Aging

Aging

Life after Death: Uncertainty About What Lies Ahead

Life after Death: Uncertainty About What Lies Ahead

There are many beliefs about what happens after we die. Some people base their beliefs about the afterlife on what their religion says will happen, whether that be an ascension to heaven, time spent between heaven and hell, reincarnation, or any number of other theories. Others form their own theory based on what they believe about the world, science, nature, or the human body. Some believe that when we die the lights just go out and that is the end. There is nothing more. Like a computer, we just shut down.

I form my beliefs from what I know about nature and the world. I know that nothing is lost in this universe; there is an energy that survives. You can call that energy whatever you want.

When we die, I believe that energy goes on. We come to this life; we go back into the earth. We become fertilizer for growth of other life forms. As far as the spirit is concerned, perhaps it is an electrical phenomenon. Perhaps it is a form of light that goes forth and does its thing.

I don’t know about reincarnation. I don’t try to explain the phenomenon, if it exists. I also don’t know about an afterlife. Is there a place where we go and become reunited with others who have passed on? I’m not so sure about that. Does our energy, which leaves us upon death, work its way through this world and become parts of other life forms? Maybe. In that sense, then, we live on.

Rather than think about the afterlife in terms of a place we go or our spirits living on in other beings, we could look at what we pass on genetically and spiritually. When we have children, we pass along to them pieces of ourselves genetically; in raising them, we pass along to them pieces of our spiritual being. Once we are gone, those pieces live on through them and are passed on to their children and so on. In that sense, then, pieces of us continue well after we are gone.

Regardless of where you think you will go after you are gone, we can all agree that we need to live the best life we can while we are here. This life is the only one we can be absolutely certain of so let’s make sure we do everything we can in the here and now to have the best life possible.

Dr. Erica Miller

Aging Actively: How to Maintain an Active, Healthy Life Well into Your Golden Years, Part 2

Aging Actively: How to Maintain an Active, Healthy Life Well into Your Golden Years, Part 2

In my last post, I introduced the idea of aging actively, which basically means staying as physically and mentally active as you can while you age in an effort to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilled life. In that post, I provided a list of ideas for how to stay physically active. Today I want to offer a list of suggestions for staying mentally and emotionally active as you age.

Start or join a book club. Monthly get-togethers to discuss a book you have all read are a wonderful way to keep your mind and social calendar active.
Volunteer your time helping those in need based on your interests. Your local homeless shelter, library, animal rescue groups, and schools are always looking for help.
Take a class at your local community college. Many schools offer classes outside of the regular curriculum at night or on weekends in subjects such as creative writing, acting, foreign language, or arts and crafts.
Get involved in your neighborhood association. You can serve in a leadership role, such as in a Neighborhood Watch program.
Start a hobby group with friends, such as knitting, scrapbooking, or crafting. You can get together weekly or monthly and work on your craft as a group.
Get into crosswords, Sudoku, or other mind puzzles. These solitary activities are great to activate the mind and keep you alert.
Do that thing you always wanted to do but never had the time for due to family or work obligations, such as write that novel or travel to the national parks.
Keep a journal and write in it every day. Putting your daily thoughts in writing will help you work through emotional issues and focus your mind.
Start or join a purely social group. You can convene at the local coffee shop once a month to visit and share stories.Mentor a young person either in an academic or a professional pursuit. Share your knowledge and experience with the next generation for the benefit of yourself and your mentee.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to being active, regardless of your age and capabilities. Focus on learning something new, staying involved with others, and moving your body and you will do well over the long haul.

What are your ideas for keeping an active mind and body? Questions about how to get involved in any of the ideas listed?

-Dr. Erica Miller

Seniors’ Limitations are Frequently Self-Imposed

Seniors’ Limitations are Frequently Self-Imposed

I am proud to say that I often lecture to seniors on a matter close to my heart: the psychological aspects of aging. I inform, instruct, and inspire those in my audience to realize that genetics, although important, are but a portion to contend with. A healthy lifestyle, a strong support system, and positive attitudes are essential ingredients to personal wellness and long life.

We all know that we should eat right, exercise, and get plenty of rest in order to be physically healthy. What many don’t realize is that living a healthy lifestyle can also have very positive affects on your psyche. The better you feel physically, the better you feel emotionally as well.

I’ll be the first to say that I am independent and capable of taking care of myself. However, life is so much richer when I am surrounded by family and friends who bolster me up in hard times, ease my burdens when I need help, and just make the good times in life that much better. Having a support system around you allows you to live a happier, longer life.

I can’t speak enough about the impact our own attitudes can have on our overall well-being and longevity. If you constantly take the position that things are bad for you and that certain things are beyond your ability, then guess what? You are going to feel bad and be unable to do the things you want to do with your life. If, however, you make the decision to look at things in a positive light, you will be amazed how much better you will feel. You will be amazed at how much more you can do. It is a decision you can make each day when you get out of bed, and it can have lasting affects on your life.

Far too often we place limitations on ourselves as seniors. Many of us are living well into our nineties, so I ask, what are you going to do with the rest of your life? Are you going to throw in the towel and just wait around for this life to end or are you going to live your life to the fullest every day?

My daughter flatters me often by saying, “Mother, I can’t keep up with you! If we could bottle your energy, spirit, and optimism, we could make a fortune.” Wouldn’t you like to hear similar comments from your daughter? Go get them! Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.

-Dr. Erica Miller

On Aging

There are so many ways and opportunities to continue your journey and contribute to your family and society as you age. Use your imagination and passion, and most of all – have a ball, because life is short!