It’s cool. It’s quiet. Every half hour I get up from my seat on the veranda and walk, walk, walk. It’s boring and tedious but I know I must do it, for my heart, to extend my life, to stay fit and agile to enable us to continue traveling the world.
Fast approaching 75 years old, I wonder how much control I actually have over extending my life considering the precarious cardiovascular disease I possess, acquired from heredity, certainly not my lifestyle. From the time I was 16 years old, having seen family members die from heart disease and diabetes, I went on a rampage of exercising and eating a healthy diet. And yet, it didn’t save me from developing cardiovascular disease. But it may have kept me alive.
However, like all of us, we have stress in our day-to-day lives, and as a single mom, breadwinner, and business owner, I had my share. There was no escaping it. Now, I have little stress, living this blissful life, barring a few obstacles along the way.
If happiness results in a long life of good health, we should live until well into our 100s. I have this cardiovascular situation, but I know many who’ve had the surgery and have gone on to live long and full lives. I hang onto that hope, trying not to spend any time thinking about having a heart attack, stroke or even another surgery. The worry alone could result in enough stress to impact the outcome. I choose not to go down that road.
But, even with perfect health at 75, one’s days might be numbered. For me, it’s not about fear. It’s about passion for continuing to live this beautiful life with my loving partner, husband, and friend. I couldn’t ask for more. Nor could I ask for more meaning and purpose in our day-to-day lives.
Unabashedly, I admit that writing here daily is highly instrumental in enhancing the quality of our lives. Why is this the case? For many reasons, some are hard to explain. In part, it’s the magical process of seeing our lives in print each day. Who does that? We whine, cajole, praise, and critique everything we encounter along the way. This is therapeutic in a manner that is difficult to explain. It reduces stress once we have an opportunity to write it down.
Often psychologists and therapists suggest patients write down their feelings and experiences. Could the benefit of this often prescribed undertaking have an impact on our lives as well? Being vulnerable and documenting our flaws and foibles provides a sense of reality that makes us look hard at ourselves and how we can improve as individuals and as a couple.
The profound sense of inclusion and support is a natural by-product of our daily postings. When I wrote about the chigger bites, countless readers wrote with suggestions. In one’s life, do they have such a pool of opinions from which to glean information? For us, it’s only a click away.
We have a lot to learn. That will never change. But, learning in the senior years has been proven to add to longevity, mental acuity, and good health. Our lives are abundant in learning. Every single day we research information about our surroundings wherever we may be in the world.
You’d think after so much time in Africa; we’d fulfilled our desires for knowledge about this continent, its people, its cultures, and its wildlife. We haven’t experienced or learned more than a grain of sand on 100 miles of beach compared to what we could know after spending decades on the continent.
The secrets to longevity from the medical community are fraught with conflicting opinions, studies, confusion, and uncertainty. Eat this, eat that. Drink this, drink that. Red wine is good; red wine is bad. Oh, good grief. We are left to our knowledge and perceptions on what will benefit us in the long haul. And once we’re gone…well, we’ll have no perception then.
So, what do we do? For us, we consider our genetics and proceed from there. We implement that which makes us “feel well” and healthy. But, in reality, it may be as simple as “when your number is up, your number is up.” Perhaps it boils down to the quality of life. What does it take to make us feel good, living one day at a time? What does it take to feel content, fulfilled, and ultimately happy? Do that, not something else.
Be well. Be happy.
Photo from one year ago today, June 18, 2021: