Note to Self – A Guide to Self Preservation in my Senior Years

Often, we read about people writing to their younger selves, sharing advice they wish they had known in their earlier years.  This is done in the hopes that another younger person may read it & benefit from this sage advice.  An attempt to somehow lessen the stress & self-doubt a younger person feels as they move forward in life.

This got me to thinking.

At the age of 54, based on my life experience to date, what advice would I deliver to myself in my senior years?  If I had the chance to have a conversation with my older self, what nuggets of knowledge would I feel it necessary to share?

Hopefully one of my kids will have tucked this away in a safe place, waiting for the appropriate time to present me with my own words of advice.  Lord knows, I won’t be able to find it anywhere & I will most likely have forgotten my password to know how to get into my blog.  So kids, I am relying on you to make this happen, should you feel I need to read this!


July, 28, 2015

My dearest old gal,

If you are reading this, I am guessing you are in need of a little attitude adjustment. Consider this a friendly nudge from your younger self; to heed your own advice.  I have compiled a list of 18 suggestions for you,  all of them coming from my own head & heart, learned through the difficult process of dealing with my own aging parents years ago.  

I know what you’re thinking.  “18 is kind of a random number!” Be that as it may, I gift them to you, in hopes that you are of sound enough mind to receive them in the spirit they were written:  

1. Seek ways to put laughter in your day & maintain your sense of humour.

Sadly it seems when we get old, we feel we don’t have as much to laugh about.  We have most likely lost many of our friends, our family & possibly even our life partners.  Some days may feel unbearable, but I urge you to seek laughter.  Do not be crotchety!  Find someone to share a  good belly laugh with, one that starts at your very core.  Laughter truly is the best medicine!

2. Practice tolerance & try to stay young at heart.

I am guessing you are feeling like things have changed since you were a young girl. Rather than longing for the good old days, learn to adapt & go with the flow.  Talk to young people about the issues of the world today & listen to what their challenges are.   You are never too old to stop learning!  Be a sponge & soak up the news of today, while at the same time being able to share your wisdom based on your life experiences.  It’s a win win for everyone!  

3. Use your manners.

This seems like a no brainer but aging has a funny way of making you forget to use your manners. Please, Thank You & Excuse Me are as important now as they were when you taught your children to say them all those years ago.  Practice what you preached. It’s not okay to fart & not say excuse me.   Unless of course, you are in your own company.  In that case,  see #1.

4.  Use your filter.

I am not talking about your coffee filter.  I am talking about your social filter.  Think before you speak.  Don’t just start rattling off about things before you give pause to how this information is being received.   It will save you, your children & those around you, a ton of embarrassment.

5. Continue to exercise.

I know it hurts.  Most likely, you are filled with aches & pains, but for the love of God, keep moving!  If you can do nothing else but wave your arms in the air, do it with vigor! Remember the saying, “use it or lose it?”  It still applies!  Get up & move those old bones!

6. You don’t know everything.

Just because you are old, it doesn’t mean you are right all of the time.  Quite honestly, you have always had difficulty with this one.  I would guess as you age, it will be even more challenging for you.  Stand down my friend.  There are smart people still living, you may meet the odd one now & again, so be prepared to “agree to disagree”.  Just sayin’.

7. Be kind & generous in spirit.

These are qualities that have been of the utmost importance to you, all of your life. Extending kindness to people, offering them a safe place to fall if they need it.  Continue on this path, there is only good that come from it.

8.  Look for something positive each & every day you are gifted.

Quite honestly, seniors complain a lot!  I suppose after so many years, they have lots to complain about, but this can be wearisome to those around you.  I beg you not to be this person.  Look for the positive, don’t be the cantankerous old gal in the group.  Be the gal people enjoy talking to. Continue to embrace every day as a precious gift, seek a wee bit of adventure in your day & put a smile on your face.  Regardless of what age you are, a smile is a beautiful thing.  It can change a person’s day.

9.  Share your story.

You have had the benefit of living such a rich & full life.  Look through your photos.  You may not recognise all of the faces, but theses photos will remind you of how much love & joy has surrounded you in your lifetime.  How lucky you were to experience such amazing adventures in so many incredible destinations, collecting stories from each and every place you visited.  Share these stories, for they are so much a part of who you are.

10. Your children will most likely have to make some difficult decisions on your behalf.

This is a hard one.  At some point, our parental roles change & our children end up having to help us with life decisions that we may not necessarily agree with.   Trust me when I tell you this will be harder on them than it is on you.  Never lose sight of how much they love you & respect them enough to hear their position.  It is most likely for your own safety & well-being.

11.Practice Safe Sex.

