Connecting with nature fills her soul.

Connecting with nature fills her soul.

Pamela W., age 70

I feel very grateful to be in my eighth decade of life in relatively good health, capable of continuing to pursue my regular activities. What astonishes me is how quickly the years have passed, and how time seems to accelerate as we age. “Senior” status appeared on a faraway horizon for so long, and then suddenly one qualifies for senior discounts, and you realize you look old to much of the population, even though you do not feel old. I have not experienced perceptible age discrimination but do find younger men and women offering me their seats on a crowded subway.

Daily life is rich with creative endeavors from art to gardening, cooking to home remodeling. Staying in regular touch with family and friends has also become an important part of everyday activities. Sometimes it is just to say “hello," and other times to lend support and a sympathetic ear. I feel very fortunate to enjoy the company of a close-knit group of local friends. We share the good times as well as the tough times and make time to help each other when a need arises. Last, but not least, is getting outdoors on rejuvenating trail walks several times each week. Walks provide exercise and time to be contemplative, which I believe fosters creativity.

Our future is always uncertain, but staying positive and active makes life enjoyable despite the losses we incur. Time spent in nature connects one to life outside of our own, to a much greater realm of time and seasons, and natural rhythms, of which we are a part, yet sometimes get lost in our technological world. I find it fuels my soul.

My advice to young people is to stay grounded in reality, to relinquish significant screen time for real-time connecting to others and to the earth. Spend time listening, looking, breathing in the scents, savoring the tastes, and languishing in the touch of a breeze, raindrops, and snowflakes on your face—even if briefly. It will enrich your life and your relationships.