Baby Boomer’s—It’s Time to Forget 2020 and Embrace 2021
“Live your life and forget your age”
Norman Vincent Peale
This past year has been like no other in our lifetime. We’ve talked about it countless times and it’s still a difficult pill to swallow. So then we look to 2021 which we are totally immersed five months into it, it’s almost Memorial Weekend for goodness sakes. And yet, 2021is unfolding as a year of chaos from all fronts, the news media, the constant and jarring alerts on our smart phones, an unmeasurable amount of daily email alerts and now it seems they’re killing more trees because the mail has increased with all kinds of non-sensical advertising.
The people I encounter seem removed and their eyes appear lifeless. Of course, here in California we still have mask mandates so that is really all we can see of their faces. But honestly, the droopy eyes are a sign of fatigue—people are just plain tired of living with this pandemic and the countless starts and stops for correct behavior.
Yes, our life has been about all that. I found myself stumped what to write about this week, so the only course of action that made sense to me is to write about those THINGS I CAN CONTROL IN MY LIFE. My BoomerGuy and I talk about this all the time and we agree we want health, wellness, family and friends, security and to age gracefully. Who doesn’t? But it does seem quite a few people have lost their way over this past year and a half, and I would like to help them regain their direction and traction.
So the question: what might we add to make our lives better and what do we need to delete. It is entirely up to us to thrive and not go to pieces, and based on the first two paragraphs above, it would be easy to just let go. However, you know me well-enough by now that is not an option—I don’t give up and neither should nor will you.
“I’m 60 years old, that’s 16 Celsius”
Also, you know I’m always good for giving tips on addressing our health and aging, so here goes.
STAY HYDRATED. Especially with summer right around the corner. You can live for a time without food, but you won’t last long without water. It is the natural lubricant for your body keeping your internal organs in working order and your brain functioning at its peak. You might think you’re drinking enough water, but chances are your body could use more. Start early in the day after your morning coffee. You’ll notice a big difference in your skin, your overall metabolism and your mental well-being. Basically water is life in liquid form and you need as much of the stuff as you can get.
One important note here. A large glass of water before a meal helps with appetite control, and goodness, at our age we definitely need more of that.
USE SUNSCREEN. Don’t think for a minute at our age we don’t need that protection. The last thing we need to do is trigger unwanted brown spots and anything related to precancerous spots. Make sure you shout out to your children and grandchildren the importance of sunscreen, with an SPF rating of at least 50. The sun is an excellent source of Vitamin D, but it also delivers harmful UV rays. By all means get your Vitamin D and prevent those UV rays from harming our bodies by using sunscreen. And don’t forget, cloudy days can be just as unhealthy for our skin, so lube up Boomers.
WEAR SUNGLASSES. Even when you go out to get the mail! I simply can’t believe the number of people who run around without eye protection. Those same UV rays that pelt our skin also damage our eyes without proper shielding. The number of cases of macular degeneration is increasing among our age group and the results can be directly related to proper eyecare. Never leave home without them and keep a spare in your autos for emergency use purposes. In my case, I often leave them someplace or they wear out from use or when continually I pull them out of my purse. Keep those spares handy.
HERE’S A DELETE—STOP SMOKING. Come on folks, this is the 21st century and there is more than enough evidence of the truly dangerous effects of smoking, and don’t endanger your children and grandchildren with second-hand smoke. Your chances of developing lung cancer and other respiratory diseases increase significantly. It’s been shown that smoking will make your skin appear sallow and dull, which in turn will make you look older.
As for me, yes in my 20’s I used to smoke a cigarette here and there, and usually when I was stressed. I hated the smell in my hair and on my clothes. That was the only bad habit in my 20’s. LOL. I thought it was chic and cool, and soon realized it wasn’t especially when I was with people who didn’t smoke. Quitting can be difficult, and failing to do so can happen, but you can kick the habit. Do it for yourself and for those who love you.
TAKE OILY SUPPLEMENTS. I am certainly not prescribing, but various oils can be good for your body, inside and out. Omega-rich fish oils contain fatty acids that are essential in the prevention and management of heart disease. As oils are good for your insides, they are also good for your outside too. Applying omega-rich oils like rosehip oil or argan oil to your face and hands can help you achieve a more youthful appearance.
EXERCISE. Yada, Yada, Yada. The old wisdom of exercise. Well, let me tell you as an experienced exerciser. When I don’t I feel lousy, when I do I feel great. It is truly essential for healthy living.
Exercise isn’t just for weight management but working an exercise routine into your life-style will help you maintain healthy blood pressure which is essential for a healthy heart. Heart disease is the Number One cause of death in America, so anything you can do to make your heart healthier will help you live longer. Pick one or two that make you happy and for which you can see results. I can assure you, if you feel better you will definitely look better.
MAINTAIN YOUR SOCIAL LIFE. Ah, the dreaded conundrum. Should we or shouldn’t we continue to practice social distancing. Should we or shouldn’t we stay away from friends and family. I’m not about to give you any advice that would be contrary to the CDC or other healthcare professionals, but I think it’s essential for us to maintain an “in-person and in-touch” life-style, even if it means wearing a mask and bumping elbows rather than shaking hands.
It does appear our country is beginning to loosen restrictions, so don’t be surprised if your children and grandchildren come knocking on your door. Everyone is anxious to resume some factor of normalcy, so get with your friends and have lunch or dinner or meet for coffee and treats. People who age gracefully claim that having friends and widening their network of support and communication has helped them destress and enjoy their aging years.
DRINK LESS ALCOHOL. I’m certainly not telling you to give up alcohol, just drink less of it. Moderation is the key. It’s great to unwind at the end of the day or when out socializing. It consists of empty calories, so you might experience incremental weight gain. It doesn’t replace good ol’ water, and it doesn’t help you attain that youthful appearance. Some experts say a glass of red wine with dinner is good for your heart.
FIND A FURRY FRIEND. Many people our age who have stayed looking and feeling young say that owning a pet keeps them on their toes.
Owning a dog forces you to go outside for regular walks and if you’re alone you have something to take care of other than just yourself. Pets can be a source of comfort and therapy. You can speak to them, cuddle them, nurture them and they will do the same for you in spades.
NEVER STOP SMILING. Nothing can age you faster than a downturn in your smile. It resonates through your entire body and gives off warming signs to others that you’re not happy, angry and just down-right cantankerous. Wow. Who wants to be around someone like that?
“Good looks may fade, but a good heart keeps you beautiful forever”
Contrary to popular opinion, smiling does not increase “smile lines.” Smiling is actually the easiest way to look and feel younger. If you have smile lines, be thankful, because they tell a lot about you. You’ve lived a full life and happy life. And don’t forget to laugh.
Boomers, these are just a few tips I wanted to share to close out this message of aging gracefully. There is no substitute for enjoying mother nature, so get outside and enjoy the fresh air. We survived these past 15 months; we can make it through anything.