This is the seventh year I have had the opportunity to wish all of you a Happy New Year. When I started writing this column, I had no idea what the next eight years would bring, but over those years attending state and national conferences, listening to the Center’s Tuesday lectures, preparing for this column, and particularly listening to the amazing “elders” at the Center, I have learned more than I ever could have imagined. Yet, I still feel like a rookie, knowing there is much more to learn about how to live gracefully with courage, compassion and understanding.
But I am often reminded that this journey is not about getting older or even about living longer. It is about taking care of ourselves so we can live the rest of our lives to their fullest. To welcome in the new year, here are a few insights I have discovered over the last eight years that guide me in my continuing life’s journey, so I can try to fulfill the familiar adage, “It is not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years.”
1. What is good for your heart is good for your brain.
2. Learn something new without worrying how good you’ll be.
3. First steps to improve your memory: focus and pay attention.
4. Most things don’t really matter, but a few really do.
5. The goal is not to get faster, but to keep from slowing down.
6. Getting older beats the alternative, but it is hard work.
7. Accept what you can’t control – and then adapt.
8. Live in the now.
9. Know what you want and let others know – particularly your adult children.
10. Dream as if you will live forever and live as if you will die tomorrow.
11. Age is in your attitude.
12. Avoid the five S’s: Sugar, Salt, Seconds, Soda and Shortening.
13. Add color to your meals i.e. eat vegetables!
14. Isolation kills. Stay connected.
15. Keep moving – at least 30 minutes a day.
16. Breathe from your belly.
17. See the world with virgin eyes and you’ll find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
18. Relationships are more important than things (although I do have an unhealthy relationship with my iPhone).
19. Grey hair is cool.
20. And as Carl Kramer once said, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out and before you know it, you are 100 years old.
Meals-on Wheels and the Center will be breaking with tradition and will be open on New Year’s Day but closed on the 2nd. And since Thursday is Meals-on-Wheels’ Bingo night, they are going to celebrate the first day of the year with another Bingo Bash. There will be great prizes – plus you can enjoy a free Hot Turkey Sandwich dinner starting at 5:00.
Last week were you able to identify the three missing consonants? They were m, p and r. To finish out the year, see if you can identify the three consonants I have removed this week.
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The name of the popular toy that could travel down a flight of stairs, end over end and stop upright was the Slinky. (And the winner of a Saturday breakfast in April is Dayle Nagle.)
At the end of every year, we are inundated with the top ten lists: best movies, best albums, best books, best dressed, best undressed and more. And although I was more interested in sports (Johnny Unitas and Oscar Robertson) than reading, the more literate readers of this column may know this week’s “Remember When” question. What was the name of the critically acclaimed Cold War spy novel, which during 1964 was at the top of the New York Times’ best seller list for 34 weeks? E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with the identity of Control, the head of Circus.
Well, it’s been another week, as I look forward to seeing what surprises come my way. Until we meet again, an Irish toast to the new year, “May you never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten”.