Although everyone has different activities on their list, I’m pretty sure we all have the same goal–longevity. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to being on national television one day. No, not on “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol,” I want to see my picture on the Smucker’s jelly jar. For those who are now wondering what on earth I’m talking about, let me explain: Willard Scott, a substitute weather reporter on NBC’s “Today Show” gives a shout-out to people who have reached the ripe old age of 100, by featuring their picture on a Smucker’s jelly jar. He also reads a brief statement highlighting something special about the person being honored. Although I have a few more decades before I’ll be eligible for the spotlight and the kudos, I know I better make sure I’m doing all I can to improve my chances of making it to the show.
Realizing that it’s not enough to just make a list, we have to take action to live every day with the goal of healthy aging. However, I want my journey toward optimal health to be fun and free from stress. It also has to be much more than just Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.
As far as I’m concerned, healthy is a no-brainer. Wealthy, is being able to live comfortably without having to worry about the lack of money. Wise, at this time in my life, means trying to keep from doing dumb things, while hopefully finding a “cure” for brain fog. Also, wise enough to listen to my “body talk” and do a better job of warding off heart problems, dementia, and other conditions that seem to come along with just living.
While traveling down this Longevity Boulevard, I’m also trying to keep in mind that every set back, is a set up, for a comeback. I would love to wake up smiling and humming every morning, but I find that to be unrealistic. However, I’m thankful for the times when I do wake up anticipating a day filled with purpose and excited about the challenge of learning. I’m also striving to be the kind of woman who, when my feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, “Oh crap, she’s up!” (Perhaps you got that same email, but I would really love to be the reason for the devil’s depression.)
I dance every chance I get–at home. No need to wait to get out on a dance floor. Dancing is good for the body: it increases coördination and flexibility, reduces stress, promotes deep breathing, strengthens bones, increases muscle tone and energy levels. Just knowing that so much fun has so many health benefits makes me want to put a clap in my hands and a dance in my feet.
A sense of humor runs rampant in my family so I inherited the “laughing gene.” My son is also a recipient. Along with his positive attitude, he’s really quite witty and able to find the sunny side of life. It’s probably safe to say that most people like to laugh, so I’m sure you’ll double your dose when I tell you that laughter really is the best medicine because of all the health benefits it offers. Laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, produces “feel good” chemicals, and contributes to our well-being in many ways.
Music is another joy in my life, sometimes resulting in a torrent of happy tears. I listen to music and sing as often as possible, even in stores when I think nobody can see or hear me. It releases brain chemicals to lower blood pressure, fight insomnia, manage pain, reduce stress and depression. It helps us function physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Three years ago I started taking piano lessons again, but this time because of the bucketful of wonderful benefits. It’s a joy playing the piano now, but I sure hated it when I was a little scrawny, helpless reluctant kid, forced to take lessons against my will. (I thought it was child abuse.)
Even before getting out of bed I do stretching exercises to get the blood flowing. Walking is a big part of my daily regimen, even if it’s just walking at a steady pace in the house or while shopping at Walmart. You’ll often find me having fun trying to throw strikes with about 200 of my closest friends at the bowling lanes, come rain or come shine.
This “About” page is where you usually learn about the author’s background, but I kinda veered off course by telling you what I’m doing now while aiming for longevity and healthy aging. However, what I was supposed to say can be summed up in less than 40 seconds, here goes: After college, I left my home state of New York to visit Denver, Colorado just to see what it was like–ended up staying there for a lifetime. I lived in Spain for over a year, and saw what it was like. I had to move to North Carolina, where my mother showed me what Alzheimer’s is like.
I have been a medical technologist, job counselor, and computer instructor. As a receptionist, I stepped up on the corporate ladder of the First National Bank of Denver (First of Denver) and climbed to the top. There, I was promoted to an Assistant Vice President and Director of Community Affairs responsible for corporate philanthropy. Even though it wasn’t my money, I felt good giving that money to well-deserving community organizations.
Well, I’m pulling for you to make it to the jelly jar age, and I hope you stop by here often and leave informed, inspired and motivated. Can’t wait to hear about your journey. There’s plenty of room for you to “talk” in the comment section at the end each post.
Oh yea, my brief statement on TV will read, “She’s still kicking up her heels and she continues adding to her bucket list!”
You’re never too old to play like a kid!
- New England Medical Journal