All four of my grandparents are deceased. How I wish I can magically make them appear, even for a day, just to ask them some questions. For they hold my wisdom. They hold the keys or the answers to my life’s questions. If you are lucky enough to have a grandparent(s) alive, run to them and just hear what they have to say about life. What you will learn will astound you.
Today, most of our elderly generation are on some kind of medication. In fact, it is my understanding that 1 out of 2 Americans is on some type of prescription medication. Unfortunately, side effects from long-term medications can affect the cognitive abilities of the brain. It is becoming increasingly important to extract vital “words of wisdom” from our elderly population before the information is forever lost. Therefore, I will be presenting a series of blog articles containing the interviews of both men and women in the richness of their later years, ages 70-100. Did I ever tell you how much I love my job? I get to be privy to such endearing, thought-provoking, inspirational and meaningful information…and I get to pass it all along to you…my readers. I am in no way judging or editing the information but presenting it to you as I heard it.
“I’m on the young side of old age,” is what I was told when I asked Frank Myers how old he was for this interview. The quote blew me away. It’s important to always view yourself as young, no matter what age you are. While you may look in the mirror and see a different face than you had thirty years ago, you can always be young on the inside. Fostering a positive attitude is an important aspect of aging. And….a little bit of a sense of humor helps too!
About Frank – I had the pleasure of interviewing Frank Myers at his office at SUNY Stony Brook. Frank is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus of political science. I bet you’re wondering why he has an office at the University if he is retired. He retired, after 47 years of teaching, to help take care of his wife of 54 years, who recently died of brain cancer. Frank is now hired at the same university as an adjunct. His life’s purpose has always been to teach and he loves everything about it. Teaching allows him the freedom to set his own agenda. It allows him to keep busy and has enabled him to have a good life.
Frank’s Tips –
1. It is important to learn to like the things that are good for you. – Frank models his diet after the Mediterranean food pyramid. He limits red meat, opting for mostly chicken and fish. He eats lots of fruits and vegetables and limits sweets and alcohol. Franks uses lots and lots of olive oil, opting to use it on an English muffin for breakfast instead of butter or margarine. Frank has made himself the exact same lunch for the past thirty years: V8 juice, plain non-fat yogurt, 2 pieces of fresh fruit and a piece of bread usually wholegrain. He didn’t like the yogurt so much in the beginning, but has “learned” to like it because he knows how good it is for him. This lunch, he states, keeps him going from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm without getting sleepy. Tip: You may not like everything that is considered “good” for you, but give it a chance, because over time you will learn to like it.
2. Teach your body who is boss – Your mind knows what’s best for the body. Frank walks one mile each day to and from work. He advocates walking as the best exercise for the body. It is important, he says, that you keep up with the walking even if it is bitter cold outside. It is important to show your body who is the boss. Tip: This is a typical example of mind over matter. You may have to exert yourself, but you will be much better off in the long run. Who’s the boss?
3. You have to live and enjoy things – …even if this means eating an occasional sweet. He enjoys eating sweets but does so in moderation. Other enjoyments in his life are his two daughters and three grandchildren. In addition, he enjoys cooking a good meal. Tip: It is important to find the things in life that give you pleasure and joy. You need not do them in excess, but rather in a way that brings you to the point of happiness and fulfillment.
4. Practice good hygiene –He believes flossing your teeth is essential to general health. If you do not floss at night, bacteria can build up on the food particles that are stuck between your teeth. You will inhale these bacteria all night as you sleep into the back of your throat and down to your lungs. This will weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to colds and viruses. He strongly recommends flossing your teeth every night. Tip: It is important, no matter what age, to take good care of yourself and practice good hygiene. Not taking care of yourself can lead to depression. It helps to develop a routine and stick to it.
5. “The most interesting things in life are sex and the 18th century” – This quote was made by a writer named Brigid Brophy. It speaks of love and romance. Frank is absolutely captivated by the 18th century. He loves to read about it. In addition, he loves classical music from the time period such as Beethoven , Gluck and especially Mozart. Frank adds, “Like so many others, I have a special attachment to Mozart. He’s really been a big part of my life.” It brings him such inner peace to go to an opera, listen to classical music or read about this time period. Tip: Find something you enjoy that soothes your soul. It can be something you do with other people or something you can do alone. Music has the power to inspire you, to soothe your soul and mind. So just take those old records off the shelf………
Frank’s Words of Wisdom – “The key to life is balance. Human beings must learn how to balance the body’s need for consistency with the mind’s need for variety.” Our bodies need consistency and routine. What that means is doing the same things at roughly the same time every day such as eating, sleeping, exercising, taking vitamins. However, your mind and your spirit need variety. If we don’t give the mind variety, we can become a bore. We need to find things that keep us perpetually interested in life such as socializing with family and friends, reading books, listening to music, etc. This will give us a positive outlook toward life. It becomes a challenge when the body cries for consistency and the mind cries for variety, such as when you travel. The mind is very happy when traveling because it gets to take in the beauty and richness of a new area. However, the body may not be so happy because you may be eating things you wouldn’t normally eat or sleeping off schedule. Frank says it’s crucial to find the balance between the two. This is the key to life……………
MORE INTERVIEWS TO COME!!