I’M KIDDING!  I just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention. If you are still gettin’ some at your age, trust me, safety is the least of your concerns!  Sorry kids, refer to#1!  

12. Be grateful for the wonderful life you have been given. 

I read today, about a beautiful 20-year-old young girl, who was tragically killed in a car accident. I cannot fathom the loss her family is feeling.  I imagine the things she will never have the opportunity to experience. Be grateful for the fullness of your life, the experiences you have had & the people you have loved along the way.   If you are reading this, it means you have been one of the fortunate ones. 

13. Be patient.

This seems to be a really tough one for seniors.  There is a sense of urgency to every little thing they do.  Please, please, please, do not be the prickly senior with a short fuse at the bank, or in the line at the grocery store.  Seriously, where is it you need to be?   Give people the time they need, for you probably have more time on your hands than they do!

14.  You may need to lower your expectations.

High expectations are something you inherited from your grandmother.  It is not necessarily a bad thing, for it has served you well in what you expect of yourself.   Unfortunately sometimes your expectations are hard to meet, you may need to lower them just a tad.  

15. Don’t drink too much

Quite frankly, this has always been a fear for you.  Your family history has been one plagued with the wretched disease of alcoholism.  If your kids suggest you are drinking too much, stop!  I mean it.  Clean out the cupboards of anything alcohol related, get rid of it!  Period, full stop!

16. Listen to Music

You have always loved music, all kinds of music.  For some reason when people get old, many stop listening to music.  They find it annoying.  Their car radios & their disc players are silent.  Perhaps they have forgotten how to turn them on?  It’s a mystery to me.  I hope you still listen to music.  It was & is, good for your soul!  

17. Love your life to the bitter end.

None of us knows when life may end.  Savour every moment.  Find joy in your day.  Try something new, regardless of how scary it may seem.  Never give up on life before it is taken from you. 

18. Be someone you would like to remember.  

Leave your mark in this world as someone who loved life to its full capacity in every regard.  In doing so, when you close your eyes for the very last time, you will have lived a good life, a full life, an enviable life.  One you were so blessed to have had, & hopefully one that left an imprint on the hearts of those who had the pleasure to know you.

So there you have it, my dear heart.  I hope this advice has helped you in small way, offering you guidance in knowing the person you wanted to be.  


Your younger self

I open it up to you my friends.  If given the chance, what would you add or share with your older self?

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446 Responses to Note to Self – A Guide to Self Preservation in my Senior Years

  1. Pingback: Note to Self – A Guide to Self Preservation in my Senior Years — Life After 50 – theirreplacable

  2. Jeff Bell says:

    Lynn, First of all congrats on the Discover feature. Second, you got me on #11. Those are all great pieces of advice to yourself, some things that are hard-truths we all may have to deal with. My grandma lost her filters and manners at some point in life and hurt feelings from time to time. Everyone I know who had continued to exercise later in life has lived longer and healthier.

    Anyway, great post and congrats again.

  3. codenamelife says:

    Honestly, your list is something I strive for later in life. To be honestly true to myself and heed my own advise. Most of the time we ignore what we know and say to ourselves; next time. I will do better next time. I recently started my blog in hopes of motivating people to live life vibrantly. Please feel free to take a gander at my site as I continue.

    • Lynn says:

      Thank you so much for visiting & taking the time to comment on the post. To be true to yourself is key to living a good life I think. Welcome to blogging, I will be sure to check your blog out

  4. La Quemada says:

    Nurture compassion, for yourself and for others. Choose understanding over judgment.

    Thanks for a thoughtful and thought-provoking post!

  5. WendyWu says:

    I love your perspective and the experience of reading your wise and nurturing letter to older self.
    I was diagnosed at the age of 54 just over 2 years ago with cancer, which got upgraded to “incurable” & “terminal”. It has been an incredible journey .. mostly pointing me to each one of your life gems (except no.11 !). I don’t think I have ever grown up so much before … but realise too I have so much to learn ! A clinical trial opprtunity has recently come my way .. so I may have more time re-purchased to practice on the.patience and tolerance thing (all will become clear on that when I reveal my CT blog which is in the making). And my brand new relationship with WordPress is helping me to have some fun with my pen 😊 (and … surprisingly … with my wee phone camera) – which seems to come out like quick-draw-Macgraw throughout my meaningful days. Just wish I could present them more beautifully though like the ones I see on ‘Stream’ . So much to learn, I shall never be bored. Thanks again for enriching my day – WendyWu

    • Lynn says:

      Wendy, I am sitting here reading your comment & once again I am reminded of one of the reasons I love to blog. Through my writing, I have met so many wonderful people, many on their own journey of sorts. One of the things I set as a goal was the hope to touch the odd person through my writing, to learn & to connect with each other.

