In the appendix of his excellent book, Successful Aging, Daniel J. Levitin suggests ten strategies for rejuvenating your brain. I find his suggestions germane to my own life since I retired from Carroll University teaching in May of 2019.
Don’t stop being engaged with meaningful work.
I recently have been delighted to be invited by a British Columbia software developer, Mike Colin Nelson, to join a private Facebook group of WordPress bloggers from across the world in helping him improve a plugin PRINT MY BLOG (learn about the plugin here). My involvement in that project has rejuvenated me. Mike is close to releasing his new improved plugin for publishing books (ebooks, hardcopy, and pdf) from WordPress blogs and I look forward to putting my lifetime subscription to good use. I most recently received a request on LinkedIn to review a book about savant syndrome by a prominent Mexican psychologist It is flattering and exciting to continue to have new opportunities to learn and to grow. I’ve even made time to beta test a Friend’s computer game!
Look forward. Don’t look back. Reminiscing doesn’t promote health.
Life is too short for dwelling on or living in the past. I have never returned to Howland High School (but I enjoy staying connected via Facebook), Oberlin College (but I follow the Psychology Department web page and stay in touch with some classmates), or The Ohio State University (though I am proud of the success that a number of my former Carroll students have achieved since they too graduated from there) and only infrequently to Carroll. Still, I treasure and maintain the relationships developed there.
Exercise. Preferably in nature.
Rollie, our newest canine companion, guarantees me at least a 3 mile daily walk in a nearby Waukesha County or state parks.
Embrace a moderate lifestyle with healthy practices.
I am dull! I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I have never had an interest in experimenting with recreational drugs.
Keep your social circle exciting and new.
How can I not be invigorated by weekly Zoom virtual sessions with these former Carroll employees (Thank, Kay Kenealy for making this happen) and the new friends I am making by participating in the private Facebook PRINT MY BLOG group!
Spend time with people younger than you.
Bless the children in my life and the former students who stay in touch..
See your doctor regularly but not obsessively.
Though I have had three health scares subsequent to retirement, the issues are under control and I can reliably depend upon the accumulated wisdom of my weekly Zoom virtual “therapy group” when we have what Dick O’Farrell playfully refers to as our “organ recital” as we discuss health issues:)
Don’t think of yourself as old but take prudent precautions.
I no longer try to do the things my twenty-somethings do!
Appreciate your cognitive strengths of pattern recognition, crystallized intelligence, accumulated knowledge, and wisdom.
Having been a college/university teacher for over four decades and an intentional learner throughout my life, I still have a joy of learning and considerable confidence in some of my highly developed talents.
Promote cognitive health through doing new things. I have a notebook of ten projects I want to pursue – many of them I have never tried before.
I admire how eager you are to learn and try new things! I don’t think avoiding vices makes you dull. Not every retiree can say they’ve BETA tested a video game!
I wonder about the merits of reminiscing though. There’s a lot of useful stuff to be learned from the past. What made the world we live in today? Mostly, the world we had yesterday. It’s hard to understand what’s going on now without understanding how we got here. And it’s easy to repeat previous mistakes if we aren’t aware of them. And (I’m on a roll) it’s easy to get prideful thinking “we’re the best ever today!” if you aren’t mindful of what previous generations accomplished.
But ya, I agree with you that there’s not much sense mournfully wishing for the return of yesteryear. But I just wanted to rant on how I think history (even personal histories) can be I tweeting and useful.
Gasp! Someone actually READ what I wrote! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Let me know s soon as you decide on the new name for the improved plugin. I am starting to get a lot of interest on posts to LinkedIn and I want to “plug” your good work.