My husband and I are both baby boomers. We’ve both been active and physically fit all our lives, but as we’ve gotten older we’ve found ourselves letting that part of our lives slide a bit. There’s always an excuse – “I’m tired after working all day”, I’ll do it twice as long tomorrow morning”, “it’s too cold”, “it’s too hot”, whatever! Slowly and a little at a time, we were allowing ourselves to get out of shape and before we knew it, we had gained weight and were huffing and puffing when we went on our annual mushroom hunt last spring.
Well, that was a HUGE wake-up call for me. This is because I know what can happen if one loses their ability to move. After I retired from the military, I spent the next several years working in the elder services industry providing help to older Americans. These individuals were often cognitively alert, but were so frail they were in a wheelchair or were bedridden and so couldn’t get up and around on their own. Yes, some of these folks were what are called the “Older old”, those individuals who are 80 years of age or older, but many were not. Many were in their 70s or even in their 60s! I know I don’t want to even be in my 80s and be in a wheel chair or, God forbid, bedridden, and not be able to move around on my own.
So, I was determined to change the way my husband and I were living. We started eating better. We started a garden. I learned to can vegetables and fruits. We started exercising and that meant we started moving. No more sitting in front of the television or our laptops at night. We have three dogs with limitless energy who are only too happy to guide us on our evening walks. We started lifting weights and doing yoga. I’ve got to pause here and admit that the sight of my 6’3″ husband who is country, through and through, doing yoga with me is often my belly laugh of the day, which, by the way, we also try and do every day (belly laugh).
We love to hike, so we do that at least once a month. There are always National Parks with trails to explore and all sorts of wonderful flora and fauna to discover. We’ve seen some incredible sights in our travels through the woods!
We’ve also made time for us. We plan at least one weekend a month that’s just us, where we reconnect with each other. We’ve been married 22 years and as anyone knows who’s been married a while, marriage is a continual work in progress. We may visit a new vineyard, because we love a good wine. We may try out a new restaurant, because we love ethnic foods. It doesn’t have to cost anything, it’s just time for us.
Our plan is pretty simple. Stay active, eat healthy and maintain a good, sense of balance in our life. Focus on the good, release the bad, and breathe.