Category Archives: Staying Young

Too Old

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Lately I’ve been battling the feeling that my opportunities are slipping away and that I’m quickly approaching the “Too Old” category to begin to pursue my dreams. I know it’s not true, but emotions can get the best of us despite knowing better.

I am a Gen-X’er. Right smack in the middle of the Gen X generation as a matter of fact.  We grew up on the heels of the extremely large Boomer generation and were trailed by the equally large Gen Y. When we became young adults, ready to begin careers and make a mark on this world the Boomer generation was nowhere near ready to retire. They made it abundantly clear that they would not be making room for us as anytime soon.  We were patient and we found a way to wait it out. Now as Boomers are finally beginning to come to terms with retirement Gen Y is hitting the work force and they come with their own expectations of their place in the work force.

For a long time we were told by Boomers that we were just too young and needed to wait our turn and now we’re told by Gen Y that we are getting too old and no longer have a place, that it’s their turn to run the show.

Add this to the usual middle age angst and you can understand why we may be tempted to think we missed the boat. I know we haven’t. I know I haven’t. But knowing something and feeling it are not one and the same.  So while I keep putting one foot in front of the other and pursuing my dreams I battle despair trying to tell me it’s too late.

This morning I was listening to Rick Warren’s podcast Daily Hope when he mentioned Caleb of Old Testament Bible fame (Joshua 14:6-15). When Caleb was 40 he was ready to take his inheritance, live his dream and build a legacy, but others were not convinced. As a result an entire generation ended up missing out on their dreams and their calling and all except 2 (Caleb and Joshua) died without achieving what they could have. Forty plus years later Caleb got to see his dreams fulfilled and achieve his goals.

Caleb was ready at 40 but he didn’t get to see it happen till 85. I can only imagine what he must have felt in those 45 years between. Disappointment and frustration because even though he was ready and willing to move ahead he was held back by other people’s unwillingness to move forward.  Perhaps he even felt frustration as he watched a new generation grow up and have ideas about what the future would be like and those ideas didn’t mesh with Caleb’s real life experience. Discouragement at how long it was taking and how much longer it would still be.  Doubt about whether or not he would actually be able to do it when the time came. Perhaps he would no longer be heeded as a leader. Perhaps no one would follow him and would instead tell him to, “Get out of the way old man!”

Caleb had so many opportunities to let his dream die in those 45 years, but he didn’t. In the middle years, in those horrendously long waiting years Caleb kept himself strong and fit. He kept his dream alive and he prepared for the day that would come, must come. He was ready when those 45 years were up. I wonder if he was a little giddy, maybe even having to stifle laughter at the funeral of the last member of the nay-sayers group.  It was time to go and get on with it and Caleb did not wait to declare he was ready, willing and able.

I admit I’m still in the middle years. I can just see the dream on the horizon and the naysayers in my life are dying off. It’s almost time to go and live that dream so while doubt and discouragement, fear and disappointment may try to make me give up, I’m going to do what Caleb did. I’m going to make sure I’m fit and strong, capable and able both physically and spiritually. I’m going to work on building my strength, developing my understanding and planning the legacy.

I’ll be honest, I’m really praying I don’t have to wait till I’m 85! What I do know is that if something was promised to me, if I have a calling to live and a legacy to leave then when the right time comes, when the waiting is over, if I’ve prepared, kept strong and done my part to be ready my age won’t matter. Neither will yours.

Prepare, stay strong and build strength. Develop your understanding and grow in wisdom. Then get ready.  Maybe you too will have to stifle laughter at a funeral!

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Forever Young

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If I am the least bit honest with myself I will admit that I am very good at looking at myself through wishful thinking lenses. When I look in the mirror I don’t see what I look like, I see myself as I imagine I look. No, I’m not pretending to be younger, I just feel younger and maybe even think younger in some ways. It seems I am not the only one guilty of wishful thinking.

Baby Boomers have been rewriting the rules from the moment they appeared on the scene so it is no surprise that they want to feel younger, live longer and have more energy throughout their retirement years. A positive outlook can serve us in our lives, but when it comes to health it turns out Boomers may just need to work harder at it then they thought. According to this Vancouver Sun article baby boomers may not be as healthy as they think they are and their dreams of healthy, long lives enjoying travel and basking in their freedom may be threatened. And they’re probably not the only ones.

Let’s face it, we are all guilty of overestimating our health and fitness.  So what can we do?

Make sure you get a realistic assessment of your health and then take active steps to improve it.

1. Maintain a healthy weight. No, not the perfect figure or number on a scale, but a healthy weight for your body frame. This reduces the risk for a number of diseases that may not show up until later in life. A better way to track your weight is by waist size. Experts recommend women have a waist no larger than 35 inches, aiming for 32.5 inches or less. Men you want to be under 40 inches in waist size, aiming for 37.5 inches or less.Waist size of over 35 inches for women and over 40 inches for men is associated with higher risk for things like Type 2 Diabetes.*

2. Get nourished. Eat well balanced meals and snacks to feed your cells the nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong for a long life. Avoid fad diets and eat enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, yes FATS! Your body needs them all. You don’t need a PhD in nutrition and you don’t need to break the bank. A simple rule of thumb: shop the outside aisles of the grocery store and avoid the middle. The less processed the food the better.

3. Supplement wisely. It’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb that counts. It would be great if we could get all our needs met through our food, but in a world where food is rarely allowed to ripen on the vine before it is picked, shipped and sold supplementing may be the only way to ensure you get everything you need. Choose the supplements wisely. Many bargain brands are not bargains when you realize the supplements do not break down in your digestive tract before they are eliminated. In other words you may as well place them directly in the bowl and flush! I recently did an experiment on my calcium supplements and placed a pill in a cold glass of water. To my surprise bubbles began to appear within seconds and within 10 minutes the pill was completely dissolved. That’s one supplement I know is being absorbed in my body! I highly recommend Arbonne’s vegan certified Essentials line for supplementing. If you’re going to spend money on supplements make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

4. Water does a body good. Unless you landed in the western hemisphere today you’ve probably heard the 8 glasses of water rule. Truth is that a hard and fast rule may not serve everyone well. Make sure you drink enough to not feel thirsty and then probably add one or two glasses. Unsweetened tea counts. Avoid sugary drinks, drinks with artificial sweeteners and anything that has more calories than your meal. A great rule of thumb is don’t drink your day’s worth of calories, eat them!

5. Move your body. Our bodies were designed for motion. They don’t like being inactive and begin to seize up and stiffen when we don’t move. Use it or lose it couldn’t be truer. You don’t need to sign up for the latest class, commit to a gym membership or buy expensive equipment. Just add brisk walking to your day and you’re on your way to improving your health. If you need a measuring stick then choose 30 minutes of brisk activity, or 10,000 steps (use a pedometer) or start simply by parking farther away from the entrance, using the stairs instead of the elevator and walking around while you are on the phone.  Activity does not have to be complicated to benefit your health.

Start with one of the above and once you’ve mastered it and made it a habit move on and add another. Experts say it takes either 21 consecutive days to create a new habit while others say it takes 40 days. Whichever it is it takes a conscious effort before it becomes a habit. So don’t give up. With a little bit of effort you really can make sure you are healthy enough to enjoy the plans and dreams you are making for your future.

Your turn: I’d love to know if you’re taking steps to live a healthy life no matter your age. What is your one big tip for staying healthy for life?

* Source: I Can Do This Diet, Don Colbert, MD, 2010 Published by Siloam, A Strang Company, Florida