Running on 100,000 Miles

Running on 100,000 Miles

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I began dreading turning 60, oh, about 11 months and 29 days – give or take a few hours – before my odometer actually turned to the big 6-0. When I noticed that I was fretting about this upcoming milestone birthday, I actively began looking for ways that I could turn my attitude around and begin to embrace this golden marker.

It was a few months after I turned 60 when I was so proud of myself for how well I was accepting – if not totally embracing – this age, that I realized I needed a complete overhaul on my thinking. I not only had to learn to embrace the number – but the whole aging process. I wasn’t quite prepared for that.

Granted, it’s not like this was a total revelation to me. For many years I’d already begun the joking and mild complaining about aging. Wrinkles appearing. Skin starting to sag. Energy levels beginning to wane. Hair turning silver instead of a golden hue. But an unexpected diagnosis really brought this unacknowledged part of the equation to my attention.

For several months I’d started noticing some circulation problems in my feet. Rather than improving with time, it worsened. I passed it off to a secondary effect from high blood sugar or high cholesterol. About fifteen years earlier, the doctor wanted to prescribe medications for elevated glucose levels and high cholesterol. I countered with the suggestion to give me three months to see what changing my diet and adding exercise would do. It took me a little longer than that, but six months later a healthier diet and riding my bicycle twice a week brought my test results into the normal ranges.

But, the years passed. I moved to Texas – the nation’s BBQ capital – and I found myself eating more beef than normal, and not being quite as good with my diet as before. It had been several years since I’d been tested, so I presumed that one, if not both, of these, were probably running high again.

When our local Walmart promoted a free health screening one Saturday morning, I was there, bright and early.

Much to my amazement, my blood sugar and my cholesterol were well within the normal ranges – better than they had been for years.

However…the lady doing the screening took my blood pressure three times. It was high enough that she wouldn’t let me go until I signed that I would see a doctor about it.

WHAT?

I was stupefied.

My brain repeated the incredulous question. WHAT?

Where did this come from?

I’ve never had high blood pressure. In fact, it’s usually run low most of my life.

And it hit me. This was more than just a wrinkle, or a jiggly underarm, or wanting a short cat nap in the middle of the day.

This was ageing.

My body was changing.

My body was wearing out.

I was getting old.

Yikes!

This was more than just a number that kept getting bigger.

I had to learn to embrace more than just the number 6-0. I had to learn to embrace ageing in its entirety, which meant a body that could easily betray me at any moment.

I contemplated how this compared to my car that has over 100,000 miles on it. No, it’s not a brand new vehicle. It’s now considered a high-mileage vehicle and as such requires more care.

I make sure and get my regular oil changes done as scheduled. I’ve upgraded the oil to a higher grade, one meant for cars with over 100,000 miles. When I start it up, I let it run for a few minutes to make sure the oil is circulated throughout before I put it in gear and pull out of the driveway. I don’t stomp on the gas or accelerate at high levels of speed. I baby it more than I used to and make sure to soothe it with large doses of TLC.

Using my typical M.O. of ‘what can I do about it to avoid taking a prescription?’ I set about making a few changes.

When one kickboxing session lessened the numbness in my feet, and three sessions almost totally got rid of the symptoms, I knew that some type of regular cardio exercise was necessary. I noticed an immediate correlation between increased exercise and lowered blood pressure. That sealed the deal. I don’t particularly like to exercise as in physical exertion, huffing and puffing, and sweating. I prefer walking, gardening, or gentle yoga. But, if it comes down to choosing between exercise or medication – it’s a no-brainer. Exercise wins.

I also returned to my previous healthier eating habits. Less sugar. Less fats. Less salt. Less fast food. Less processed foods. More real food. More fresh fruits and vegetables. More whole grains.

I may be running in a model that has over 100,000 miles on it, but I’m going to take care of this vehicle and get as many more miles on it as I can. I don’t want to trade in this model just yet. I also want to enjoy the journey that I’m making in this body while embracing every moment of life –even the parts about the numbers getting bigger and the body model getting older.

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Look for the Good in Every Day

new year wishes

A new year is before us, ripe with opportunities and promise. I love the feel of ‘the new’, and while the slate isn’t totally clean that we start with, it still brings with it the feeling of freshness and new beginnings.

For several years I’ve chosen a word of the year to focus on. Last year I couldn’t make up my mind, so I chose three: authentic, action, and joyful. Towards the end of 2018, knowing this chance to pick new words to focus on was coming up again, I started writing down words that I was drawn to. I had a post-it note on my December calendar and when I’d run across another word I liked, I’d add it to my list. By the last week of the year I had several words to pick from – balance, peace, delight, nourish, healthy, grateful, blessed. I liked all of them. Any of them would have been a great word for me to laser in on. My life would be richer with any of those words magnified in my life. I couldn’t choose.

While driving between the stores I service in my day job, my mind usually wanders and drifts as I travel the familiar route. One day a phrase popped into my mind and I knew immediately that this was my 2019 focus.

Look for the good in every day.

Somehow I jumped from three words to seven. But I knew that I needed this whole phrase. I think I’m usually fairly optimistic – probably more so than many. But yet, I still see how I’m starting to fall back into patterns of grumblings and under the breath mutterings. Too much for my own peace of mind. So I need to regroup and notch up the positivity. Gratitude and thankfulness amplify positivity – as does seeing the good in every day.

As an aside, I thought of making the phrase – find the good in every day. That’s only six words, instead of seven. But it didn’t feel as spot on for me as the words I initially thought of. To me, ‘find’ implies a more passive thought. It seems like it’s recognizing the good that is there, but only if I happen to run across it. To ‘look for’ feels more action oriented, something I have to actively search for with the intent of finding it.

With that thought in mind, I’m thankful that the hours this week are a little lighter than the past few weeks have been. That gave me the time – and the energy – to be home this afternoon to write this post. While the past few weeks were heavier in hours than usual, I’ll be thankful for the larger paycheck. I’m thankful for the health that’s carried me through a hectic holiday season and all the loved ones in my life that I was able to send Christmas packages to. And I’m doubly thankful for the past few days that have been close to 70-degrees. Now, that’s my kind of January winter day!

AYes, life is good and I’m looking forward to a magnificent 2019 filled with family, friends, love and a multitude of blessings. Wishing the same to you all!

new year

 

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