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Three years ago my husband, daughter and I spent the winter with my family on Vancouver Is. The Island is jokingly referred to as a place for “Newly Weds and Nearly Dead,” The beauty and moderate climate makes it a desirable place for both honeymooners and retirees.
What I found amazing wasn’t only the arresting beauty of the Island, but the energy and vitality of the people who lived there. Demographics show, the largest population living on the Island are 55 and older. They weren’t the run of the mill senior or the stereotype we associate with older folks; someone forgot to tell them they were old.
Sure some have health problems; but what surprised me was their attitude, their wit, their spunk. More than once, gutsy seniors zoomed past us on their scooters cutting in front of us on busy, slippery intersections. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a little old lady with a determined look on her face give her scooter a shot, propelling her off the sidewalk at full throttle; racing down the congested road at ten miles an hour. Cars pull to the side as she parts the way. A speed demon; a geriatric Easy Rider; she’s king of the road and loving it.
They display the same enthusiasm and determination with everything they tackle. It’s hard to beat them at Bridge, Chess, Back Gamma, Scrabble or any board game. Seniors race in marathons, they sail boats, kayak, bike, ski, dance, swim, hike and climb. They love going to theaters, play golf, paint and write. They’re never bored; there’s too much to do; their calendar’s always full.
The life span is longer for people who live in Vancouver Island than any other place in Canada. Through my observations I concluded it was the state of mind that contributed to their longevity. If you take care of your mind, your mind will take care of your body.
The wonderful news is that anyone can achieve this state of mind. Everyone can start right now to reinvent themselves. Think outside the box; forget what everyone told you about old age. If you think you’re old, you’ll become old.
* Nutrition– Try to eat healthy. Even on a budget, like so many seniors are, you can still eat nutritiously. Buy just the basics such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains etc. Remember the five essential vitamins that help you stay young. They’re easy to remember, they are the first five letters in the alphabet, A,B,C,D and E. To ensure you get your optimum nutrition, fortify your diet with these supplements.
* Exercise- Just as you have to keep your heart and lungs strong, you have to keep the blood circulating in your brain, to keep it fresh and energized. If you don’t move, it becomes tired, sluggish and forgetful. Go for a walk, or swim. In colder months when weather doesn’t allow outdoor activities, go to the mall. You don’t have to shop, but it is a great place to walk and meet people, go for coffee etc. As long as you get out of the house and move.
* Socialize- Get out, make new friends, play cards, go to the theater. If you’re a shut-in, I highly recommend you get a computer. If you can’t afford one, give subtle hints to a relative, or buy a second hand one. They are less expensive now and would open up a whole new world for you. You can make friends around the world that have the same interests as you. Have a virtual coffee with them as you visit and chat. You can join the many bloggers out there and write your own blog. You can even go to school and earn a degree on the web. You can also play games, read books, shop . . . the possibilities are endless through the computer. Your brain won’t have a chance to rest; it’s having too much fun.
* Attitude– Attitude is everything. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t think of things as they might have been. Don’t stop reaching for your dreams because you think you’re too old to achieve them. Today is the first day of the BEST of your life. Your children are grown, you’re retired and possibly have a little money set aside. You have all the time in the world to indulge yourself. Now is the time to do what you’ve always put off, no one can stop you but you. Live laugh and love and most of all enjoy your life. You only go around once, make the most of it.
As always, consult your Doctor before making changes in your diet, or any exercise routine.