1. Eat healthy? Who has the time? McDonalds is so convenient and the kids love those fries.
2. What’s a few pounds? It’s normal. Life is too short, so why not have seconds? Besides, I like the informal look: large, baggy, stretched-out clothing.
3. Hey, I work hard all day! Who has the energy to exercise after a hard day’s work? I’ve earned the right to kick back and knock back a few cold ones. That idiot next to me at work, the one who says exercise doesn’t take energy, it gives you energy? What could she possibly know? Some kind of health nut, for sure.
4. Don’t form too many outside friendships or social contacts because they require so much time. People can be so demanding and have such high expectations. Relationships take too much work, that’s why you have a TV. So much easier to just come home, click it on and turn off the brain!
5. Regular check-ups? That is just a scam by the medical profession to get you in the front door and use your deductible. Besides, what do they know? Avoid all contact with healthcare professionals. It’s a hassle and won’t help anyway.
6. Happy Hour is a great way to relieve stress. A few drinks never hurt anyone and, hey, I drive better after a couple drinks than most of those nuts out there drive stone-cold sober.
7. I don’t smoke! I quit a long time ago. I just have a few puffs at lunch, then maybe a few more at the end of the day. Occasionally more if it’s a stressful day. It really calms me, gives me something to do with my hands, relaxes me. Don’t give me grief, more than 1 in 5 Americans still smoke so it can’t be that big a deal, right? If it is really, really bad for you, the government wouldn’t let them sell it, right?
For those of you who can’t stick to such rigid rules for disaster, here is an alternative for healthy aging:
1. Exercise keeps you younger, healthier, and adds quality to the years of your life.
2. Eat those fruits and vegetables, especially brightly colored veggies. Cut back on red meat and fast foods. Add oily fish like salmon to your diet; it has Omega 3, a fat that is good for you. Avoid saturated fats, processed foods, excessive sugar and salt, and all trans fats.
3. Experience life. Volunteer in your community, read a book, learn a new language, or travel to places in your local area that you’ve never visited. Don’t accept the idea that you’re too old to try something new.
4. Stay active, mentally and physically. Breathe deeply. Take some deep breaths several times throughout the day; they’ll help relax you and bring more oxygen into your blood system, to your muscles, and your brain.
5. Keep in touch with family and old friends and make new friends. Be part of the larger community.
6. Maintain a sense of humor. Laughing makes life a lot more enjoyable.
7. Stay in touch with your spirituality, keep learning and growing and loving every day of your life.
There’s no guarantee that if you do all of these alternatives you’ll live a healthy, happy 100 years or more. But you will enhance and improve the years you do live. And the best part is, the choice is yours.
(Adapted from Ron Kauffman, “Resources for Successful Aging.”)