There has never been a better time to relax, let your hair down, and enjoy life. Sometimes, in order to fully embrace life, you have to re-think your priorities and re-invent yourself. In the process, you may decide to relinquish control of a stressful chore that you constantly avoid or often wait until the last possible moment to tackle.

Letting go of situations that create stress may also be your ticket to better health. In doing so, you are able to clear the way for more enjoyable endeavors. For example, if filing your income taxes every year makes your skin crawl, enlist the help of a qualified person that you trust, or hire an accountant to assume the responsibility. By delegating the task, you are able to finally put an end to a long-standing pet peeve, and fill the gap with something fun!

Aging gracefully means accepting the incremental changes happening to you while retaining control of the total package. Your personal appearance should be a reflection of your lifestyle. For instance, opt for a low-maintenance hairstyle that extends the time between salon visits and keeps your schedule open for more exciting things. Flaunt your fun side with upbeat, colorful accessories that you’ve probably already got lurking in the back of your closet, such as scarves and hats to perk up your mood and appearance—plus the extra UV ray protection is a smart idea. Keep up-to-date with age-appropriate fashion trends that complement your relaxed attitude.

Extend your new attitude to include your home, especially if it’s overdue for a makeover. Size up your living space and consider a cosmetic facelift for the rooms you spend the most time in, with updates like a cozy chair, a new rug and a fresh coat of paint, all put together in your favorite colors to enhance your comfort and relaxation. While you’re still in re-decorating mode, pack away the obvious dust collectors in boxes, and decide which ones to slowly transition back into the space by determining if they add to the chaos or contribute to your overall enjoyment. Eliminate clutter and downsize from an overflow of objects within your immediate environment with the goal focused on re-inventing yourself. Remember: In order to paint the next picture, there has to be enough room left on your canvas.

Unless there’s an emotional attachment, consider repurposing less-meaningful items in other areas of your home, passing them onto relatives or friends, or donating them to a local charitable organization for resale. Use the extra space to add some fresh plants and greenery for a renewed sense of vitality throughout your home. Find a pleasing location to accommodate a desk for your personal computing sessions, the most accessible doorway to re-invention.

Express your creativity by enrolling in an art course or pottery class to add personally-crafted updates to your home. Visit a new place of worship or renew ties with your existing one to experience a sense of fellowship and join the choir to explore your musical side. Add a gaming console to your home entertainment center and get interactive while getting fit. Systems like Xbox, PlayStation and Wii all offer exciting inter-active gaming options perfect for the living-room, including bowling, dancing, exercising and more.

An online article entitled, “Seven Surprising Things That Will Make You Healthier,” by The Week, equates certain activities, such as video gaming and group singing to the holy grail of mental longevity. The article quotes from findings of a recent study in which researchers asked volunteers between the ages of 60 and 85 to play a fast-paced video game that involved driving while identifying signs. Participants’ skills were monitored at the onset and after a month of playing three times a week. Not only did their performance improve dramatically, but they also scored higher afterward on tests of short-term memory and long-term focus. The study “shows you can take older people who aren’t functioning well and make them cognitively younger through this training,” says MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller. “It’s a very big deal.” What great way to have fun while improving your mental stamina!

With extra time on your hands, you are able to pursue interests that spark your creativity. A retirement hobby may inspire dedication and passion in later years, as time allows you to complete projects with greater success and less distractions. Consider activities that you may have previously overlooked, such as acquiring collectables, creative arts-and-crafts projects, music and sporting pursuits, or perhaps a particular outdoor hobby you’ve always been interested in, like bee-keeping or growing prize-wining roses.

Why not round up some of your friends and designate a specific day or evening for group activities, such as chess tournaments or a friendly game of poker. A physically interactive game or activity, such as charades or karaoke, will keep you on your feet while having fun. If the weather is nice, take it outside for some friendly competition with activities, such as horseshoes or remote-controlled car races. Cycling with friends is also a great sport that engages both physical and social skills and is easier on the joints than jogging. Join an existing cycling club or recruit other cyclists to plan biking trips for designated bike paths and parkways within your community.

Keep moving to discover the joy in easily-accessible pursuits that broaden your outlook. Local museums, galleries and art shows can expand your passion for art in a wide range of creative media. If you’ve always been curious about the entertainment arts, volunteer as a stage hand for a local play or musical production to experience the excitement of being backstage on opening night. Or audition for a stage part, if that suits your fancy.

Personality traits can influence successful longevity and may require deliberate focus to affect real change. If you’ve always been shy in social settings, strive to break out of your comfort zone by setting mini goals for yourself at your next social event, such as striking up causal dialog with at least three or more new people. Reaching out to others can be empowering since many people are approachable and often eager to engage in stimulating conversation, especially in a social setting.

Explore what makes you tick, your general feeling, attitude and overall personality traits to unlock some basic truths about yourself. A truthful assessment can reveal combinations that lead to poor choices, keeping you in better control. Indeed, trait changes may occur slowly and for many people may not occur at all. Yet for others, change becomes a pivotal point for influencing longevity outcomes.

Change and diversity is an important part of the human psyche, as each of us searches to find our uniqueness in a sea of conformity. Retirement is an excuse to break the mold which defined you for most of your life. The element of surprise keeps the blood flow pumping with adrenaline bursts to fuel our adventurous nature. Break out of your comfort zone once in a while to see what’s new and exciting beyond your front door.

 

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