Growing Old?

Have you noticed the aches and pains of growing or aging? Our bodies are always changing in small increments and we are either sprouting or decaying. Yes, just like plants, changes occur due to our genetic markers and environmental factors. The small incremental body changes are so subtle that they often gone unnoticed. The body and brain finishes maturing at age 30, at which time it starts to show signs of decaying – with facial wrinkles and receding hair lines along with memory loss. Interestingly, our outward appearance often does not match our internal age.

My grandmother used to tell me that that even though she was 90 she felt 20 and rather enjoyed Walt Disney movies and going to McDonalds. She said she had a hard time acting 90 so enjoyed hanging out with her great- grandchildren. She had a very positive attitude and kept herself busy with housework, volunteering and daily walks. She managed to live through the Great Depression, raise 4 children on pennies and had a smile and kind word for all. She didn’t have a mirror in her house and would laugh at pictures of herself stating,” That’s not me”. She felt her body was only a vessel for her God-Given Soul. When ailments afflicted her she would wait a few weeks to see if they would go away on their own, trying home remedies instead of heading quickly to the doctor. I marvelled at her attitude and decided to model myself after her.

Today, with a mirror in every room and with magazines and TV dictating the way we should look, our view on aging has changed. Aging has become an unwelcome negative phenomenon. After age 30, Earth’s gravity and internal aging mechanisms occur to all of us; the visceral membranes holding our bodies tight stretch with gravity, pulling our stomach, breasts and neck forward. Due to hormone changes; the bones eventually lose their calcium mass and become hollow, leaving us shorter and a bit crooked; our muscles become smaller and less powerful; our skin is less elastic and we lose collagen, causing wrinkles which affects our appearance and our ability to move. Yikes – isn’t that encouraging?

Well there is good news! At all ages you can help your body change, fighting aches and pains by staying active (walking or sports), stretching (yoga) and eating a well-balanced and rotating diet (Canadian Food Guide). You can affect your cognitive function by working, reading, doing puzzles, playing cards and staying engaged through social activities like choirs, sports teams/ clubs and volunteering. Spiritual, or soul, health can be affected through praying, meditation, going to church or spending time in nature by gardening, hiking or fishing. Stop looking in the mirror and laugh at the people on TV who have had multiple face lifts. Aging is really a mental game. Think and act younger than your age and see the difference your wisdom brings.

 

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