Saturday, March 11, 2017

More advice from an old-er lady

I had dinner the other night with my godson and his wife. He had just finished a session at his muay thai gym. They started telling me about this old woman who had won a tournament and I asked how old she was. They answered, "Oh, about 52." And I went, "Excuse me?" and rolled my eyes. We had a good laugh about that but I guess that's how younger people perceive older folk. I'm heading into my sixties and while I'll admit that I'm getting older, I'm not old.

 I do feel like I've seen quite a bit of life and experienced a lot of things others wouldn't have, so I do have some advice to share with the younger generation. Like learning to laugh at all the curve balls life throws at you. I've been fired, sacked, made redundant, given the boot - whatever you want to call it - more than once. Some people would think it was the end of the world, and yes, it was a jolt each time it happened because after all, I was the sole breadwinner raising my son on my own. But I would always think to myself, "It's only money," and go out again and find work, whatever work I could lay my hands on.

So every time some misfortune hit, I would remind myself that there were people out there with problems much bigger than mine. I'm naturally a serious person, but I've learned over the years not to take life too seriously. My one regret is spending too much time in college on my studies. Going to school right in the heart of New York, I should have gone out more and enjoyed myself! Now I'm not saying to go all crazy and not be responsible, but life is too short. It really is. You never know when you're going to go, so make the most of your time here.
Now on to more practical stuff. Take care of your body. You only have one and most parts can't be replaced. If you abuse your body repeatedly, like by not exercising, eating poorly, drinking too much or not getting enough sleep, at some time your body is going to retaliate. I do remember feeling when I was young that I was immortal. I did all the things that old wives warn you against, like washing my hair right after giving birth and eating all kinds of "cooling" fruit. The Chinese believe that "wind" will permeate through your bones if you did things like that. I disregarded all that advice. Now my joints ache, especially when it's cold and wet. Believe what you will - I regret not listening to my mother!

A piece of advice that may not be as profound but equally important - floss regularly. It not only prevents dental problems later in our lives, but plaque can create havoc in our arteries and heart as well.

Advice I regularly share with younger women - drink milk, especially in your teenage years, because calcium can only be built up in your body in those years, and no matter how much you try to replenish it later, it won’t work. Now when many of my female friends have bone density problems, I’m grateful that my mother forced me to drink a glass of milk every day growing up. Tests have shown that I still have the bones of a teenager!

Another piece of practical advice - use sunblock. I came of age in the seventies where we would sunbathe while slathering our bodies with suntanning oil! Just to achieve that bronzed look that we thought gave out the picture of health. Of course I got horribly sunburned multiple times. Today, I have moles creeping out of my pores and I have to have them checked for melanomas. In the last ten years or so, I have faithfully used sunblock but sun damage has already ruined my complexion.

I am profoundly grateful that I have made it this far in life. I still enjoy my food and sleep soundly at night. My bones may creak but I can still walk and climb the stairs. I may be older but no, I am not old. Yet.

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