In your forties or fifties, are you convinced that your best years are behind you? Perhaps you were an outstanding athlete or head cheerleader in high school or college but your early success hasn’t carried over to your adult years. Maybe your early years of marriage and parenthood where filled were filled with romance and joy but the spark is gone and your home life has become a daily grind. Many of us settle into a job that we don’t truly admire and find ourselves expending far too much time and energy attempting to ‘get ahead.’ Maybe you’re not ready financially to retire and anyway you and your spouse haven’t made solid plans for your post-retirement years.
Are you destined to suffer through the dreaded “same-old-same-old” over the next thirty years until you wind up in a nursing home? Heck no! You may already be acquainted with the persistent message on this blog, our website and my radio program: the second half can be absolutely the best years of your life!
I will not go into all the advantages of mature adulthood–the years you are living right now–but I want to introduce the “O.P.E.N.S.” formula, my prescription for a joyful, rewarding and prosperous second half. Let’s examine each letter in turn:
- “O” is for an Optimistic outlook on today and the future. Get in the habit of always looking on positive aspects of any circumstance you find yourself in. None of us can fully control our environment but every one of us has complete control over how we respond. An essential ingredient to optimism is solid confidence in yourself: assurance that with the help of God and others, you can claw yourself out of every difficulty. Good news: once you become consistently optimistic towards life, you will inspire those around you to be positive and will attract optimistic people into your life. Good results will follow.
- “P” is for Prayer–a solid spiritual connection to a higher power, whether you call that power God, Allah, the Eternal Being or Universal Intelligence. No matter how smart, you are not likely to experience a meaningful, joy-filled life if you rely solely upon your internal resources. There is a little bit of God in all of us but that inner God will starve without proper nourishment of wisdom from beyond.
- “E” is for Exercise. Let’s face it, you are not likely to renew mind and spirit in a 50-pound overweight body. Exercise needn’t be strenuous and must be appropriate for your age and prior conditioning. Like me, I’m certain your mind works better after a walk in the woods. Don’t attempt to go from couch potato to marathon runner in a week–not unless you want a fatal heart attack! Whether or not you seek professional guidance, an effective exercise program begins in the mind. First commit yourself to specific weight and fitness goal then routinely visualize how great you will look and feel once goals are accomplished. Now set for yourself a realistic timetable of accomplishment and get started.
- “N” is for Nutrition. I’m not a dietitian, but like me I’m certain your are aware of the nutritional shortcomings of the average American diet. I’ll bet you don’t feel all that great after a breakfast on the run of coffee and doughnuts! Why do restaurants feed us such large portions when we go out to lunch? Why does the processed food we eat at home have so many of the healthful vitamins and minerals removed? Tune in to the Sept. 15, 2014 installment of my Internet radio program ‘Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age’ to learn why even those who follow healthy diets need to take daily vitamin supplements to ensure fulfillment of personal nutritional needs.
- “S” is for Service to the greater good and our fellow humans. Guess what: no matter how great the shape you’re in, how good you look and how positive your outlook, you won’t remain fulfilled for long without a firm commitment to serve others. Your secret is to dedicate your talents, performing only activities you like to do and are good at, in service to others. The more you benefit others, the better off you will feel but there are limits. Don’t overextend yourself or wear yourself down. You were placed on this earth to have a good time and there is no way you are required deprive yourself of a joyful life experience to serve others.
The “OPENS” formula works for me and it can work for you. Put to rest that negative attitude and outlook on your future–it is getting you nowhere! Your best years are not behind you! Stop sleepwalking through life and go to work on each of the five letters. Over time, I guarantee the formula will produce positive results!