On Sunny Lane: Growing Older

As Sweetheart and I were coming home from church last Sunday, we came upon a marquee outside one of the local businesses. The marquee often has humorous and insightful words of wisdom.

This time the words were, "If you want to live a long life, you have to be willing to grow older."

I'm sure the slogan was meant to be humorous, but I couldn't help but look below the surface. For instance, how much control do we have over living longer and how much impact does "being willing" have on growing older? Much of it is determined by heredity and a lot is the result of lifestyle.

My brother smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol in large amounts all of his adult life. Apparently, he believed that, since Dad died at the age of 48 and Mom lived until she was 65,he would live a relatively short life. Therefore, he thought he might as well indulge himself while he had the chance.

Turns out he lived to be 86 years old. His later years were fraught with self-induced health issues he wasn't expecting.

He used to say, "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."

When a baby is born, we begin to count his/her age in weeks. As the baby grows, we count it in months, then years. The person reaches milestones along the way until, at the age of 21, age seems to lose some significance and even acknowledgment.

We want to deny that we are getting older, even as we encounter signs of aging in our bodies. Then, as we retire, we become proud of our age. We feel as though we have accomplished something just by remaining on the planet. To paraphrase the words of my brother, it would help to take good care of our bodies so we can enjoy our senior years.

In third grade I learned that we should all eat good food, get fresh air and exercise and get plenty of rest if we want to be healthy. It seems that, if we abuse our bodies, our bodies will arouse us.

Sometimes, we forget that each one of us has, not only a body, but a spirit, mind and emotions. When I was about 45 years old, I had an aha! moment. I suddenly came to the realization that we are not primarily a body. We are a spirit and the body is where we reside.

I think one entity has impact on the other. Perhaps, it would behoove us to care for both, so that we can be willing to grow older and have a long life. And, maybe, along the way, we can be a good example for younger generations.


Dorothy is the author of two books—“Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together “. You can purchase a book or make a comment by emailing her at dorothybutzknight@gmail.com.

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