Sunday, October 30, 2005

Healthy Aging, some thoughts from Greer

The joke about, "If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself, is somewhat old, but real." What I am experiencing in this aging process has to do with a couple of thoughts, or more, and mainly it is the more I age, the older I get. Now, in my opinion there are a couple of thoughts that I would like to express, one is that there is a great difference between aging and getting older. While aging is a the natural process of what happens to the body, or for that matter anything that spends some time on this earth, after many years. In the case of getting older it is more an attitude of the mind and is influenced by our western society that basically says you are old and over the hill at 65, mind you not 55, not 60, not even 62, but 65. The best way I can illustrate the difference is through my own advancement in age. In aging I can still remember and even feel the day I ran the 100 yard dash in 9.7 seconds(the world record was 9.3 at that time, so I was no threat to the record). So, due to aging I am unable to meet this speed, but I can still remember and feel it. In growing older I would not remember or feel this, it would just not exist and I would whither away to the old folks home or just die. That is the difference between aging and growing older or becoming an old man physically and mentally, in my opinion.

During the past few weeks there has been a lot of interest and coverage on a book written by Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, concerning healthy aging. After seeing his interview on Larry King Live and reading about his philosophies I ran out and bought his current book, "Healthy Aging", A lifelong guide to your physial and spiritual well-being. I have not read every word of it to date, but have skimmed it and I really like what I am reading. The only problem I have with it is that I hope the right market is buying the book and realizing how good the information is. My concern is that I can get interested at 66 in what I should be doing to be healthier, but my feeling is that people should start in their 20's practicing the art of healthy living. When we are younger our bodies will take just about any abuse we can throw at it, but as time marches on the tale tale signs of abuse take their toll. So, my point is we should start taking care of ourselves when we are very young so as to live a healthy life after we go into the golden ages. It is kind of like the movie, "Paying It Forward", pay now for the future to meet our expectations. What I am going to do is quote some of his book for the next few postings on fasttwitchmind with the hope of stimulating your interest in buying this book(not from me I am not in the book business). These quotes are all from Dr. Weil; however, if I decide to give my comments on his comments I will say, MC from Greer.

Dr. Weil states, "In 2002, I turned sixty. To help celebrate the occasion, friends organized a surprise party for me. After the festivities, there came a time to reflect, and when I did I came to an uncomfortable conclusion: I am closer to a time when my energy and powers will diminish, when I will lose my independence. Sixty is about the time that organs of the body begin gradually to fail, when the first hints of age-related disease begin to appear." MC-I don't remember the festivities on my 60th birthday but I am sure I celebrated and had lots of sex after the festivities. Dr. Weil again, "I hardly notice my aging on a day-to-day basis. When I look in the mirror in the morning, my face and white beard seem the same as the day before. But in photographs of myself from the 1970's, my beard is completely black. If I pay attention, I can notice other changes in my body: more aches and pains, less resilience in meeting the challenges of traveling, less vigor on occasion. And my memory may not be quite what it used to be. In any case I find it more useful to think of aging as a continuous and necessary process of change that begins with conception. In the words of an Easter philosopher:" The sun at noon is the sun declining, The person born is the person dying." MC-I hardly notice my aging on a day-to-day basis either; unless I look real close in the mirror. Sometimes I look at myself as I pass by a mirror and I don't even recognize myself. I still think of the football picture from my college days and for some strange reason I think I still look like that. But, my present day mirror says otherwise. Fact is the scary thing is I am looking more like my dad after he turned 70 and as I look in the mirror I see more of him than of me. Thank God, through staying active in triathlon, my body doesn't look like his did at my age. My memory at 66 is still very good, fact is I find it much better than some of the people I have dealt with over the years, when they start quoting things that happened 15 years ago. But on the other hand there are times when I can't find my Explorer in the movie parking lot that I just parked 2 hours ago. So, go figure!

Dr. Weil touches on the following in his book, "The Science and Philosophy of Healthy Aging", "How to Age Gracefully", "A Twelve Point Program for Healthy Aging." He deals with the body, mind and spirit and all the points within these areas of life that would lead to healthy living, period, no matter the age.

For the next few weeks I will be covering some of Dr. Weils points in more detail, but I will not give you enough that you will not need to buy the book. It should be on everyones shelf, no matter the age.

Go buy the book, NOW!!!

On the way to Ironman Florida, for the week,

Mike Greer


Post a Comment

<< Home