BETTY’S WORLD: The secret to staying young while getting old
By Betty LaMarr
There are more people interested in finding the fountain of youth than the Holy Grail. Cosmetic products and plastic surgery are industries that bring in billions of dollars each year. We try to hold on to our youth for the things it represents – beauty, vitality, fun. But instead of trying so hard to cling desperately to our youth, why don’t we focus our energy on bringing these same qualities into old age with us?
Who says the elderly aren’t beautiful? Who says all we can do later in life is play Bingo? Old age can be full of fun and vivacity. And we all know that the best kind of fun is had when there is no place to be early the next morning. Think of all the advantages of old age! You are wiser than at any other point in life and don’t have to constantly be paying the price for poor decisions. You finally have time to spend with friends and family. You are able to enjoy old hobbies or create new ones. And when you forget birthdays or things your spouse asked you to do, you can just blame it on your failing memory. What’s not to love?
However, if you want to be around to enjoy all of these perks, you must take care of yourself and make choices to keep yourself in good health. We can all learn something from those who have made it deep into their old age. My Aunt Eva, the matriarch of the Spann family, just had the privilege of turning 103 years old in October of this year. She was recognized with a standing ovation for all that she brings to her family and community. If asked for the secret to living well for so long, my aunt would say that God has been good to her and blessed her with many years. It is very true that God knows every individual’s time on this earth and when it will be finished, but it is also true that good choices increase our quality of life tremendously and often give us more time to spend with those we love.
My Aunt Eva would also say that she does not take many medications like most elderly people do these days. Though it is important to listen to the advice of medical professionals, when given the option of making a lifestyle change or taking a pill to relieve a symptom, one should always choose making a lifestyle change to truly improve health. Even if you are young, you understand this logic. Taking a diet pill while you are sitting watching television and eating Twinkies does not improve your health as much as actually getting up and going for a walk. Medication may seem like an easy way out as you get older and health issues start to compile, but save yourself the pharmacy bill and go for a walk, stop smoking, or choose to eat less red meat. Any choice you make to improve your health will give you the option later of how you want to spend your time. If you would rather spend your retirement fishing by your lakeside home than bedridden in a hospital, now is the time to make those changes because by the time the consequences set in, it is often too late.
When you do see people who have made it into their later years, acknowledge them. Our elderly should be treated with love and respect. They will almost always have more wisdom than you and have hundreds of entertaining stories to cure any episode of boredom that may come along. If you are lucky enough to have someone in your family like I do to bless you with the knowledge and tales of their years, appreciate it. Our time on earth is precious, and we will all leave a legacy of our own. As for me, if I live even close to as long as my Aunt Eva or leave a legacy even half as powerful as the one she has been establishing for decades, I will count myself blessed all of my days.
For questions or comments contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Betty LaMarr Show can be seen weekly at 9:30pm Friday on Comcast Channel 17.