In my younger years, staying healthy, to me, actually meant looking healthy. My favorite exercise was walking. Sometimes I would walk at least 5 miles a day either on the treadmill or in the park. I was constantly dieting, measuring my waistline, and switching from one health fad to the next.
After years of this (you know, when I grew up), I finally realized that whole “beauty on the inside” thing was way more important than looks. Not to mention, what was the point of looking healthy if I wasn’t feeling healthy? Exercising? Yeah, I was on the right track with that. Dieting? Eh…probably not as much. Emotionally and spiritually? Well, that may have needed some work.
But therein lies the true beauty of growing older: wisdom.
As I’ve aged, I have learned how to maintain the healthy balance that I only aspired to appear in my younger years.
It’s important to maintain a healthy balance. Meditation deepens one’s self-awareness and strengthens self-esteem and acceptance. It empties our minds in order to let the good stuff in. At night I do guided meditation to help me relax. I practice slowing down and deep breathing to deal with stress.
Spiritually nourishes us in a deep place, provides us with a sense of meaning and purpose, and brings us home to ourselves to be better people. I read the Bible daily.
In addition, there are audiobooks, tapes, and spiritual music to soothe one’s soul.
When my mood starts to get a little low I find that it helps to be around positive, healthy spiritual people. Just being outside and enjoying the sunlight helps to lift my spirits. An hour spent in a park walking, listening to nature, and looking at ducks in the water can be uplifting. The joy of getting out of myself by helping another person is the biggest reward of all.
Sometimes, I use slogans that I’ve pasted on my wall or countertop. One is H.A.L.T. Or: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. This simple word has a large impact on my life. When I ask myself what I’ve eaten today, whether I was angry about something, whether I was too isolated, whether I got proper rest—then I can see what I need to improve. I used to keep this posted on my bulletin board in front of my desk when I worked. It proved to be my measuring stick for a better healthy balance.
Now that I’m entering my senior years, I’m grateful for life’s experiences. I understand that there is no one quick fix to being healthy. It does not come in pill form. It can not come in one visit to a place of worship; or a one-time visit to the gym.
Instead, it takes daily practice and the willingness to live. When that last day arrives I want to look back and be able to say, “life was a challenge but I did the best that I could to contribute to the meaning of my life and the lives of others.”
With age comes that wonderful part of our life called WISDOM.
Originally published October 03, 2023