Sunday, November 24, 2013

Old & Well

This month I turned 60. Happy birthday to me!

I am officially old.

As a young person, I never imagined myself this old. I remember wondering in my late teens what life would be like when I reached my 40s-- entered the mystical and wondrous 21st Century where hover-cars were a normal part of life and the sky was mucked up with smog pollution and we were routinely travelling back and forth to Mars and locations beyond.

Funny how everything has changed, and yet stayed pretty much the same.

Anyway, here I am, feeling more like 30 than 60-- in my mind, at least. I have a few more aches and pains now than I had a few decades back, but overall, I'm doing pretty well.

So, what do my 60s have in store for me? Statistics are not my friend. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention), 28% of women over the age of 65 have diabetes, and over 69% suffer from hypertension. Forty percent are obese. The leading causes of death in people aged 65 and over are heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease. My life expectancy at 65 is a little over 20 years.

So far I'm doing pretty darned good against the stats as far as ailments are concerned.  And regarding life expectancy, I have some hardy folk in my family line, so I may even squeak out a few extra years beyond the potential twenty-five. After all, my dad's "on borrowed time" at 88, and my great grandparents lived into their nineties. But, realistically, I'm in my last trimester, so to speak.

There's not too much I can do about how long I live, but there are things I can do about how well I live. As they say, it's not nearly as much about how old you are as it is about how old you feel!

So what am I doing to protect my quality of life and feel as young as possible for as long as possible?

  • Paying attention to nutrition-- My diet is as free as possible of processed foods. I cook mostly from "scratch" using organic ingredients, whole fruits and vegetables, and pastured meats. I try to keep my sugar consumption to a minimum and I cook with mostly saturated and monounsaturated fats like butter, coconut oil, tallow and olive oil. I read labels and avoid additives.
  • Making an effort to keep moving-- (although I know I don't get enough exercise) My home is a two-story townhouse and I am up and down the stairs multiple times a day. I also make a point to get up from my desk several times an hour at work. I incorporate an hour of Yoga into my day about twice a week, and make a point to stretch often throughout the day -- every day.
  • Avoiding products made from chemicals-- I try to follow the adage, "don't put anything ON your body you wouldn't put IN your body." My moisturizers are made by me using a combination of tallow, coconut oil, olive oil, and essential oils. The soaps I buy are made from natural ingredients, my laundry detergent is free of chemicals, and so on. 
  • As often as possible, I opt for natural remedies-- My cold medicine is echinacea, elderberry syrup and lots of vitamin C and D3. For headaches, the first thing I reach for is turmeric (2 capsules usually does the trick pretty quickly).

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't give credit where credit is due-- and that is the blessings of God. It is He who has granted me my good health. I treasure it and consider it a gift. The most important thing I am doing to care for my health is spiritual...
  • Reducing stress. Yes, reducing stress is spiritual. One of the most significant risk factors in heart disease is stress. Not only that, but research suggests that prayer has a significant impact in the recovery of cancer patients. (Imagine that!) Putting ones faith in God has the power of reducing worry which reduces stress. Lower stress produces a calmer, happier and healthier person.

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"  
Jesus Christ  (Luke 12:25-26)

As we enter the Thanksgiving Week, may we be reminded of our blessings, and acknowledge their source.

Young or old, may we make good choices in our health and realize that all that we have is by the grace and providence of God.