How does it feel to be older?
It feels great.
With just 20,454 days under my belt, I may not qualify as one to offer a perspective on life but I figure turning 56 years of age gives me just a tiny bit of insight.
Free advice is always worth what you pay for it although it is safe to say the person giving it has paid for the privilege of being able to provide it.
So take the following observations as you may:
•You can always improve your health.
Anyone who knows me could see that one coming. Twenty-seven years ago today on my 29th birthday I weighed 320 pounds and got my heart racing just going up a flight of stairs. Today I weigh 165 pounds and spend just under 10 hours a week jogging, bicycling and exercising.
•You are what you eat.
Go back 12 birthdays and a year didn’t pass that I wouldn’t worry about arthritic pain and – if I was unlucky – a bout of gout. For the past 10 years and after going completely nuts (as in almonds) along with consuming a ton of fruits and juices I have been pain free. As an added bonus, my allergies are non-existent. People thought I had eaten healthy before having been a lacto-ovo vegetarian since I turned 30 but it was virtually getting rid of all processed food that made a big difference. It also took off the last 30 pounds.
• It is not the end of the world.
When you are 16, 18, or even 25 it is easy to consider yourself a loser or failure based on where you are at or – thanks to the dark side of humans – people putting you down. Nothing bruises as easily as a young person’s ego.
• Life isn’t a race.
Bigger cars. Bigger houses. More money. Here’s a news flash. That doesn’t equate into happiness. Talk to people who have a bit more miles on them than I do. You’ll find out that the material things in life rarely are what they dwell on in looking back fondly over the years. Run life too fast and you might just miss out on love, laughter, and the pure joy of simple pleasures such as a sun rise on a dewy morning or the wonder in the eyes of a person younger than yourself discovering something for the first time.
• You can’t beat death.
It is inevitable so why dwell on it? Waste time and in the end it is worthless. Life is meant to live. That’s why you want to make sure you’ve spent it well – and all – when the bill comes due.
• Life is a rose garden.
You can only enjoy the beauty of life by navigating the thorns. It is true a rose garden can survive neglect and that it can be nurtured back to health. Roses give you multiple chances to get it right and pay attention to them. But ignore the basic needs and eventually a rose garden will die completely. And just like life, the more work you put into a rose garden, the more beautiful it is.
• Celebrate your blessings.
Simply being born defies the odds. Reflect on those who you knew who are no longer with us: The classmate in eighth grade who died diving off a roof into a Doughboy swimming pool. The family down the street that perished in a crash caused by a drunken driver. A friend’s 32-year-old father who was a police officer gunned down in cold blood. Your best friend’s brother who was always joking who didn’t make it past age 22 due to leukemia. You’re lucky to be here. Don’t squander your precious gift.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-249-3519.