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The Guilt of Growing Old

The Guilt of Growing Old

Throughout my younger years, I was non-stop packing my bags for that never-ending trip. You know, the big guilt trips.

It starts in childhood and never ends.

There was guilt about not finishing your meal, about not being in the Great Depression, about not doing homework, about being male, about not being a doctor, about earning too much money, about not earning enough money, etc. etc.

Now that I made it into my sixties, there is this latest guilt trip. The guilt over growing old.

Man, give me a break. I have dodged illness, beatings, accidents, injuries and even almost getting blown up…twice. So don’t go laying a heavy on me about being selfish for living longer. I am all for making room for younger people starting their careers or letting them work at jobs that I am bored of. There is no honour in blocking jobs for younger people or boring the heck out of them with old man ramblings.

And I sure the heck am not taking up space at the bars droning on about the glory days. Or taking up space in some social program.

Heck, no. It is time to learn more, change careers, write more books, train more people, see friends, travel, try a new martial art, cook, read and explore a hundred other avenues. And, of course, learn the secrets of a longer, healthier life.

But some choose the opposite route. A former friend of mine did this. He was formerly active, laugh-a-minute and wealthy. Then, stress and over-work drove him into diabetes, heart problems, depression and a host of other health problems. The same with a close relative, who drank herself into an early grave at the age of 48. And I don’t even want to mention the young soldiers whom took their own lives in their 20’s and 30’s.

These were all tragic and totally unnecessarily early deaths. Which is why I opt for living longer, better and smarter.

The knowledge is out there. It just takes some effort to find it. And my latest and greatest find to date has been certain mushrooms for immunity and mental clarity. I have been using Chaga and Reishi mushroom tea for immunity and, so far, it appears to be working pretty good. I have managed to avoid any serious illness for a couple of years now. And the the Lion’s Mane mushroom has proven to improve concentration and memory. Which is a big bonus, since I have been taking university courses. (Try these mushroom/herbs. They are amazing.)

To handle knee and back pain, I have shifted from distance running to cycling, Pilates, kettle bell and body weight exercises. My joints hurt less and my strength and stamina remain good enough to instruct fitness and ride 58 kilometres without much problem.

How about yourself? What changes are you making in your work, living, eating and exercise to improve your later years?

I sought out the answers and picked up a few that did not involved lengthy fasting, vegan diets or hours of exercise and therapy.

After interviews with fit former soldiers, dancers, body builders, an Iron Man Competitor and athletes, who are past the half-century mark, I put together a an easy-read book: Flat Gut After 50.

Growing old is not for everybody. And there should not be any guilt attached. You should be congratulating yourself for getting this far. There is more to come and I am looking forward to it.

Like the Madonna song, Die Another Day. Particularly the part that says, “It’s not my time to go.”

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Ever watch some people (maybe even you), struggle with abdominal exercises? Half the time they are doing the exercise wrong and the other half is what makes them gasp for air.

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L-Seat, age 50
Doug performing the L-seat, age 50

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