Aging: An Inspirational Tribute

Dear readers, I took a hiatus due to the passing on of a family member, which I will address here. However, it’s a story of lasting joy! Of course many tears were shed and we are still grieving, but I am referring to the everlasting joy of the family member that transitioned to the after life.

I met this amazing man in 2012 and he ended up becoming my brother in law. I call him amazing for many reasons. First of all, he suffered a debilitating stroke about 12 years ago and never stopped having fun! He threw huge parties complete with live music, enjoyed wagering on sporting events, flirted with the ladies, enjoyed meeting people online, keeping up on current events, staying in touch with siblings, friends and more. He was a doting father and that never changed. When we cleaned out his room, I found inspirational readings, complete with Bible verses.

Secondly, although wheelchair bound, he would “dance” at his parties and worked hard to stand. He always participated to the best of his abilities to transfer from his chair. Working hard with his physical therapist, he never lost hope of living in his own home again and talked of buying a new car. In fact, yearly he visited the Auto Show with my husband.

A little over 3 weeks ago, this dear man suffered a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. The doctors were not optimistic and I entered the hospital room with dread. Holding back tears and hiding my eyes with glasses, there he was, having a little party with his daughter, her friend and a cute nurse! Jokes abounded and he was laughing so hard at one point, that he couldn’t speak!

The dire news of a risky surgery that was not recommended did not perturb him. He stated ” do it! I have a lot of life to live!” The procedure accomplished less than we had hoped for, but his good spirits never wavered. A transition to a good care facility was looked forward to. Two days after the surgery, he was on the phone and enjoying the excellent care and attention of staff. His last conversation with my husband involved compliments of his beautiful and kind nurse.

We met that beautiful and kind nurse the following morning after we received the news of a peaceful and quick passing. She and other staff worked hard to revive him, but he was called away to host parties in heaven.

“A lot of life ” was still lived, as my brother in law put a lot of life into each day. The stories at his celebration of life were full of business accomplishments, fun, golf and laughter. In his honor, it was held at a beautiful country club with wine and fine food. There was never a word spoken of his great suffering, as he always remained “whole ” in attitude.

What legacy will we leave behind? I’m inspired to put challenges of the past behind and live each day with joy!

Baby Steps to Healthy Aging

We all have been told over and over what to do to be healthy: eat less of this, more of that, go to the gym every day, sleep more, walk more, run, skip jump, stress less! I don’t know about you, but I get a bit stressed looking at all these commands.

It’s no wonder we are tempted to tune out, grab a soda and relax in front of the television. We’re told what to do, but in the myriad of choices, where do we begin?

Try starting with one habit you know you should change. If you drink two sodas a day, taper to one and eventually switch the one out to a healthy drink.

There is green tea, sparkling water and natural beverages sweetened with Stevia.

If you love chocolate, find a healthy chocolate. There are dark chocolates bars sweetened with Stevia and lower sugar bars available.

Artificial sweeteners will not do your body good, as your digestive system doesn’t process them in a beneficial way. If you can’t give up your milk chocolate, don’t! Simply reduce the amount you eat. Life shouldn’t be about deprivation.

Do you love fried foods but not the fat? Saute in good fats like coconut or olive oils. Look at investing in an air fryer. I love air frying so much, that I own two!

air fryer

Are you addicted to salty, crunchy foods like I am? I take a small handful of gluten free crackers and mix them with raw nuts for a tasty, filling treat. When only chips will do, I dole out a small amount of organic chips, sometimes even mixing those with raw nuts.

Ice cream! We all scream for ice cream! Although it’s not a healthy choice, who doesn’t love a cold and creamy treat on a hot summer day? There are alternatives! If you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own.

Exercise can come in many forms. Choose the method that works best with your schedule. If you don’t have time for the gym, don’t sign up as a member, thinking you will have time later. Exercise at home! If even that seems daunting, take baby steps; literally! Take the stairs, jump in place, dance to a favorite song, walk briskly, just get up and move!

Qigong

If you have physical limitations, there are exercises you can do from a chair. Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi are also less strenuous. Just 10 minutes a day is something!

Lately I’ve been telling myself I’m too busy to do yoga. Today is a new day, and my yoga practice is startng again in a few moments. Which baby steps can you start today? Just one step leads to another.

Aging: the Change

Keep reading,  men! This is not about ” THE change ” We are discussing how changes can affect us as we age. We ALL are aging,  even children,  so this isn’t just for “older ” folks.

Think back to when we left the safety of home, routine and our caregivers to venture onto a school bus for the very first time . I think most of us had mixed feelings, including a bit of fear. When we entered the cheerful and bright atmosphere of kindergarten, our fears mostly melted away. Theoretically,  where would we be without any education? Fear wasn’t able to hold us back, as the law requires us to be educated. However, the law does not require us to make changes to age in a healthful manner, so it’s up to us to make adjustments. 

Think of our accomplishments. They all required a change; whether in habit,  attitude, financial risk, values, etc. Now, think of the aging process. We cannot change that. However,  by resisting change, we may be speeding up our physical aging. Young people should also be concerned with this. Right now, you are laying the foundation on which to build your lives.

I still encounter “older” people that resist cell phones.  That one change could save their lives in an emergency! There are also so many of us that continually have body discomfort and weight issues. We complain, half heartedly try fads, then comfort ourselves with Netflix binges and sugar. ( I’ve done this, too)

If I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone to change,  I would still be falling over in the morning due to imbalance,  crying because I hurt and unable to wear my wedding ring. 

What in your life needs to change so you may age in comfort? Are you at a loss as to where to start or what to do? Start with something small, like using Stevia in your coffee in lieu of sugar, or adding flair to your look with a new cosmetic or hair color. When we try new looks,  we do not appear dated!

The change that helped me most was being open to new scientific research on whole foods nutrition.  Now that I made that  change, I am staying stuck in those ways! You see, some things we are doing need never change!