Until recently, retirement was viewed as a well-earned time of peace and quiet. The rocking chair, 5pm Early Bird dinners and rest homes with names like “Shady Acres” were the symbols of post-career life. Not so much anymore. Today’s retirees are increasingly staying active and engaged long after they leave their jobs behind.
While some of that change is the result of advances in medicine and wellness, most of it comes from a new mindset. Americans have finally embraced the idea that chronological age is just a number, not a limit. Your true age is determined by your own attitude.
Phyllis Sues epitomizes the power of mind-over-stereotype. In recent years, the California retiree has taken up Tango dancing, trapeze performance, and yoga. Lots of yoga. She’s as trim and flexible as a college cheerleader, whip-smart and sunnier than Kelly Ripa. Oh, and she’s 92 years old.
In a recent blog post for mindbodygreen.com, Phyllis shared the secret of her happiness and longevity: New challenges.
“From the time I could walk and talk, the word “challenge,” has instinctually been my mantra,” Phyllis says. “To this day, that mantra makes me who I am.”
In addition to providing physical benefits, Phyllis’ activities have expanded her mind by prompting her to start writing for blogs and composing music. That, no doubt, also keeps her young. There is mounting scientific evidence that mastering new skills as we age is a powerful way to keep our minds sharp and nimble.
Phyllis starts every day with 45 minutes of yoga and six minutes of jumping rope, which she loves like a kid on the playground.
“I find that this practice stimulates my entire body and I would rather die than miss a single day,” she says. “The secret is to start slow and jump for one minute, then two and so on. I assure you that you’ll be amazed at the overall improvement in your stamina.”
And she really isn’t interested in hearing that you are too busy to make a similar commitment.
“Your body is indeed your best friend and a fabulous partner at that,” she says. “It also needs to be charged! Don’t ever say, ‘I don’t have time.’ That’s a lie. Not having time is a poor excuse that prevents you from feeling better and living longer. And I am living proof.
Yes, she is.