Getting old is a perennial truth, much soever we say that: Age is just a number! Adding numbers to your years is painful. No one wants to grow old, but we do! Many of us accept this truth with a heavy heart whereas many accept it with a happy heart. It depends on your approach, attitude, and preparedness for your growing years. If you are positive towards it then like sunset which is almost like a religious moment, the sunset years too are special moments, equivalent to a sacred natural experience that repeats itself every day.

Sunset is the opening music of the night.

As is true of other times in the life span, happiness in old age depends upon the fulfilment of the “three A’s of happiness” – Acceptance, Affection, and Achievement.

Even if you don’t like the old age setting in, acceptance of this fact helps. It enables you to set your mindset for this phenomenon. Let us see how mindset is impacted when one becomes old. As people age, they experience a slowing down process; they are slow to respond, and as they need more time to gather their thoughts, they move about slowly. Their reasoning and, perhaps, their ability to think creatively, too, slowly reduces. Their enthusiasm and general interest in life seem to dwindle. They are inclined to have better remote memories, but poor recent memories. Another characteristic of this phase is their lack of sense of humour. There is a certain mental rigidity, which sets in during middle age, that tends to become more pronounced with old age.

While as an old person you are struggling with all the above factors, the strength of the body also starts defeating you. You start feeling weak and helpless.

Every sunset is an opportunity to reset.

Like the sun sets every day, the human body sets year by year completing the ageing process of the lifetime.

Consider this, after having spent decades of your life keeping up with personal and professional commitments, retirement is synonymous with the beginning of a phase when you can look forward to being stress-free and start checking off boxes from your bucket list that you would have created in your younger years.

However, whether your retirement dreams will come to fruition depends on the effort you put in your younger years that ensures you have a steady stream of income when you bid adieu to the nine-to-five grind. If this is the case, you will enjoy your sunset years without any hindrance, provided you maintain good health.

Besides, it has been noticed that elderly people do not like to move places they shudder to leave the abode that they have inhabited for 30 years. If they must for any reason, they become mentally disturbed. It creates ripples in their lives. It has been noticed that “place” is a critical factor in successful ageing — and it is also something many people either overlook or purposely do not see. Many people have deep attachments to a home they have lived in for many years and staying there represents independence to them when, in fact, exactly the opposite is true. If you move to a new place, it is emotionally exciting, you are subject to new experiences, new house, new surroundings, new things, new people, new friends, and precious memories of the place, you have lived for so long. Moving to a new place arrests your ageing process. It becomes an enjoyable thing in life!

Another factor that irks old people is when they are asked to downsize as you do not need all that stuff which was part and parcel of your young age. Deciding to downsize is physically and emotionally charging. By the time most people reach retirement age, they have accumulated far more than they need. Susan’s advice: “People need to make changes sooner rather than later. Downsizing is physically demanding.” But it is important. A lean house is a pleasure to stay and maintain.

Another aspect to which I would like to draw your attention is, just as we plan everything else in our life, we must plan out our retirement and post-retirement life since it is the best phase to enjoy life. After leading a hectic life involving life, work, children, and social and economic commitments, when we were stressed for time, retirement was the opportunity. Now is the time to pursue your passions like travel, writing, reading, listening to music, unwinding in nature, and so much more. You can even learn to sing and dance! Certain institutes cater to senior citizens. You can join senior citizen groups, make friends, network, socialize, and even display your talents. This enables you to maintain a happy mindset.

This way you must ensure that you look after your physical fitness and mental health throughout your lives to enjoy your sunset years. Developing your routine is also a step in the right direction. It can be taking a walk, practising yoga, or playing a sport of our choice consistently. This will help you stay physically and mentally fit.

Twilight drops her curtain down and pins it with a star.

You can make your sunset years more relevant and satisfying by utilising this phase of life, by giving back to society. You must give back without expecting anything in return. You can donate your clothes, utensils, appliances, and other objects that you no longer have any use for. Sharing your accumulated mental and physical wealth with the world will make you happier and more content.

Besides, you can share our knowledge by writing articles, mentoring students, and young professionals, and even teaching in a school. This can be our way of giving back for all that you have earned and learned in your lives.

This way, make your sunset years as HappyHO years!