Travel: A Remarkable Body/Mind Therapy for Seniors

Health Secrets

I hope the flight is on time

Do you sometimes feel like living in a cage? Not the sturdy, steel-bar kind but just as confining. It is your self-limiting thoughts that lock you in a lonely, uneventful and often miserable existence.

Your thoughts detain you in your comfort zone; fearful of the uncertainties that may come should you dare venture out. Thus you grudgingly accept your lack of purpose, of staring at the same old, scruffy walls of your home, eat microwavable meals, watch old and boring sitcoms, and talk to people as old as you and as locked in their own cages.

You find life to be such a drag.

Being a live-alone widower, I sometimes feel the same way – like a hamster going round and round its wheel. It is maddening. So each time I like a hamster, I get up, get out and just go before I implode.

You should do the same –when you feel the walls closing in on you, just go, anywhere, and loosen yourself up a bit.

A walk around the neighborhood is often good enough. If you want to explore, have an adventure, go for a long drive, or take a train or a plane trip to a far, far away place. Believe me, it is remarkably therapeutic to both body and mind.


How is travel good for the body?

It is a good exercise, especially for seniors, i.e., dragging your heavy baggage around, running after a taxi, or lining up in front of a check-in counter.

Exploring the streets of unfamiliar cities, or walking around museums, sightseeing or leafing through bookstores is exercise you couldn’t at home.

US News reported that a typical travel can make you walk up to 10 miles a day.


Why is it good for the mind?

Traveling exercise the mind as well.

Navigating new cities, exploring museums, chatting with new people, practicing new languages, and seeing new sights are all stimulating to the brain; they flex your mental muscles and keep your brain active.

Dr. Margaret J. King, director of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis says, “With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome.”

Learning new things is good for the mind, so is giving it a rest.

Other benefits you get from traveling are:


1.  A change in scenery:
Travelling allows you to see new and different scenes.

You can walk through the clouds in mountain tops, or feel salty spree on your face while sitting on a quiet and lovely beach somewhere.

Though less frequent, but a scene in scenery is just as necessary for your body and mind as changing your linens, your underwear, or clothes.


2.  It is liberating:
Travel makes you forget, even for a while, your daily concerns and opens up a world of endless possibilities. It allows you to do whatever you want to do, and go wherever you want to go. That is freedom.

You can try out new things, explore places, or live outside of the norms you live by back home.

It can make you forget of your age and be as gleeful as a child again.


3.  Connecting with others:
Traveling gives you an excellent opportunity to connect with other people, i.e., the guy beside you in a bus, train, or plane, for example.

They are not just people who happen to be near you, but valuable sources of information, and possibly becoming good friends.

They can give you invaluable safety tips, interesting points to see, places to avoid, nearest police station or hospital.

If done amiably, a few minutes of friendly conversation can allow you to see them as they are, like how they live where they work, their marital status, or number of children, if they have any, etc.

While waiting for my daughter and her hubby who were window-shopping, I talked with the mall’s security guard. From him I learned so much about the city, which I could never have through walking around the shopping center.


4.  Allows you to find yourself:
In the course of a day, you are so engrossed with money, relationship, and health issues to know that there is so much in life other than fighting bushfires.

To see the horizon, you need to view it from a distance.

Traveling gives you that distance; it is seeing things from outside your cage. It allows you to see yourself from another perspective, i.e., your life’s purpose, your values, your needs, what makes you happy or sad, what interests you most in life, and your goals and ambitions..

Away from the maddening crowd, travel allows you to find yourself.

This year I have logged a lot of travel mileage. Most of them were with my daughter and her hubby who kindly took me along. The rest were solos.

Regardless of the mode, I always come home refreshed, rejuvenated and with lots of memories of the trip and a ton of pictures for posterity.

I plan to make three solos before the year is over and next year, when I turn 70, I plan to take a very long motorcycle ride.

That is how addicting travel is. Once it gets into your system, and make you want to do it as long as you can.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.


Simple Tips to Avoid Money Problems

Health Secrets

money problems

Got money problems?

Are you having money problems? You are not alone. A lot of people, worldwide, have the same problem.

