I strive to live life on my terms. In fact, my strong desire to always be independent and the master of my own destiny sometimes causes friction with those I love. But the reality is I am not different than most Americans. I mean our founding fathers extricated us from the heavy hand of England and we have never looked back. We love our independence.
This issue is in front of me more now than ever as I approach my 60th birthday. My plan is to not relinquish driving my own destiny for as long as I can. We all struggle with who we are during major life transitions. I figure sharing mine with you is my way to work out my game plan for the next phase of my life. So here goes.
My strategy starts with reflecting on when I felt my strongest, most independent in my life. It certainly wasn’t the first two decades of life. In fact, I don’t recall feeling like ‘I got this’ till my 30s when my career and personal life were in full swing. In my 30s I was physically, mentally and emotionally strong to handle the complexities of adult life with confidence. Now thirty years later I am eager to recapture that gusto and feel that same Mary Tyler Moore when tossing confidence and grace. I can do it! How about you?
To regain my physical prowess after decades of wear and tear. I have no illusions that my body will have the perkiness of the past, my goal is to have the strength and balance skills that will keep me from falling down. I know that exercise is not just for the body, it also boosts brain functioning and serotonin levels. Another bonus comes from research from the Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Prevention Foundation that my efforts should reduce my risk of dementia by 50% if I keep up my exercise program.
To optimize my bedroom time. Getting a good night sleep every night is my goal. I have re-arranged my medication schedule to reduce any side effects that could impact my sleep. In fact, I am embracing the happy hour concept as the only time I can drink. Night caps play well in the movies, but research shows that alcohol negatively affects a restful night sleep. I am trying to retrain myself not to read in bed, watch television or view any electronic screen because that too can impact how well I rest.
I am a work in progress just like you. I want to remain independent till I take my last breath. I know I am not alone. My father was the same way, the day he was died, on hospice care, he snuck out of bed and shaved. It is in my DNA. I hope it is in yours as well.
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