Is planning for the future possible?

 

Forecasting is normal practice in business but is it reasonable for individuals when thinking about aging?  

If you step beyond the present, it's possible.

After caring for relatives, I got a clear idea of what's ahead. And that's what prompted me.   

Future Thinking

Living in the moment and being aware of my surroundings were the first steps and boy, where they enlightening.   

It started after my folks died. While on a walk and thinking about helping them, the laborious duties, the on-call demands, their hardships of aging, and the resources their care demanded. That moment framed a good illustration of what's ahead. 

What I learned

From that moment, albeit a slow evolution, I knew my health was the first to improve.

I discovered through caregiving and working in senior care that the primary factors of aging well are:

  • Health and well-being
  • Affordable housing - aging in place
  • Social connections and support
  • Care directives
  • Finances 

The greatest lessons my parents taught were to take good care of myself, to be independent, and to discover better ways to age.

In my work, I've seen hundreds of family caregivers and seniors stressed, depressed, and filled with anxiety all because they did not think about the what ifs. 

Studies show that stress and anxiety have adverse effects on health and longevity, and suggest that many of these problems are due to disruption of immune system function, as well as increased inflammation and depression.

How does one make thinking about the future fun and inviting?

My favorite ways are vision boards and pages. They require creativity and fun!

Vision board

It's an artistic way to reflect on what you want to be, do, or have in your life. It's like creating a personal law of attraction and calling out to the future. Creating a vision board is a fun, authentic, and effective way to say “Yes please!” to the life you want and deserve. 

It's a form of mind-mapping but done with images attached onto a poster board. It puts attention on the images you dream up or want to manifest. 

Pages

A form of journaling each day. I prefer in the morning when my mind is clear. A practice of keeping a diary that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life.

Writing pages cleared my head and to make important connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Above all, it helped me get clear on the things I want or not.

Process for Creating Your Future

But before that vision board, one must gather information.

The process for gaining insights and information come from a couple of steps: Asking the right questions, Mapping possibilities, and Scanning your world.

So, when gathering information through queries, it's not so much searching for a "Yes," or "No," actually, you don't ever want either of the two as you answer, instead it's more about asking the right questions that elicit thought provoking epiphanies, surprises and useful results.

Remember, the purpose is to gather information.

At this point you're looking for perspectives and viewpoints beyond your own. Friends and family can offer new points of view.  But if brave enough, seek out sources who you may disagree with, because you can benefit from the very act of thinking through why you disagree. Disagreement triggers new ideas.

Seeking possibilities lays the foundation for future outcomes. Remember that the future will be different than how you see it today. But looking at all the possibilities will certainly offer insights into present choices.

More to come on this future thinking... soon.  

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