Thursday, May 13, 2010

Use It Or Lose It

Every so often I'll see someone on television or in the paper who has been able to use their gifts far longer than one would expect. I've never stopped marveling at people who, despite old age, continue to run in marathon races, or take to the ski slopes in their seventies and even eighties (and maybe beyond). Former President George H.W. Bush (the elder one who flew a Navy plane in World War Two) was in the news a while back because he took a parachute jump on his birthday and he has a lot of years behind him. If I were to take a parachute jump at my age I would probably not do well -- admittedly I'm well past my physical prime. However, I don't want to dwell on that - but at 82 and a half years of age, there are things I can't do any more. For instance, I don't hit the stairs at two or three steps at a time. I hung up my skis quite a while ago - but that wasn't to be accused of mental instability there are a lot of older people who don't want to be considered over the hill. At the same time, I must admit that in my case it is not a lack of interest but a lack of hills to ski on and the physical stamina and training to use them. I don't run much any more - but I DO like to walk. There's an old fitness trail not far from our condo and Joyce and I walk that when the weather allows (which has not been as much as I'd like this spring). We use the stairs most of the time even if there is a nice elevator at the end of the hall. And I use exercise equipment in the condo fitness room fairly often. I guess I can say I use my physical abilities as best I can.

But I also have tried to use my mind as best I can. I read a lot. I enjoy creating arts and crafts especially embroidery and crewel. Before some one says that sewing is girly stuff, I want to remind you that 'Rosie' Grier, a big hulking football player turned personal guard for President Kennedy was known to do embroidry I also really enjoy crossword puzzles. I/m not a champ at that but I hold my own - probably falling in the intermediate category. I'm not one to do the New York Times hard puzzles - but I don't enjoy the easy easy ones either.

I think that there is something to the old saying, 'use it or lose it'. If you don't continue to use a physical gift, chances are you'll lose it. Same thing with your brain - use it or lose it. That's why I enjoy artsy-craftsy stuff and why I enjoy writing. It keeps me mentally alert and keeps things like demensia and alzheimers disease at bay for as long as possible. I'd like to think that keeping the brain alive and well is one of the most important tasks we have in life. I've seen a lot of people who suffered physical limitations and still had a productive and enjoyable life because they continued to nurture and use their brain. So let me leave this blog with a reminder - that in life one needs to "use it - the brain - or lose it" Life is too short not to.

well, I don't want to be considered over the hill

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