      I can’t imagine the highs & lows you must be experiencing these days as you face the challenges of your health. Don’t worry too much about your presentation of your words, the mere fact that you are letting them spill out can only be beneficial to you.

      Thank you so much for popping in to read, I wish you strength & love in the coming days.

      • WendyWu says:

        Thanks Lynn for your reply …you have inadvertently encouraged me to put my writing “out there” to share, instead of staying stuck; dillying around & trying to be perfect with its structure. You should now be able to access my blog “@thewendyhouse”. Such a warmth you have to share. I’ve now read your intro and so similar was my reason to blog initially (plus my pen kept nagging me!) that I will call you one of my ❤-sisters – Wendy, hugz

      • Lynn says:

        Wendy, I am so glad you have decided to put your writing out there & share your journey. I am honoured that I may in some small way, have contributed to encouraging you to do so!

  6. ritawaves says:

    On approaching 50 plus I look back and realize that unconsciously I learnt from my experiences , some bad some good ,gained wisdom and now find time to reflect on llife purpose and also into a self care regime .

    • Lynn says:

      I think our 50s must be a time if reflection. I talk to so many friends who find themselves reflecting on their life & giving thought to what that 3rd chapter looks like. Perhaps it is because our children are grown or may be its dealing with aging parents but it certainly seems to be a time in our lives where we take stock of our journey so far. Thank you so much visiting.

  7. This is so brilliant. Considering advice to one’s older self makes so much more sense than doing likewise for one’s younger self – for obvious reasons! Very enjoyable read – made me smile and I expect I’ll be mulling the idea over for the rest of the day…

  8. I’ve just found this via WordPress discover. So glad. It’s brilliant. I’m a new fan. Just turned 50 myself x

  9. I am turning 50 in a couple of weeks, in the words of Nadine Stair – If I Had My Life Over – I’d Pick More Daisies. She says it perfectly – “I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.”

  10. theluckyhsp says:

    Great post. I like number 18 a lot. I think we all have within us a positive side that if nourished and shared can have memorable impacts on others to where they carry a bit of us with them. This post reminds me of something I read recently. It was a question that asked “what would your younger self think of your actions today?”. Something like that. Such a simple question but very revealing. My younger self had a lot of great values. Looking back, I actually changed two things about myself to live more congruently with my younger selfs strong values.

  11. rabia358 says:

    So beautiful❤❤❤

    • Lynn says:

      Thank you so much!

    • anie says:

      Your points are still very valuable. I think I would like to add the following because it is just more important these days and I really have my difficulties in both.
      – Reduce your time on the internet and stop reading or writing about your life. Live it, because you will regret it if your are only dreaming your life.
      – Set time limits for things that are important to you and do not torment yourself endlessly when you can not achieve something, but accept it.

  12. damienaj says:

    Well said Lynn! Putting it in writing will keep you on the path to being mindful of the intersection of your younger and older self.

  13. Queen says:

    Your writings are amazing!😊

  14. Hi, I have just paused to read your piece and thought it was fabulous. I will turn 57 this year and found your reflections interesting. I’m hoping that I won’t become any of those negative things you brought to mind and reading your letter helped me to realize a person needs to be mindful of the possibility. I’m really going to try and not let my usually optimistic life-view wallow in confusion about how so many younger people do things differently than in my day as a young person, including my own grown up children, two of whom are mothers themselves. Life is so much about attitude isn’t it, not the funny things happening to my skin when I look in the mirror or being aghast when my granddaughter, as she tries not to chuckle, shows me how to use a computer game (I mean how hard could it be to press the button and make the little critters jump up over the house and not into it). Anyway, well done. Judy.

    • Lynn says:

      Judy, I too, am turning 57 this year! Like you, I make every attempt to focus on the positive & I hope to continue that mindset as I age. Interestingly, I had a bit of a role model, my Great Gran Johnson, who I so admired as a younger person. She was always so interested in what young people were doing & I don’t ever recall hearing her complain about much of anything. She had such a wonderful positive attitude in every way & I can only hope that I possess some of those genes!

      As far as that face in the mirror, it can be a bit frightening some days, but how blessed we are to live a long life where wrinkles & laugh lines settle in!

      Good luck with those video games! I could never get the hang of those things!

