Don’t Count the Candles!

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I have never been a fitness maniac although I have always tried to keep the extra pounds off. One day, when after a workout session I had a spell of dizziness, my neighbor Ms. XYZ (name not disclosed for obvious reasons) snapped that I should eat MORE rather than concentrate on losing weight. She moralized that having crossed the mid-forties, beating the bulge should not be a priority! It really shocked and amused me at the same time, for I failed to see any logic in her theory. How has age got anything to do with a sincere attempt to stay fit?

President Jimmy Carter just recently won his second Grammy Award in the category Best Spoken Album for the audio book version of his memoir, “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety.” Earlier in 2007, he was crowned for an award in the same category for his reading of “Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis”. In August 2015, Carter announced that he was diagnosed of metastatic melanoma, a type of cancer that affected his liver and brain. Three days after his announcement, with his usual zest and vivacity he was teaching his regular Sunday school, his 689th lesson that day at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. This is the story of a man who stood indefatigable and enthusiastic even in the midst of age and illness! So that raises a question as to whether age ever matters when you are young in spirits!

Age is just a number and not necessarily a deterrent to enjoy life to the fullest. Rather it’s “like a permission slip written up by nature that allows you to do whatever you’ve always wanted to do”. As we age, we need to look for opportunities to make like-minded friends, cultivate new hobbies that will double the joys, and make our lives more meaningful.

There are no parameters embedded in stone that set age limitations for defining one’s lifestyle. It’s perfectly fine to wear that electrifying red dress at 65 if it suits you or to go train your vocal chords at fifty-plus if you really feel you can render sweet melodies. The White House on February 22nd released a touching video of a 106-year-old black woman Virginia McLaurin that went viral. She fulfilled her long cherished dream by meeting the Obamas as a part of Black History Month. The centenarian’s exuberance and excitement had taken the president by surprise as she danced her way across the room joyfully, and he commented jokingly, ”Slow down now, don’t go too quick”. McLaurin still volunteers 40 hours a week at a local school, working with disadvantaged kids. That’s the spirit of living by overcoming the barriers of age.

Science has not been able to reverse the aging process, but research proves that aging is not only a biological progression but a subjective experience too! According to a 2014 study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, feeling younger than one’s real age plays a vital role in preserving memory and cognitive function as people get older.

Life’s mantra should be to live and enjoy the moment and not bask on what was not attained in the past or be skeptical about the future. In the words of British novelist, scholar, and broadcaster C.S. Lewis, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” So here’s a toast to enjoying life to its zenith without being worried about that extra candle on the birthday cake every year!


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