One of my favorite artists is Tom Petty. Recently, a friend of mine reminded me of a statement. I and my friend, Russell, and our mutual friend, Lane, have hunted together for many years. This year, as we prepared to go hunting again, we were making lists about what all we needed to get done. Russell attached to one of his messages a quote from one of Tom Petty’s songs. “I don’t know but, I’ve been told, if you never slow down – you never grow old!”
The more that I read, and the more that I observe, the firmer I believe in that statement.
I have related in prior articles some interesting data. In a study in a nursing home, the residents were suddenly given purpose when pets were brought into the facility. Certain residents volunteered to feed the birds; other residents volunteered to walk the dogs. And then suddenly, other residents started volunteering for other tasks in the nursing home. I don’t recall exactly what the number was, but there was something along the lines of a 75% reduction in the medication usage in the nursing home.
We are growing older. I acknowledge that. I am 65 years old. I know at some point, I am probably going to want to transition from practicing full time; but that doesn’t mean I have to slow down.
I firmly believe that even in “retirement” you still need to have a purpose. You still need to be busy. While that may not be from your traditional occupation, it may be a new “occupation”.
I have always been fascinated by friends who have become grandparents and, particularly the wife, relishes in running from the location of one set of grandchildren to another location where the other grandchildren are located. And to see the sparkle in that person’s eyes. I suggest to you that person is not “growing older”. Though retired from her original occupation, she now has a new occupation that gives her purpose.
Many times, when I am meeting with families, one of the things that I hear is “Mom and Dad need to slow down”.
No, they don’t. There may be some accommodations that need to be made because of perhaps some physical limitations. They don’t need to slow down. Slowing down is just the opposite of what needs to happen. They need to keep going in whatever capacity that they can. By keeping busy, I believe it stops the typical aging process.
Maybe I am blowing smoke, but I think more and more data is supporting what I say. I urge all of my clients (and their families) to stay busy, even in retirement. Your life will be fuller, healthier, and happier.
If I never slow down, I won’t grow old.
Randy Clinkscales is a 1980 graduate of Washburn Law School.