You can’t let getting older stop you

Getting older isn’t easy, but those who succeed at it have a few things in common

Are you on the back nine? Do you feel like you blinked and suddenly you were past your prime? Are you getting ready for a comeback or looking for a hide-out? These are all metaphors for those of us on the north side of life.

I try to walk daily, just because I want to maintain my mobility and I like to check out the neighborhood. I use trekking poles to give the upper body a little workout (and they are very helpful when we go hiking). The other day I was out, and a couple of older guys who were sharing a walker looked over at me and shouted, “Keep it up!” They must have been in their 90s.

ExploreStudy: To live a long life, you should embrace getting older

If I ever need a walker, I will use it twice a day to keep myself moving. I can make a living sitting on my butt and looking at a computer, so getting exercise is a must these days. Otherwise, I will stiffen up like a board. Truthfully, I already have moderate arthritis, and I’m not going to let it stop me from doing what I want. Hey, the walk from the parking lot to our seats at SoFi Stadium is a long way.

It’s good to eat a healthy diet (I still give myself treats once a month). It also helps to take vitamins and medically recommended supplements. Feeling good takes some effort. It’s not as easy as being young, but nothing lasts forever. Back in my 30s, I interviewed a group of healthy octogenarians, and the things these healthy older folks had in common were interesting:

  • They didn’t drink alcohol.
  • They didn’t smoke.
  • They drank lots of water.
  • They ate a healthy diet.
  • They took as little medication as possible.
  • They took little walks often.
  • They stayed as engaged with life as best they could.
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After hearing this, I cleaned up my act a bit to get a jumpstart. Healthy living is easier these days, because my loving wife lives this way, and she’s determined to keep me alive because someone has to clean out the cat box and she loves me — not necessarily in that order.

One of the icons of the silver screen, Bette Davis, once said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” She worked until the end of her life, as did Betty White. They both had the inner strength to keep themselves up and to keep going.

Today, people are taking better care of themselves than ever before, and the ways to do it keep evolving. There must be a new exercise craze every few months these days (see aforementioned trekking poles). You have to find a way to get interested in something. Keeping up with my wife is all the motivation I personally need. You have to find your own, and stick with it.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist. He is also the author of eight books, and a blogger for You can reach him at