“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”
As my 50th birthday approaches, instead of feeling old, I feel grateful. Now, I know that 50 isn’t exactly old, but it is a milestone. Halfway to 100, smack dab in the middle of the middle age category. Not young, but not old. So how do I face this time in my life.
My soul feels young, but sometimes my body feels old. I’m getting mixed signals. My mind says “yes, you can!” My body says “do it and you’ll regret it…” As a grandparent, I want to be as young and energetic as possible to enjoy the time with my children and grandchildren to the fullest.
Some of us are still young enough to be working full-time, still keeping up with the 30 and 40 year olds in the workplace. After work socializing seems to diminish, as we appreciate an earlier dinner and bedtime. (My children laugh at me when I text them goodnight at 8:00pm). We feel our bodies slowing down a bit. Do we embrace it and fight it? I’m on the fence about this subject. Let me explain.
Embracing the typical “slow down” is not really a full stop. I became a mom at a young age, therefore I’m also a young-ish grandmother. I’ve been raising kids for over 30 years and been a grandmother for 11 years. Not only my own, but also step-children, neighborhood children, and being a teacher, I’ve helped raise many other children. I’m tired. So a little bit of a slower pace is welcome. On the other hand, I still feel very young and motivated. I have new ideas, plans, thoughts, goals and dreams! I’m not done yet.
I wake up each morning with gratitude. I’m grateful for the slower pace of life I can enjoy now and I’m grateful I still have that mental attitude to do more! I enjoy drinking my coffee in the morning while petting my cats, or sitting on my porch watching the birds at the feeder. Then I continue my morning routine with 30 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes of yoga, stretching and meditation. It is my desire, and promise to myself, as well as my children and grandchildren, to strive to stay as healthy in mind and body for as long as I possibly can.
Taking care of ourselves is vital to enjoying our older years. Of course, there are some things that are out of our control. Fate has a way of making it’s path known, regardless of our efforts.
My oldest brother, Jack passed away at the very young age of 56. I didn’t live close to him for many years. I didn’t know his daily life, habits or routines. He was always a perfect picture of health, as I remembered him. High school quarter back, over 6 feet tall, solid muscle. He always had a smile and a positive disposition. Calm and peaceful, my gentle giant big brother. He lived in Las Vegas, NV and worked a lot. That’s all I really knew. He developed brain cancer that took his life in less than 6 months.
A beautiful life, cut short. A mother and father, a lovely wife, 2 sons and 2 granddaughters a brother and 2 sisters left behind. I often think of him and wonder what his daily life was like. Could there have been steps to prevent this or was it just fate. Did he take the time to enjoy the “slow-down” that he should have? There are many things we can do to help our bodies age gracefully. Medical sciences are advancing daily. I know they have a role in extreme healthcare needs, but I believe we need to take a step back and listen to our roots.
I’m talking about natural medicine. It’s not necessarily a pill, tincture or ointment. It comes from deep inside each one of us. Our minds and bodies are more powerful than we give them credit to be. We have to ability to prevent certain maladies and heal ourselves.
Move. Breathe. Stretch. Meditate. Rest. Slow down. Read. Minimize.
Lift weights. Sweat. Walk. Travel. Stay up late to socialize. Stay up even later to make love.
Eat healthy, but also enjoy that occasional treat, and daily glass of wine.
Embrace the effort that you put into your dreams and hard work, but don’t forget to love yourself. This is the time in our lives to love ourselves more than ever! It’s okay to put yourself first now. We have been raising children, managing households and paying bills for many years. I know for myself, at that time in my life, I wasn’t taking the time I should have for myself.
So, now as grandparents, we need to take our mental and physical health into our own hands. Strive to be as healthy, energetic and alert as we can, for as long as this life allows. Get up and power-walk those 5 miles, cool down and do the yoga. Feed your mind with good books and conversations with friends. Meditate and be grateful. We are as old, or young as we allow ourselves to be. Take care of you.
This is dedicated to my brother, with love. Jackie Don Morris, Jr.