From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Staying Alive…  the urge to grow old gracefully

            Someday, notes from the 21st century will likely reflect upon humankind’s struggle to adapt to living longer. Here in the midst of this revolution, people are preparing themselves for the physical and mental challenges of delaying the aging process, growing old gracefully, and remaining “of sound mind and body”. 

            Research reports currently reflect unsatisfactory results when either a healthy mind becomes trapped in an unhealthy body, or an unhealthy mind resides within a healthy body. An entire generation  now faces the question, “what’s the point of living longer if our minds or bodies still decay?” This question has given rise to a variety of anti-aging products and theories on how to remain healthy and strong during our potential “bonus” years. Here are a few notes on the subject.

Long before it was popular, Grandma Gertie was into calisthenics. She religiously started her day with exercises that began with limbering up and culminated in a series of toe-touches from a standing position. What’s more, she lived in a wonderful old house that had a very long, elegant and winding staircase. My great-grandmother’s bedroom was, of course, at the top of this very long flight of stairs. As a kid, I once wondered out loud why she didn’t relocate to the downstairs bedroom, thinking it would be easier on her. I remember being informed, in no uncertain terms, that climbing that flight of stairs and her daily exercises were directly responsible for her good health and longevity.

The events of September 11, 2001 have taken a huge toll on all of us. While some people continue to suffer the ill effects of post-traumatic stress, others have found ways to return to life as usual. In truth, life is an on-going series of both joyous and traumatic events which devastate some people and strengthen others. Coping with the ups and downs of life is best achieved when we both allow ourselves to grieve and then allow ourselves to recover from grief. It has been said that those who focus on the past are likely to be depressed, those who focus on the future are likely to be anxious and worried, but those who focus on the present, reap the joy of each moment for as long as it lasts.

©Copyright, 2002, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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