Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What the Elderly Can Teach You

I've worked with elderly people my whole life,both in my career and in volunteer work. As a writer, I appreciate the lessons they have taught me over the years. Here's my short list of ten important things:
1. "Eat right live right and never fret." This saying comes from my now-deceased Great-Aunt Eva, who lives to be 100 years old. Think about it, what makes you sick or chronically ill? Primarily what you put into your body, Living a life filled with wrongdoing and negative feelings, and stress. Great advice, Aunt Eva!
2. Never stop working-You know what they say, "an idle mind is the devil's playground," and its name is Alzheimer's. Even if you retire from your chosen profession, you need to work just as hard at a new interest or volunteer endeavor. I know my second cousin Lewis was like that. Almost as old as my grandfather, he fell off a ladder painting his house at ninety-five. he broke his arm but not his spirit.
3. Enjoy nature-Have you ever noticed that the people who spend time outside admiring what nature has provided and exercising there, breathing in clean air, have a better outlook on life and a sharp mind?
4. Remember to take time for yourself every day-Life goes too fast. Take a breather every day. If you want to start with it, that's fine. I remember Granddaddy took time out after breakfast to read is Bible and pray. I discovered my husband's did also, as did his stepfather. Perhaps you prefer something in the middle of the day. Go in your office, close the door and lower or turn off the lights and meditate OR at the end of the day, go home and take a bubble bath. You'll find your own way.
5. Never stop learning-Your mind was built to be exercised like a muscle. Learning provides the fuel for the mind to operate and will also invigorate your creativity.
6. Sleep at least eight hours every night-This is the time for brain and body renewal and also allows you to delve into your subconscious. Some of the most creative people I know get their answers when they're asleep.
7. Loving others is exponential-The more you love, the more you're loved. But it has to be real and without expectation of a reward. Which leads me to . . .
8. Giving without expectation of reciprocation is its own reward-At least once a day, do something for someone, especially if it's anonymous, and feel the sudden onset of endorphins. It's exhilarating.
9. Have a regimen-When people retire and stop their routine, they risk stagnating. If your regimen changes, okay, but make sure to have one. Wake up at the same time, eat at the same time, and sleep at the same time. You'll feel better.
10. Always be grateful-The universe will bring those grateful thought back to you.

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