Let’s be honest.. old age comes with its aches and difficulties. There’s arthritis to contend with, and bladder problems are probably in the picture too. You’re either sleepy or tired, you can’t see or hear half the time, and what the kids are up to these days boggles you completely.

But who says your latter years can’t be fulfilling? Old age has its limitations, but it comes with certain opportunities too. For one, you get all the free time in the world. And enthusiasm is never going to be missing, especially if you put your mind to it. Even given the challenges of your age, you can lead a rewarding and fun-filled life.

So, how do you go about making the most of your latter years? How do you rise above the pains and restraints of old age to live your days content and full of positivity? How do you beat the stereotype of the grumpy geezer and grow old gracefully?

Aim to Look Good

Old age is no excuse to look like someone’s forgotten grandparent. If anything, your senior years require that you take good care of yourself. You don’t have much room for complacency or neglect.

Start by dressing well. You don’t have to copy every chic look or be on top of every fashion trend. Update some pieces in your wardrobe. Wear clean, comfortable clothes at all times. Pay attention to your grooming habits as well. Mind your face, skin, and hair. Take up a new self-care regimen if you must. Don’t let your mileage deter or discourage you. Remember, beauty knows no age.

Bring Yourself Up to Date

Don’t wallow in the past. Know what’s going on around you. Read up on current events. Understand what everyone is talking about. Always try to keep your thinking current and up to date.

Also, catch up on modern technology. Learn more about apps and mobile devices. Go online and explore. Watch how-to videos to educate yourself. Take computer classes if you must. Old age shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the advantages and conveniences of modern technology.

Keep Busy

Twiddling thumbs causes feelings of lethargy and disinterest. Moping around can leave you cranky and sore. Idleness does nothing for your well-being.

Don’t lie in bed or sit in front of the TV all day. Instead, keep busy. Take up a hobby or a sport that’s not too hard on the knees. Crocheting is relaxing. Chess can help you stay sharp. Gardening is rewarding and imparts a sense of fulfillment. Swimming can help you stay fit and it’s easy on the joints!

Also, get out there and socialize. Visit friends. Reunite with classmates. Be present at parties and other gatherings. Volunteer if you want to. Participate in your community’s environmental and social welfare programs. Or sign up for self-improvement courses. Join a cooking class. Enroll in art workshops. Attend science seminars and conferences. Be around people.

Keeping busy dispels boredom and loneliness. You become more productive and alert. You get to leave the house and meet new people too.

Embrace the Young

Be more tolerant of the young. Hear their opinions. Encourage discussions. You may not agree with what you hear, but what you hear may be important to them.

Their clothes, their music, and the movies they watch are often in line with the present trend of things, and while you may look back with fondness to your own way of life, remember that each generation gets the chance to put their stamp on culture.

Bridging the generational gap allows for smoother interpersonal relationships. You don’t need to speak their language. Taking time to listen to them often does the trick.

Maintain a Pleasant Demeanor

The elderly are known to be a grumpy and impatient bunch, but while that’s a mere generalization–and an unfair one at that–there’s some nugget of truth to it. You can, however, work to escape the stereotype. Start by changing the way you interact with people.

Be nice to everyone. While no one can be warm and friendly all the time, try to maintain a constant pleasant demeanor. Smile at the checkout clerk. Thank the person who took your call. Compliment the wait staff for being prompt. You don’t need to do grand acts of kindness all the time. Small gestures are often enough.

Age With Grace

Old age has its challenges, but your senior years can’t be all about what you can’t do. Sure, you could be grumpy all day, complaining about your knees, but you could also be out there, having the time of your life. As the novelist W. Somerset Maugham said, “Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.”

So, get up and get going. Put on your dancing shoes, or dig out your yoga pants. Return to an old hobby, or take up a new pastime. Rekindle a past relationship, or make new friends. You can be idle and grumpy, or you can be busy and happy.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to smile. And while you’re at it, remember to take better care of yourself. You may need to put in the work at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that aging isn’t all about creaky joints and failing eyesight. As the dramatist Victor Hugo said, “When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.”