacation online, but here’s a tip that most experienced travelers know: it’s better to hire a guide locally than online. It’s less expensive and you can get recommendations from other travelers.
  4. Be adventurous. I don’t know if my wife and I are major anomalies, but in a few days, we’re about to make our 4th trip to Nepal – this time to trek to the Everest Base Camp. She’s 69 and I’m 72. You’d be surprised how many Premiums are trekking in Nepal. Age isn’t the issue; your level of conditioning is, and that too is achievable.
  5. Here are some amazing Premium spots: Vietnam, India, Thailand, Bhutan, Machu Picchu, Peru, New Zealand, Costa Rica, the High Tatras of Slovakia, Croatia, and Paris in the spring time.
  6. When travelling, be open to a new culture, especially in the Third World. When we were in Rishikesh, India we were approached by four Indians who asked if they could take our picture. Only afterwards did we realize that we were as strange to them as they were to us.

60 + Hack for 60+ Premiums (A Buddhist Bonus Hack on Life and Death)

  1. or 60+. There’s a Buddhist saying, “Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?” Meditate on this. Allow yourself to accept that your life is measured in moments and that death gives meaning to life.  Now ask yourself how do I want to live the remaining moments of my life? What do I need to do differently?  What do I need to let go of? What do I need to embrace?  We are all works in progress.  It is never too late to become the person you’re meant to be.

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