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At Your Age? You May Be Slowing Down but Stay Active and Fit So You Can Enjoy the Rest of Your Life

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At Your Age? You May Be Slowing Down but Stay Active and Fit So You Can Enjoy the Rest of Your Life

My husband, Lyle was impatiently lamenting how we seemed to catch every red traffic light this morning.

“You are getting a message from the universe that you need to slow down”, I told him. “I’m doing the speed limit”, says he. “No, you need to slow down in life”, says me. “I can’t go any slower; I’ll be p….ing off the drivers behind me, says he. “Duh!”, says me (under my breath). “No darling, the universe is telling you, you need to slow down, be calmer, less stressed”, I attempt to explain my take on the message to him that he seemed to be missing. “Ah”, says he and miraculously (no lie) we cruise through the next two sets of green lights without slowing down, and then we hit another red one. “You only got half the message”, said I.

This morning’s experience demonstrates the conundrum we face while trying to balance slowing down when facing retirement and keeping fit, healthy and active.

There is no one size fits all answer to this. The typical response is almost always diet and exercise-related; eat well, exercise regularly and keep your brain active. I’ve read so many articles on what to eat, which exercises to do and how to keep the brain busy that I have been almost crippled with indecision.

It’s all about finding the balance, right?  There is no point living another 20 years if they are going to be miserable because you’ve been too rigid with your diet, brain and physical exercise routine. Life is meant to be lived after all. Right? Well, I think it’s more about finding what makes you happy, what keeps you motivated and inspired to get up in the morning. Find that, and you’ll find yourself eating better, exercising more and working that brain of yours without trying so hard.

I remember one of my work colleagues telling me years ago, “You try to hard Desley, just relax.” But it took a while for me to get the message! I was too busy trying ‘too hard’ to find the thing that would make me enough money to be able to afford to retire! I realise now that if I haven’t got it now, then I am not going to spend the rest of my life trying ‘too hard’ to get it.

I’ve also realised that perhaps it wasn’t the money I was ever really after as I can have the life I want with or without ‘the money’ so now I’m just focussing on the joy of living and learning. I have always enjoyed discovering and learning new things and have dabbled on the fringe of alternative health therapies for as long as I can remember, yet, I never really devoted time, until recently, to finding something that I could put more time and effort into learning, in more depth than dabbling; I’ve discovered Transcendental Meditation. I love the sound of it and love what I’ve read so far about it. I want to know more, and I think I could get deeper into it to the point where it will help me slow down and keep fit, healthy and active. It ticks a few boxes for me. It will make me happy learning all about it; I will be preoccupied with this in my spare time, so much so, that I won’t be looking for junk food to fill in the gaps. If it continues to tantalise me to the point that I take on some structured learning, I’ll probably go so far as to share my knowledge and experience with others.

Diet, tick. Brain exercise, tick. Now I just need to cover additional physical exercise. We love camping, and I love walking through gardens. We’ll be doing quite a bit more camping and walking as we wind down, so physical exercise, tick.

Sound too simple?

It really isn’t that hard. I’m not trying to be Olympic standard fit, have Einstein’s brain or limit my food intake to 100% healthy food only; I just want to be fit, healthy and alert enough to enjoy a certain level of quality life, until death.

Choose what is important to you. Find the thing that’s been tugging at the fringe of your life forever; the thing you’re ‘gonna do’ that you never get time to do. That thing that has never gone away; tease it out, explore it and learn more about it. It may just be the thing that slows you down.

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