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Aging Well in the New Year


We’ve heard the term “spring cleaning” but I love to kick-start the winter by clearing out the clutter I have accumulated in the last year, ten years and maybe even 20 years of my life! I enjoy the process of giving and throwing away things that I no longer need or use, and starting off the new year with a renewed sense of order and open space.

Just as I am getting rid of excess physical baggage, I determine to eliminate excess emotional baggage. I ask myself the question, “What attitudes and beliefs have hampered my growth and joy in the past year?” I compile a list of the long-held notions I’m ready to release in my journal, and reread it during the year to note my progress. Then I think about the aspects and elements I want to reinforce or bring into my life in the coming year. It’s not exactly making new year’s resolutions, but more like drawing a picture of who I want to be and a map of how to get there.

As you think about 2014, think about which features of your life and personality served you well in 2013, and which you are ready to release. Change is difficult, so take small steps towards becoming the person you’d love to be.

Are you flexible and open? Research shows that flexibility is an important aspect of aging well. We hit major stumbling blocks often, but those of us who can ride the storms live longer and better than those of us who panic (this is a great challenge in my life!) Are you too hard on yourself? Loving ourselves and forgiving our mistakes and misjudgments is imperative when we undertake new and difficult things. Do something self-nurturing every day. For me it is listening to or playing music I love, reading a good book, talking with a friend, being in nature or taking a rejuvenating bath.

Everything I read shows that the three main components of aging well are:

  1. Challenging your brain (this is where piano lessons come in!)

  2. Exercising, at least 3-4 times per week, enough so that you break a sweat.

  3. Being social; even if you don’t think you have time, see your friends regularly.

A great thing to do is exercise with a friend! People tend to exercise longer and more often if they do it with a buddy, and the same goes for brain training activities such as taking piano lessons and other types of classes. You need equal parts of challenging and nurturing activities to feed your mind, heart and soul.

Here’s hoping that 2014 is one of the best year of your life. Many thanks for making me and Upper Hands Piano a part of it! Please scroll up to the top and post a reply! I love to hear from you.

With love and music, Gaili

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