Woke up fresh this morning but everything gets a bit jumbled by this time of day (5pm). It’s hard to maintain clarity.
I have been known to meditate from time to time (I once went for nearly 6 months meditating every day – that was last year as we were preparing to sell our previous house – it was very useful) but I’ve let the habit lapse. If I’m to reclaim the calm I need to delve into these creative crannies I may need to think about regaining the ritual. It would be another beneficial side effect of this challenge. I shall think on’t.
I know the thought that came into my mind as I woke this morning regarding today’s topic was something about age and health… but the note I wrote to myself in my little black book, as I take a look now, is just too obscure and I’m not sure what I was getting at: “How do we cope with the modern world? (Grandad) My perspective.”… Any idea what I was thinking about? Nope. [Note to self: write more detail]
I’ll riff on something similar…
Health is quite high on my list of priorities these days. Especially after the events of a couple of years ago (I’ll get to that) and it astonishes me that I am actually feeling healthier (and am healthier), in many ways, than I have done or been for quite some time. It’s a bit of a cliché that when we’re young we think ourselves invincible and/or immortal. I actually think that when we are old enough to comprehend death (teenage years?) we are well aware of our mortality, it just doesn’t seem to bother us very much. This can lead to carelessness as we move through the decades.
From my perspective, and with my experience, I can now look back with horror at my assumption that I really didn’t need to adjust my diet or exercise level much beyond what I was already doing as I travelled from mid-forties to mid-fifties. But I now see how mistaken I was. It seems obvious now – our bodies function in a way that requires more care in order to thrive as they age.
[Let me just add here the disclaimer that this may not be true for everyone – I don’t want to be setting down rules and saying that at ‘this’ age you should be doing ‘such-and-such’. I’m well aware that genes differ from person to person and don’t doubt some of you may have heard stories of ‘old Uncle Albert’ who lived to 91 and smoked a packet of cigarettes a day… You know how much I hate the kind of dogma that seeks to dictate.]
I do know that as I moved through my fifties I felt myself getting more sluggish. My body… how shall I put this?… was not functioning at peak level (and honestly hadn’t been for many years). I was not overweight, my cholesterol levels were only high normal. I seemed fine – hey, I was in my mid fifties, it was natural to begin to slow down.
I hurt my knee doing yoga mid 2012. Turns out I had a torn meniscus, but it took several months to diagnose and I didn’t have surgery until May of 2013.
I did no exercise at all in those months… none at all. And yet I ate as I had done before (didn’t add weight though) and just sat behind the microphone every day. So… come September my knee felt healed enough to allow me to start jogging again but as I pressed up hills, after only a short distance, I encountered the classic chest pain… Now it sounds obvious and you’d think I’d have shot off to the hospital to see what was up… but, no. It’s not like that. I found all sorts of excuses for what it could have been and decided I’d check on it later (I was also down in SoCal at the time and my primary physician was up near San Francisco). Seriously – you think you’d know the danger signs immediately? Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
To try to wrap it up I’ll just say that when I finally went in to my doctor in December 2013 it was found that I had a 90% blockage in my main coronary artery and 70% in the other two. I was ‘this’ close to a major event. They put stents in the one artery and I went 100% vegan immediately (Google ‘Dr. Esselstyn’ – How to reverse heart disease – Oh look, click here, I did it for you!) and lost 30lbs over the next two months (which has stayed off).
Right now I am not entirely vegan, just mostly so. I eat meat and fish occasionally. I take a very small dose of statins a couple of times a week and apart from that (and a multi-vitamin and low dose aspirin) I take no other drugs.
Here’s the main thing though – by eating well and mindfully my quality of life is much improved. My body is functioning better than it has in decades. I run several times a week and have a rowing machine out back. I rarely ever feel the same sluggishness I felt back then and life is good!
There’s a little extra work involved in choosing food and exercise – but it’s better than the alternative…
Will I live forever?…Hmmm….I doubt it. But longer than I would have done had I not ‘woken up’.