  15. belladora45 says:

    I came across you post by accident. I m quite new to Word Press and putting thoughts in writing. Your post was a wonderful reminder to me of the things I do now when I am feeling down.
    The older me is here. I maintained very well up until a year or so ago. In many ways I did a lot of the suggestions you listed. The unknown of getting old is the aging process and pain. I feel I aged 20 years in two years. The exercise is extremely important, as well as, stay young at heart. Listening to music is my primary escape from reality. Might I add, don’t depend on adult children to stop living their busy lives because we are old. They have to live their lives, take care of their future. I have been single for many years and find I am the best company. My children and grandchildren have been my world. I have 3 granddaughters in college, two that work full time. The little ones are gone. The only other point I would add to yours is, to make yourself useful to others whenever you can. To feel useful is critical to remaining young at heart. Lovely post.

    • Lynn says:

      First of all, welcome! You make some great points & you are so right, our health can have so much to do with how we feel day to day. My son is a physiotherapist & he has often said to my husband & I that if he could give us any advice based on the patients he treats, it would be to stay active & stay social.

      Your point about not depending on your children too much is one that hits home with me. I have an aging Mom who is also dealing with dementia & it can be very challenging trying to attend to her needs while balancing my own life.

      Thank you so much for adding your thoughts & taking the time to visit. I so appreciate it!

  16. carol1945 says:

    I am 72, and the filters start to go. My mom lived to 98, dad to 91, so I expect more years if lucky. Your thoughts here are fantastic, but I don’t know how exactly to keep the filters. A person just blurts things out at 72 that she would never do at even 62.

    • Lynn says:

      I think part of the challenge in maintaining our filter is to be aware of how our words might impact other people. Maybe if we just take a moment to gather our thoughts before blurting 😂. Thank you for visiting!

  17. pattimartin622 says:

    Dear Lynn, I just read your blog. I don’t know why I found it. I was doing some Family Search stuff and there you were. I clicked on it and here I am . I’m turning 77 in June. My daughters are in their 50’s. I don’t think I could have written what you wrote in my 50’s. I don’t think I could write it now!
    I can see myself in everything that you shared. I want to share myself with my daughters and my grand and great grand children. They don’t seem interested in my life or the things that I have experienced. I want to share because, as I do Ancestry research, I realize that I know very little about my grandparents and nothing about my great grandparents or my own parents for that matter.
    I was a teenager, I fell in love, I married, I went to college, I taught elementary age children for almost 30 years. I’ve traveled to many wonderful and memorable places and I have pictures and slides LOL to prove it.🤪 Like any older person, I guess I want to tell stories. The problem is I keep telling the same stories!!! I want to be the treasured matriarch (in literature) in my family!!!!
    Well, now I’m ranting and being silly.
    Thank you for your insight. I’m going to read it again and again until I can start to live it. It’s never to late to benefit from good advice.
    PS.. I’ve been doing number 11 for the last 56 years with the same guy!

    • Lynn says:

      Oh Patti, you made me smile! I love that you are practicing #11 with the same guy for 56 years! That is wonderful!

      Perhaps you can start writing down your stories in the hopes that your children will one day come to treasure them for years to come.

      I am so glad you found me in your searching today & took the time to have a visit & leave a comment!

      • pattimartin622 says:

        Lynn, I have written some things for my daughters…letters I never mailed, poems, all the places I lived and they lived and Ancestry findings. I have pictures and slides to organize for them and lots of things from my in laws. I’m a saver…they seem to “travel light” in life.
        My new goal is to get all that stuff organized and to write a journal for them…guess I need to type them and save them in a file because I will need two sets!!!! Looking forward to reporting my accomplishments to you. You have inspired me to get busy💕

      • Lynn says:

        I think that sounds like a wonderful idea! I look forward to hearing of your progress 😉

  18. Pingback: Note to Self – Niskala

  19. Ali says:

    I utterly love this post, and will retain it for as long as my memory holds out! Thank you.

  20. Bia Perez says:

    👏🏻👏🏻 congrats… Beatriz

  21. Your posting touched me so much… as I am also at the same point in my life… great.. I will pass it on to my daughters..

    • Lynn says:

      Always great to hear that something you have written resonates with someone. Thank you so much for your kind words & for taking the time to visit!

  22. Pingback: TwiceFreed

  23. manucomplicated says:

    Quite motivating sort of filled an excitement in my heart and mind..😊

  24. Dikshita says:

    Reblogged this on What makes you happy and commented:
    Much love ❤

  25. godtisx says:

    I loved this list, great suggestions. I’m not 50 — but I know one day I will be there…

  26. Pingback: Note to Self – A Guide to Self Preservation in my Senior Years — Life After 50 – BeInnovative

  27. orchidrock says:

    So very true I think no matter how old anyone is, they could all use those 18things as a base in life. Great read x

  28. Great points! You’re too funny.

  29. unsosyaltravel says:

    Reblogged this on Unsosyal Travel.

