I am reticent to admit that there are days when I spend time fixated at looking at myself in the mirror. I just can’t believe what’s happening! My body is starting to look just like my mothers. The irony is that she never exercised a day of her life, ate pretty much what she wanted, never took supplements or meditated. In fact she would often get angry and throw stuff around, drink wine every night, and stress was her constant companion. She lived to be ninety-nine. Her last several years were not the best, but for the majority of her life she was in good health and got around quite well. In fact she drove from Long Island where she lived alone till she was ninety , to my home in Plymouth. I was always amazed at how she got here intact or that she had not left a wake of car accidents, since she was totally afraid of driving. I on the other hand exercised myself into a coma, tried to eat so-called healthy foods, and learned to meditate. My career, teaching people how to manage their stress was my best teacher, but none of the aforementioned curtailed the onslaught of joint problems that have become a part of my journey. Also none of what I did exercise wise has kept my body looking any different from my mothers. She would often say that as you get older you get the furniture disease. That’s when your chest falls into your drawers. She was spot on. Despite all of her so-called dysfunctional habits, she had a sense of humor ,albeit dark and often cynical, that seemed to help her cope with aging and the problems it brings with it. She would often laugh at me when I told her to exercise as if she already knew what I was in for. My humor is less dark, but it seems to continue to be available even when I’ve been faced with the news that I need two knee replacements and a possible shoulder replacement. I figure I may go bye-bye, but some of my parts will be around forever. Since none of us are going to get out of here alive, it’s probably a good idea to spend as much time as possible exercising your funny rather than your fanny.
I just finished reading yet another article about foods to stay away from. The parade of information or misinformation is practically a daily event. At this point in time it’s clear to me that I should be dead, and those that came before me, i.e., my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and great grandmother should have died long before their time. They ate cheese daily, drank lots of wine, had sausage at least once a week and or meatballs, and heavy doses of spaghetti. Their diet also included lots of veggies and fruits, which might have helped cancel out the aforementioned foods, many of which are considered to be unfit for human consumption. They all lived into their nineties or beyond despite their dietary choices. We could use the excuse that the food they ate was less contaminated, but I recall going with my grandmother to buy a chicken from a woman who raised them and I was scared out of my mind. I felt as if I had entered “hell for hens”! I did not see one sanitary measure in place. In fact I doubt that the owner bathed but once a year, if that. She resembled one of the witches in Macbeth with her long scraggly hair and missing teeth. I doubt if any government official had ever seen the inside of her establishment. If they had they would have put her and her chickens on a list for the ten most wanted food terrorists. In fact I would have to say that almost every store we went into lacked any regulatory process. In spite of it all most individuals I grew up with thrived. I don’t remember any discussions during dinner about how we shouldn’t be eating certain foods, nor did I hear whether they were going to extend life, repair cells, improve hearing or give us laser vision. I do remember having a lot of fun talking about crazy relatives or neighbors, who stopped by often, and feeling incredibly blessed to be eating my grandmothers cooking. You see in “those days” families lived together whether you liked it or not. I think it’s great to have progressed to a place where we are able to have more information about what we eat and how it effects us. However, what we all need more of is taking the time to eat and to enjoy what we’re eating. It’s also much more fun and a lot healthier to share our food with those we care about. It might just be that sausage, meatballs and cheese are not what’s killing us, but the fact that we text and e-mail while we’re eating them.