Money Musings

Secrets to a Long and Happy Life

Published April 10, 2024 | 5 min read

By Ken Bressett

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It’s a well-known fact that challenging, entertaining, and engaging hobbies have the power to make us happier and healthier. Perhaps equally beneficial is that some become financially rewarding or lead to a new lifestyle or avocation. 

Scientists say people who have hobbies are not just filling time—they may also be extending their lifespan, boosting their energy level, minimizing stress, increasing their creativity, and living a more rewarding life. There is no question about this. Those actively participating in absorbing activity consistently live longer, happier lives. And it is never too late to begin enjoying those benefits.

So, will having a hobby ensure you make it to your 100th birthday? It almost certainly will help, but other factors are also important. Longevity is largely dictated by healthy habits (a good diet and regular exercise) and genetics. But make no mistake—you can increase your chances for a long life through practices you can adopt today. This might be as obvious as replacing smoking, overeating, or excessive TV watching with visiting the golf course, taking a walk, cooking, gardening, painting, or dancing.  

Many people who pursue hobby interests late in life return to something they enjoyed in their youth. This seems particularly true of those who take up music again, try to be more serious about writing, or add to that stamp or coin collection they set aside when life became filled with school, career, and raising a family. Other popular hobbies include reading, sports, music, volunteer work, and yoga. While it often feels like we never have enough time in the day, there usually is some available time that can be devoted to important activities that enrich our lives. If you already have a hobby or two that are habits, you can renew your enthusiasm by exploring new interests.

A Hobby for All

Unsurprisingly, I’m a big advocate for coin and stamp collecting. Although they are basically sedentary activities, they appeal to many because of their educational value, which encompasses artistry, history, metallurgy, science, religion, and economics. I feel that an interest in numismatics (the study of coins and other forms of currency) is one of the best and most inclusive hobbies out there. Anyone can get involved, even those with limited time and a small budget.

Never Too Late

Participating in activities and hobbies helps people grow creatively, physically, and intellectually and can bolster self-esteem. Perhaps the best part is that there are no rules about what you must do to begin enjoying the benefits of what is best for you. While some people spend thousands of dollars on their special interests, other pursuits cost only the time spent enjoying the rewards. A good rule is to begin any activity slowly and decide what you like best. Consider what is lacking in your life and how you would like to change that.

Age Is Just a State of Mind

Healthy habits slow aging, as do any activities that stimulate spiritual, mental, and social responsiveness. The fact is that attitude plays a crucial role in the way people age. Adults with a positive attitude about aging live longer than those who focus on the negative. Many seniors enjoy gardening, crossword puzzles, and board games with friends. All hobbies, whether we realize it, can endow us with major health benefits and a long and happy life.

A person can look and feel very old at 50 or very young at 90. It depends on attitude, health, drive, and motivation. Suppose there is a secret to enjoying life at any given age. In that case, it is simply a matter of resolve and dedication to making the most of whatever talents, interests, or resources we have. And if none of these things help to keep you feeling young, fib a bit about your age. Add five or ten years to your actual age, and people will tell you how fit and young you look!

Life is yours for the taking, and hobbies like coin collecting can keep you engaged and vital for years to come.