Thursday, November 12, 2009
It was my birthday yesterday, and I'm feeling great (despite the fact that the stomach flu is making the rounds in our household -- so far only through the male population!).
True, I'm another year older, but strangely, that does not bother me at all. I don't feel old, even though now I am as close as I can get to the big 5-0 without actually being there yet!
Here's a photo of moi, taken by hubby when we went blueberry-picking this fall. I usually don't like to have my picture taken, as I'm not photogenic at all. But on that particular beautiful fall day, I didn't mind him clicking away...
I'm a really lucky person: I've got a loving family, good health, and live in a really nice place!
I know that it's more luck than earned -- luck to have met and married a wonderful man (I suppose I can take some credit for having at least been at least a decent enough person) , genetic luck in that I have not inherited lousy DNA, and luck that the winds blew our little family to Alaska (the last great frontier!)
What makes me ponder this right now is that I recently received a real good rating when I applied for life insurance -- I got a clean bill of health! Apparently my health history and blood results indicate that I'm at a low risk to keel over from a heart attack anytime soon.
I can thank my parents for good genes -- on my father's side everybody seems to live well into their 80's without any heart problems, cancer, diabetes or Alzheimers. Watch out kids, you may not see any of that life insurance money for at least 30 years!
I'm truly lucky to be healthy. Besides inheriting healthy genes, I suppose I can take a little credit for a reasonably healthy lifestyle. What does that involve? What helps is not smoking or drinking (I do enjoy a glass of wine or beer a couple of times a week, however), sleeping well and not having a stressful life or job, eating reasonably healthy foods, and staying active.
I'm no sports nut, and certainly don't run marathons. But I do manage to be active everyday -- it may not seem much, but at a minimum, I guess I easily get those minimum recommended 20-30 minutes of light aerobic exercise every day. Most days that's just simply walking (lots), but it might also be gardening, snow shoveling or yoga.
Food is something everybody seems to be focused on these days, or even posessed by. Yes, I try to eat reasonably healthy, but I'm no health nut, either. In fact, I have a pretty healthy appetite: I eat a lot, and I have never really gone on a "diet". I'm not skinny, but not overweight either. But I do watch what I eat in the sense that I'm aware of what I eat -- what I aim for is to eat whole foods. By "whole" I don't just mean "wholesome", but also "real", as in not highly processed. As much as possible, that means fresh produce, whole grains, healthy proteins. But I also enjoy food, and if one day I feel like a Reese's Peanutbutter cup, by all means, if I crave one, then I have one. Preferrably just one, savor it, and then not have the need to eat another for a long time.
Depriving oneself of certain "forbidden"foods (such as chocolate or icecream) is just a bad mind game, in my book, and can lead to breakdown and overeating. I find myself doing much better around tempting desserts now that I've made "peace" by allowing myself simply to eat "anything". I am now often just as happy to have a carrot for snack, instead of a cookie, without feeling deprived. Perhaps this comes with age, because my younger self would have gone for the cookie!
Last, but not least, another factor in being healthy and happy, to me, is having a creative outlet. This is often not considered when people list necessary ingredients for health. But exercising the mind is as crucial as exercising the body. Without that, my life becomes rote, routine, listless. I need to have a creative outlet in my daily life, be it knitting or sewing, discussing politics, listening to music, cooking a good meal for friends and family, reading and/or writing. These are all things I can and will continue to do for many years to come.
I leave you with a story I read once about a very old lady who loved to quilt, and continued to quilt even when her eyesight had long gone dim. How did she do it? Whenever her grandchildren came to visit, she had them thread all her needles for her, and stick them into the curtains. Thus she always had a ready supply to keep on quilting...
I'm at the point now that I need reading glasses for fine print and threading needles, and pretty soon you'll be seeing me with a pair of granny glasses dangling around my neck from a beaded chain. But hopefully I'll have a smile rather than a frown on my wrinkled face!