10 Things to Do During Your Autumn Years
There’s so much to love about autumn and so much to learn from it too. Autumn is a metaphor for life.
The Autumn Years
The autumn years are the later years of a person’s life. Traditionally, this period was marked by retirement and a gradual slowing down. Today, with longer lifespans and increased focus on health and wellbeing, people are working and staying active longer. The autumn years, then, are increasingly referred to as the time when you realize you’ve lived more of your life than what is left to live. You’ve passed the midpoint. The autumn years are like playing in the third quarter of a four-quarter football game. You know the end is inevitable, but you’re determined to enjoy the game and play every single down until the whistle blows.
By the time you reach the autumn years, you’ve amassed experiences, gleaned aha moments, and gained wisdom. The grudges, insecurities, people-pleasing, and social comparisons that filled your life’s summer now all seem to fall away like dead leaves to the ground.
I am beyond that midpoint in life. Though I see myself working and pursuing goals well into the future, I am cognizant that the autumn years are upon me. I want to celebrate and embrace them just as I do nature’s autumn. If you are in the autumn years, welcome this time in your life. It’s a season of abundance and gratitude.
“Standing at the threshold of autumn, this is what I see it’s about: harvesting the gifts grown over a lifetime, applying generous amounts of love and gratitude, community and wisdom to render up a rich and sweet elixir sufficient to sustain one through the last leg of the journey.”
Dr. Judith Rich
The Gifts of the Autumn Years
Enjoy Your Autumn Years
Here are 10 things you can do to make the autumn years the best years of your life.
#1 – Celebrate your birthdays. I know people who downplay their birthdays and will say, “It’s just another day.” No! It’s not just another day; it’s your Celebrate it as a holiday in your honor. You woke up to another year and that’s a big deal.
#2 – Be present. How often are you around those you love without being present with them? Stop! There will come a day in the twilight when you’ll want to get those moments back. You have them now. Turn off the cellphone, get off social media, step away from the television, leave work at work, and immerse yourself with your loved ones. You’ll thank yourself and they will thank you too.
#3 – Read more. Reading provides so many benefits beyond the sheer entertainment of it. Reading reduces stress and alleviates depression; strengthens the brain and prevents age-related cognitive decline; increases creativity and focus; and contributes to a longer life. What book will you read next?
#4 – Let sh*t go. By the time you’ve reached your autumn years, you’ve collected a lot of baggage. You’re carrying that baggage around every day. It’s heavy. Grudges, self-loathing, self-doubt, excessive materialism, jealousy, regrets – let them go. They don’t serve you. One of the principles of minimalism is to keep what is essential and eliminate the rest. That’s a good principle. Travel light.
#5 – Slow down. In the earlier years, everything is frenetic. Now is the time for Slow Living. There’s a revolutionary movement called the Slow Movement. I wrote about it in 10 Ways to Slow Down and Live More. Here’s a quote from that article:
Slow Living means structuring your life around meaning and fulfillment. Similar to “voluntary simplicity” and “downshifting,” it emphasizes a less-is-more approach, focusing on the quality of your life. … Slow Living addresses the desire to lead a more balanced life and to pursue a more holistic sense of well-being in the fullest sense of the word. (Wikipedia, Slow Movement (Culture))
#6 – Give and receive. You will be happier if you maintain a healthy balance between giving and receiving good things – “good things” are inclusive of a warm smile, an encouraging word, and an open ear. If you’re only giving, it won’t be long before you feel depleted and resentful. If you’re only receiving, well, that’s just gluttonous. Learn to find joy and fulfillment in doing both.
#7 – Do it today. One thing to realize about autumn years is that you have lived more life than you have left, and tomorrow is uncertain. So, whatever you have in your mind and heart to do, don’t delay. You’re never too old to pursue your dreams.
#8 – Start a gratitude journal. Life is happening. Capture the moments. Express gratitude. You’ll gain tremendous benefits. Everything from sleeping better, to more positive emotions and outlook on life, to increased empathy and compassion, to overall well-being. If you’re looking for a great gratitude journal, try Grounded in Gratitude by bridge between, inc.
#9 – Create legacy every day. Often, we think of legacy as something that happens at the end of our lives. The truth is, legacy is built in everyday actions. Think about how you want to be remembered, what contributions you will offer to whom or to what cause, and what difference you want to make. Then, wake up every day and let that passion and compassion drive your actions.
#10 – Enjoy your life. The root word meaning of enjoy is “to give joy to” or to “rejoice.” Life is short, and it’s meant to be enjoyed. Meet every day with awe, inspiration, gratitude, and joy. This is your harvest season. After all the planting, watering, and nurturing, this is now your time to reap the bountifulness of your labors.
Are you in your autumn years? How are you spending this time? What tips can you provide to others who are moving into their autumn years? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish you a life of abundance and gratitude.
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