Living a Healthy Lifestyle
I Move over “Aging Gracefully!”
There’s a new way to age in town.
– The Uphill Skater –
Old wisdom told us to age gracefully, but not anymore. I recently saw an advertisement in a magazine about a face moisturizer (OLAY) that the new thinking is not to age gracefully, but to age successfully. Doesn’t that seem way better? I like this new spin and the positive vocabulary. But, what does aging successfully mean, and what do we have to do to accomplish it?
Well, I have a few thoughts on the subject:
First, I have people of all ages around me all the time, and it is easy to pick out those who seem to be a success not just at aging, but also at simply living their lives. One of my church friends is 89 years old, and she is a hoot. Her health is not the best, but every Sunday she is dressed to the nines with matching bag and shoes—even earrings. I asked her how in the world she did that so well, and she told me she picks her activities—the ones important to her. Knowing she is unable to do everything she used to, she evaluated what she really wants to do and how she wants to spend her days with her now limited strength. Many things were cut, leaving only the activities and habits that make her happy and fulfilled. She wishes she had done it sooner, rather than wasting time and energy on things she didn’t want to do—so simple and so brilliant.
Another great driver for adding more years—and less worry—to your life is to de-stress. Think about what is causing you stress and anguish. If you could change something—anything—what would it be? Now, remember you have choices and can change your life anytime you’re ready. I was chatting with a young woman who is a pre-school teacher, and she was telling me how her financial troubles are causing her deep emotional stress and keeping her up at night. This is so common. Her rent was an issue, so I suggested the obvious: Get a different apartment or a roommate. People don’t change until it’s too painful to stay the same, and sometimes we get so bogged down in the problem, we become frozen and can’t see the obvious just-do-it solution. Is this happening in your life? What is the source of your stress and what can you do about it today? Remember, there is a solution to every problem, and peace awaits on the other side of it.
The wrong foods and lack of exercise/movement are huge agers. I am reading a book by Dr. Daniel Amen called “Change your Brain, Change Your Life,” and even at my age, I am learning about changing habits. Stop smoking and limit alcohol are no-brainers that I won’t bore you with, but we all know it makes a major difference. Let’s look further for more change: Thinking about your weight and general health not as a diet or gym experience but as a way to look and feel better for years to come. It seems like forever that I have had a weight/size goal. I am abandoning that way of thinking and now am just interested in being the weight/size where I am the most healthy and have the energy to match it. Clothes look great on healthy at most any size. I try to eat real foods I like in moderation and watch my caloric intake. This formula holds true if you are aging at 18 or 80.
My last trick for aging successfully is a word I have used frequently in this article: Think. That’s right, stop and THINK about you. Stop thinking things like: “Oh poor me, I am so fat.” Or, “Why can’t I manage my money?” Or, the worst one, “Why am I so stressed out all the time?” Get real with yourself and have a genuine reality think. Aging successfully means being a success right now and also in the long haul. To do that, you must get out of your negative self-loathing and start planning. Having a plan is a fabulous, essential, game-changing thing! Get one! Maybe you need advice. If so, seek it from someone you trust, who will be honest and kind, with your best interest in mind. However, avoid enablers who will merely tell you what you want to hear. The last thing you need is someone who cheers on your excuses.
I often find I get my best insights when I am in prayer. I know this is a personal suggestion and may not be for everyone. Prayer works wonders for me; however, people also find peace in meditation, stillness or silence. Taking time to hear yourself think is imperative in aging successfully. I also read veraciously and am open to new ideas, new research and others' opinions. Attitude is a key, too. Hope is a watchword I often cling to; I try to be hopeful in every situation, even though some are easier than others. I also think about peace—both inner and outer. A common thread in those who age successfully is having general feelings of well being. Peace is the ultimate reward at any age, which leads us to this great news: Aging successfully has nothing to do with age! Love, Judith
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Judith Lawrenson is a former Hilton Head Island resident who has a huge heart and is loved by all who meet her. She has served and volunteered with numerous charitable organizations while living in the Lowcontry making an impact wherever she went. She and her husband recently moved to the wild hills of West Virginia to be closer to grandchildren. Judith is an avid sailor, a retired reading resource specialist, and a children's TV host whose local show originated from the Boys and girls Club. Judith is also a long time seeker of healthy, happy living and a lifestyle dedicated to service to others balanced with love of God and love of self. Check out her BLOG www.skatinguphill.com for fun info, recipes and nutrition ideas, current updates on nearly everything in the world, and lots of comments and opinions.