  30. I am just going to put some music on before I forget how to! Great post!

  31. Pingback: Note to self | Stay at Home Moms Making Money Blog

  32. Hi Lynn, How nice that this great post was featured on Discover! I can’t remember the last time I read one of your posts and I am wondering if your posts have dropped out of my reader…I know this happens sometimes. Anyway I’m still just went quiet for a while.Going to back track over the next week or so. Louise

    • Lynn says:

      Thanks Louise, I was honoured this post was chosen to be featured on Discover. I haven’t been writing a whole lot lately so that is probably why you haven’t seen anything in your reader. I hope to get back to a more regular writing timeline but life has been rather hectic & despite my best intentions, that just doesn’t seem to be happening!

  33. Pingback: Note to Self – A Guide to Self Preservation in my Senior Years – Johnny Pucchi

  34. Stay in touch with close friends and family. No one likes to be totally alone.

  35. I LOVED this! And I’m not waiting until I’m older. Great advice for living.

  36. these truly are words of wisdom, the most important thing is to keep patience, if one keeps patience and thinks before speaking, half of our problems don’t occur

    • Lynn says:

      You are so right, patience is way up there on the priority list. It seems as we age we have much less patience which I find kind of interesting given that our time is more our own! Thank you so much for visiting & taking the time to comment!

  37. Thank you so much for this! I really appreciate these reminders you’ve shared to us. Especially being a youth, it is essential to us to be given guidance and words of wisdom from people with more experienced so that we can be able to live life better. 🙂 God bless you always.

    • Lynn says:

      Hannah, thank you for your lovely comment. I think it is important that we all learn from one another, to listen & to share in life experience. I so appreciate your visit!

  38. spooger64 says:

    I enjoyed your list! It has encouraged me to write one of my own, but I’ll include eating cookies in mine somewhere!

  39. Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet and commented:
    Come read this fascinating post on what you would write in a letter to your older self???

  40. I guess i have to apply these things to myself even if I’m not a senior❤️

  41. What a beautiful post, Lynn. You had me hanging on every word … then I nearly splurted out my coffee when I got to #11. Well done! Thanks to my wonderful Aunt Bev, I would add a reminder to myself to go ahead and eat dessert first. 🙂 Thanks for giving me the first smile of the day. And congratulations on being Discovered – so well deserved! All the best, Terri

    • Lynn says:

      Oh Terri, thank you so much for this lovely comment today. It is a piece I wrote in the midst of ourselves and so many of our friends going through the ageing parent process. I am so glad you enjoyed it & truly, you warmed my heart today!

  42. bledgley says:

    I absolutely love this. I have worked with senior citizens for many years. I have told a few women to remember the saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” I need to remember it, too.

    • Lynn says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. Aging does not always present the best of ourselves, this was my little way to somehow remind myself of a few things that matter!

  43. Thank you for including this list in your posts. It’s inspirational as well as practical, and I found much to love about it. I’m glad to read your posts always, but now I’m going to make a concerted effort to read even more. After all, we all need to come in the front door of our fellow bloggers more often!

    • Lynn says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read & for your very kind words. I love that James & Terri highlighted the benefits of coming through the front door, something I am going to make a point if doing a little more often as well!

      I will be sure to pop over to have a visit!

  44. Lynn, this is a very thoughtful post, and I agree with absolutely every point you make. Terri and I are always joking with each other about being geezers, and I think that we probably do it as a reminder to NOT be geezers. Anytime either of us comes out with one of those old traditional lines, we just say: “My, don’t you sound like a geezer!”

    The last thing that I want to be, now or in the future is the guy that is a grumpy, judgemental, out of touch, know-it-all that fits all the senior citizen stereotypes. We live in a university town and our quad-rental has a pair of “youngers” on the top floor. It’s nice to be able interact with younger folks on a every day to keep us grounded and in touch. This is a fabulous post and I’m not surprised at all that it was “Discovered” by WordPress. ~James

    • Lynn says:

      James, thank you so much for reading. I think many of us fear becoming a cranky old geezer, in spite of our best efforts to not be!

      I always remember my great grandmother being this gentle, kind soul, always genuinely interested in chatting with young people to stay up to date on everything related to their world. If I could aspire to be an old gal I admire, she is the first one that comes to mind! Fingers crossed I am successful 😂.

  45. Pingback: If We Could Only Read One of Your Posts … Which One? – GALLIVANCE

  46. restlessjo says:

    I’m here again, and it makes just as good reading now as it did then. And I’m much more crotchety now 🙂 🙂 Thanks, Lynn- it’s a super read!

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