Encouraging people to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

A Potted Plant...

Recently, I heard a very funny woman on NPR describing choices we must make as we age.  She was emphasizing one very important choice: either (a) exercising and following good health regimens or (b) accepting that in the future we may resemble a potted plant – as in, “Move Mom over here by the window, so she can see outside!”  I think this image is a powerful one.

I’ve occasionally posed this choice to clients by asking how they would react if I had a magic wand and waved it over their heads saying, “You will live to be 105!”  After they had time to think about this rather unusual idea, I told them the punch line:  “Ah, but I didn’t say anything about the quality of life you would be having at 90 or 100 or 105.”  
Many of us are living to be 105 – you may know someone who is around that age.  And many of us delight in the possibility of such a long life.  Until we examine the rest of the story:  What is to be the quality of our lives?  Will we be truly living?  Will we be mobile?  Active?  Involved and engaged with others?   Or will we more closely resemble the potted plant?  
The picture may be crude and even cruel, and I apologize.  However, I am going to buy - for myself - a miniature potted plant and place it in the bathroom.  My idea is that – when I look at my reflection and I’m thinking (with a sigh), “I don’t want to go to the gym.  It’s so boring.”  “I don’t want to take a walk around the neighborhood.  It’s too (pick one:  hot, cold, early, late).  “I don’t want to go to personal training.  So what if my posture gets out of line.  I’m old and who cares?”  I will see the potted plant.  I will remind myself that muscles atrophy when they are not used.   I’ll remind myself that, should I be fortunate enough to live to 90, 100, etc., I want to be truly alive.  I want to be moving the plants around in my garden.  I don’t want to be moved by someone else, no matter how caring they are.

I heartily recommend Mayo Clinic’s book on healthy aging.  In Chapter 8, I read that exercise is “an equal opportunity activity.”  They encourage “good, old-fashioned, sweat-inducing exercise” as the most important thing one can do to live well.  They also have suggestions about strength and balance training.  
OK, hopefully, you have now decided to take care of your body and get that important exercise. Please remember to enhance your support system and engage with others often. Finally, meditation and quite times for reflection can provide peace and wisdom.

To read more about meditation click this link:
Making a Ritual for Meditation
P.S.: I'm excited that I found the perfect miniature potted plant
and I'm keeping it in a prominent spot as a reminder! 

More book recommendations from Terry:

I have recently enjoyed two novels by Fredrik Backman which tie into Kendra's "potted plant" analogy :

Britt-Marie Was Here  "an irresistible novel about finding love and second chances in the most unlikely of places."
“The journey is just beautiful. I laughed out loud many times and then cried many more. This story will pull at your heartstrings at times.” (Books are the New Black)

A Man Called Ove He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.”

“You will laugh, you will cry, as his heartbreaking story unfolds through the diverse cast of characters that enter his life, all uninvited. You will never look at the grumpy people who come into your life in quite the same way. A very memorable read."
(San Diego Union Tribune, Best Books of 2015)
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