99 Years Old and Looking Back

I have to swallow hard when I refer to the song, “100 Years” by Vladimir John Ondrasik III, known by his stage name, “Five for Fighting,” as an “oldie.”


I mean, after all, a song released in 2003 should not fall in that category; it’s a description meant for The Everly Brothers or The Beach Boys. Nonetheless, if the Earth Shoe fits…

Sorry, I got distracted… back to the issue at hand…

“100 Years” is an amazingly powerful song.

If you don’t have it cued up on your iTunes playlist right now, let me sum it up. Each of us gets 100 years to live, and during that period we go through various stages. The poignant lingering lyrics guide us through those times, beginning at 15 (“There’s still time for you…”) and progressing all the way to 99 (“Time for just another moment…”). So poignant are the words that there’s a webpage to discuss the interpretation. (I don’t make any commission on its purchase nor am I affiliated with Mr. Ondrasik, but it’s worth your time to check out the song.)

My interpretation is that each of us given the gift of one century, which passes in the “blink of an eye.”

So, imagine you live exactly, to the day, 100 years. (In my case, that would mean I exit on September 28, 2054.) Take it to your last day and then back it off to one day before you’re gone; see yourself at 99 years, 364 days old. By sunset tomorrow, you will be no more; you have gathered all the knowledge and wisdom possible in this lifetime. You are completed.

Now suppose that 99-year-old-You could send a message back to the Current-You, right here, right now, reading these words.

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Take Time to be Alone

dream-written-in-sand

Take time to be alone more often than you think you need to.

One of the prime triggers in engaging in a bad habit is looking for a way to give to yourself, especially if you’ve been very busy and overwhelmed.  When we don’t take time for ourselves, we end up “rewarding” ourselves with our habits. It’s a way of taking care of ourselves in the moment, but it doesn’t feel so great when we’re done.

If you want to improve the chances you’ll stay on program and you won’t suffer from a “guilt dessert,” take a few minutes to be alone every day; long enough to decompress.

It doesn’t have to be very long, just long enough to get yourself centered.

By the way, “alone” is not “lonely” – unless you choose to make it so.

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I Think Therefore I Become

Next to my bed is a nightstand.

man-in-bed-in-bedroom

I presume that is a common arrangement in many bedrooms. Upon the shelf of the nightstand are many books; this too I assume is widespread.

Like me, I take for granted that many people have three categories of books populating their nightstands:

Some wait to be read. While at a bookstore, the concept between its covers was so striking that I plunked down money, thinking, “I will read that someday.” Alas, “someday” has yet to make its appearance. Being optimistic, I’m sure it will (probably about the same time as when “I get my act together”).

The second classification is books started but still unfinished. Maybe I lost interest, the story was not as expected, or simply “life kicked in.” I could give them away but feel like I betrayed them, (does co-dependence apply to books?) so I pledge to finish reading them in the future. Until that fateful moment, they too shall gather dust.

Finally comes the definitive category: Books completed. Residing here include authors such as Robert B. Parker, Dean Koonz, and Roger McBride Allen. Most are novels because I like to “escape.” However, there is one self-help book I have read over and over again. Although I do not buy into everything she says, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay is infused with 210 pages of brilliantly simple wisdom (usually the best kind).

Hay’s philosophy, outlined in the foreword, includes:

  • We are each responsible for our experiences
  • Resentment, criticism, and guilt are damaging, and
  • It’s only a thought, which can be changed.

Furthermore, says Hay, feelings are “thoughts that stick.”

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Anchors A-Weight

There are “big picture” and “smaller picture” health choices.

heart-with-graphA lump in one’s breast is “big picture.” Finding time to take a walk or choosing between deep fried or grilled chicken could be classified, “smaller picture.” Granted making enough wise “smaller picture” health choices is a “big picture” issue in the end. However for discussion sake, “big picture” issues are beyond the control of the every-person, requiring action without delay. “Smaller picture” issues provide choice and possess the luxury of time.

So, although lowering my sodium intake today, a smaller picture issue, will not have a direct affect in the immediate, it could – over time — determine whether or not I get high blood pressure and a stroke, a definite “big picture” issue.

The “big picture” is made of infinite “small pictures.”

“Big pictures” require more knowledge to correct than do “small pictures.” As example, no one has the wherewithal to preform self-administered angioplasty after suffering a myocardial infarction. Conversely, when it comes to the “small picture,” we usually possess enough understanding to know what to do. It doesn’t take a cardio surgeon’s expertise to know that a deep dish, 12-meat-special, 24-inch pizza infused with gooey, dripping, cheese crust is not as healthy as a veggie stir-fry. One need not be an Olympic athlete to recognize that a morning walk is healthier that catching up with gossip on “The View.” Even non-scholars comprehend that reading is a superior way to relax than is the third martini.

We appreciate these to be true. Moreover, unlike “big picture” decisions, we maintain control over our decisions and actions.

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Find Fun Ways To Move More

happy-woman-walking-with-walker

If you’re able to walk, find excuses to do so.

Don’t worry about how far nor how long; just find a way to move your body a little further.

If you can’t walk, stand up for a few minutes each hour. If you can’t stand, move your arms and hold in your stomach.

Not only does getting out of your chair help you stay (or get) fit, but it burns a few calories, it reduces bone loss, and it holds back a myriad of diseases.

And remember it’s virtually impossible to feel sad or angry when walking briskly.

(Try it the next time you’re upset. You’ll see that’s correct.)

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