While younger adults can survive it, seniors often find it difficult to wiggle around the problem. Because of age, they have very few options to mitigate the problem.

And it is ironic that it comes at a time for joy and relaxation; a time to travel or do something interesting, reflect, write a book, or simply put one’s feet on a chair and take things easy.

Instead, you are frequently stressed out not knowing how to pay your bills, buy nutritious food, or your much-needed medicines. You don’t go out to save on transportation money, nor socialize to avoid unnecessary expenses.

You become a pariah to your own self. Money problems often shut you off from the world, make you want to dig a hole in the ground and disappear. It robs you of the freedom of choice.

I know how it feels because I was in a very grave financial situation a few years back. It was tough; it made me feel suicidal. What kept me going then was my wife who encouraged me never to give up.

And I did not.

In hindsight, I find it kind of funny that in the depth of your despair, that’s when you see the light.

I suddenly realized that agonizing over money will not make the problem disappear; money will not rain down from heaven even if you cry buckets of tears.

It made me realize that if you look at money problems from a different perspective, you will find valuable lessons from your misfortunes – the silver lining behind the dark clouds.

I still have money problems but not as serious as before. And that episode in my life made a better person of me. It helped me, and it can help you. I

Here they are:


1.  A good attitude about money:
Money is an instrument to sustain life, not life itself.

If you consider money the centerpiece of your life, you will forever be miserable because you will never be satisfied with what you have, no matter how large a fortune it is.

So use it to give meaning to your life. Use it wisely and prudently. It is hard to come by, and once it is gone for good. And if you are a retiree, replenishing it is next to impossible.

Howard Schultz said, “…I have never defined myself by my worth. I always try to define myself by my values.”


2.  Live humbly:
I have learned over the years that pride ultimately drags you down.

There’s nothing wrong with self-confidence. In fact, we should all be confident with ourselves. But beyond that, when it becomes egoism, it is unhealthy – especially if your ego cannot be sustained or supported.

Live humbly. Humility has its rewards. Besides, after having reached this far, there is nothing to prove anymore, is there?

Henry David Thoreau said, “I make myself rich by making my wants few.”


3.  Be practical in your purchases:
People often buy things due to peer pressure or because it is the “in thing.” They want to keep up with the Jones’s. Unwittingly, they get into serious money problems.

Don’t be like them. Buy things because they serve your needs and your budget. While some argue that expensive things last longer, you still have to balance the pros and cons before opening your wallet. There is no point in buying something that will outlive you.


4.  Learn from your mistakes:
They say that life is a good teacher. And it never makes a mistake – if only people heed its lessons.

Your financial problems are not caused by somebody else, or that you were born under an unlucky star. They are caused by the things you did in the past. So don’t ever do them again.

Heed Bill Gates’ advice when he said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s important to heed the lesson of failure.”


5.  Make a budget and stick to it:
Another experience I learned over the years is that the best way to get into money troubles is not having a budget.

No matter how small your financial resources are, have a budget. That is the only way to account and control your expenses. Without it, you will never know where your scant resources went. You will never know if you’ve bought all you need.

If Thomas Boone Pickens, chairman of BP Capital Management, has a budget, shouldn’t you?

He carries a list when he buys his groceries and will only carry the amount to cover them all. He says, “You couldn’t spend money you don’t have.”


6.  Save:
It may soon foolish to talk about saving if you have barely enough to last a month.

If you keep to your budget and exercise restraint in your spending, you can. It may be difficult, but it is a smart thing to do to cover unseen emergency expenses.

Set aside for the rainy days any amount you can squeeze off your budget. Over time, it can buy a loaf of bread or a box of milk.


7.  Sell a service:
If you have reached this far and still healthy you can earn a few dollars by selling a service.

If you have money problems, it would not be a bad idea to sell your skills to people or organizations in need of it.

There is nothing to be shy about it. You need extra cash, then go out and earn it. Besides, a lot of people are already into it, they created the work-from-home industry.

Money problems among seniors cannot be taken lightly because of the magnitude of the problem and its repercussions.

It can lead to physical and mental health problems put a strain on your relationships and can cause family breakups.

While it can be argued that your money problems have their roots way back, but it is up to you to stop them from spreading before they choke you to death.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.