Dr. Seuss once said, “I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells.” I couldn’t agree more! Any one of his stories automatically makes you sit a little straighter and smile a little wider. Nonsense is like putting your brain on healthy steroids. So, what if you are over 50 and not yet reading Dr. Seuss to your grands? Here are a few ideas to keep the brain cells active.
I decided to get the most obvious out of the way first. But, let’s think outside of the
box gym for a minute. When was the last time you tried to hula hoop, threw the frisbee at the beach or just bounced a balloon around the room without letting it hit the floor? Or what about a game of kickball at the next family reunion? Any game or exercise that you think is just for kids, try doing that for about 30 minutes to get the juices flowing. A leisurely bike-ride around the block may be just what you need to clear the cobwebs.
2. Try Out a New Hobby
I loved drawing as a kid even though I was not an artist. Even later during Bible studies, I found that I could understand the story much better if I drew a picture of the parable or scene in a particular chapter. The visual of “barns overflowing” in Luke 12:13-21 helped me to see what the emptiness of not being “rich in God” would look like. The empty church grounds compared to the fullness of home was a spiritual awakening to dig deeper into the fullness of the “things of God.”
Watching a few YouTube tutorials could vastly improve my drawing skills, but another avenue would be to follow the exercises in Betty Edwards’s book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. The book is currently in its’ 4th edition and the purpose is to “teach readers how to see in new ways.” It is more about perception than drawing, but the bonus is that drawing skills are improved. How perfectly spiritual that is… improved perception leads to using new skills perhaps that will fill the barns of others.
3. Volunteer with a charity you love.
The American Red Cross has a saying, “Volunteering is good for your soul.” And no matter the charity you choose, I believe this is true. Whether walking dogs for a local shelter, donating clothing to Dress for Success, or working in a food pantry, it is good for the soul to do good for others.
4. See the Sights
My daughter was preparing to move away from our hometown recently and before she packed the first box, she made a list of all the places she wanted to see before she left. It is such fun to see the sights you saw as a child and see how they’ve changed. We visited Vulcan, the Birmingham Zoo and several favorite local restaurants that we’d not patronized in years. Remembering field trips with her or her brother’s schools and birthday dinners at restaurants brought back several happy memories.
Some places we missed in Alabama that we are adding to the list:
- Little River Canyon in Fort Payne
- Alabama Theater in Birmingham
- Toomer’s Corner in Auburn
- Desota Falls in Mentone
- Crescent Theatre in Mobile
- Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile
5. Organize Social Groups
We may no longer hear much about “sewing circles,” but we need to stay connected with friends and family more than ever now. It’s ironic that in an age where we have instant communication through texting, FaceTime, and social media that people feel more isolated than in previous decades. Book clubs, Bridge or Bunko, garden clubs, supper clubs or a lunch bunch could help to change the statistics of senior isolation. According to the U. S. Census of 2010, 28% of citizens over 65 or 11 million people were living alone. Sleeping alone is one thing. Living alone is quite another!
These statistics support the idea that the wisdom of age is being disregarded in favor of the allure of youth. It is for this reason that I’ve become passionate about living life to the fullest after 50.
Bonus: Meditate/pray daily. Prayer is also good for the soul.
How are you living life to the fullest?