a part of my counseling practice, I consult with a local
physician. He assists me in treating some of my clients with
medical background and practical advice. In response to a
discussion about a particular client, he told me about one of his
patients who is eighty-five years old. Aside from arthritis, this
man is in pretty good shape and does everything that he should to
remain that way. In addition, he fills his life with meaningful
activities for others. For example, this octogenarian makes tapes
of his singing and playing the guitar and then takes the
recordings to shut-ins. He feels that it is important for him to
reach out to others who can't get out.
day, during a routine doctor's appointment, he told my friend
that when he orders his vitamins, he always gets a year's supply at a time. His theory
is that at his age, "I need to do all that I can to stay
healthy; I'm not a youngster anymore." True, he isn't a youngster anymore, but his
optimism about life is one of the reasons that he has lived this
long. I wonder how many of his peers order their vitamins yearly.
My guess is that most of them order their vitamins a month at a
time; it is more prudent that way. The irony is that this type of
prudence is one of the reasons he doesn't have many peers.
you read any further in this article, I want you to get a pencil.
Now, subtract your present age from eighty-five. For me, I have
thirty-one more years before I reach this octogenarian's present age. The question for
you and I should be, what must we do to get to his venerable age?
While there are some things that aren't under our control like
hereditary factors, we do have control over much of our lives.
There are some things over which we have complete control.
smoking or using illegal drugs. There is
nothing that smoking or drugging will do to lengthen or
enhance your life. So, stop. However, there is plenty to be
said about drugs and cigarettes shortening your life and
ruining the quality of it.
you drink, do so in moderation. If you
have a problem with drinking, see your family doctor and then
join AA. How many alcoholic octogenarians do you know?
daily. A good rule of thumb about a
cardiovascular exercise program is that you should exercise
thirty minutes everyday at 80% of your heart's capacity. To find your
capacity, subtract your age from 220 and multiply that number
by 80%. That is your target pulse rate during your exercise
program. Depending upon your age, the number of beats per
minute will range from about 120 to 160. Make sure that you
clear your exercise program with your doctor before you
positively about the future. Henry Ford
once said, "You can believe you can or
you can believe you can't; either way, you will be
correct." In psychology, we call this phenomenon a
self-fulfilling prophecy. You will add years to your life
with a positive mental attitude.
a hobby or recreational activity. Find
something that you like to do that brings you joy and
satisfaction. Look into adult education classes for
photography, painting, writing, or woodworking. Perhaps, you
might want to learn ballroom dancing or how to play
ahead. Always have a list of projects in
the pipeline on which you are presently working, developing
plans, and about which you are dreaming. As you complete a
project, move the planning stage projects to working level,
and move the dreaming projects to the planning stage.
Finally, come up with more projects about which to dream. The
key to this is to keep the pipeline always full and moving.
something for others. There are many
people not far from where you live that could benefit from
your help. Whether it is driving someone to the grocery
store, helping a child with homework or baseball, or just
spending time talking with someone who is lonely, do
something for others. Both of you will benefit from your
your vitamins yearly. If you are
conscientious about the above suggestions, you will have to
buy your vitamins yearly. After all, you will need to stay
healthy to accomplish all the things that you are doing.