Don’t Fear Change And Choose Your Friends Wisely, If You Want To Handle Aging Well

Fear of change

For a life well lived don’t fear change, and change your friends if necessary.

Gaussian life by FitOldDog

Click image for a closer look.

Each phase of life comes and goes in a Gaussian curve kind of way, as I wrote in a previous blog post. Entering and leaving each phase involves some adaptation, making the absence of misoneism (fear of change) on your part a critical skill for continued happiness, especially as you age.

The real trick is to keep your mind AND your body alive, though I prefer to think of the mind-body as a single unit.

Think about it. You store emotions in the body, while physical activity demands that muscles, tendons, bones and fascia act in a coordinated way, that to some degree must be independent of that great conductor, the nervous system.

boy with wine picture

I see myself as boy in that picture, not that I ever carried a bottle of wine at that age in England.

I played the flute in small orchestras for about 10 years, and the absence of the conductor, due to illness or other emergency, didn’t prevent the music from moving along some nights, especially if we were all familiar with the piece. I often wonder how much thinking actually goes on outside of our central nervous systems.

But how to keep the mind-body alive? Use it, and use it wisely. Your physical self will eventually decay as senescence sets in, but you can most certainly stave it off with a little work.

Stay aware of each day, have interesting goals, help some people, non-human animals and plants each day. Grow your own vegetables if you can (remember Candide at the end of his life’s journey).

Today we had a lovely walk in the snow with our two dogs, enjoying the scenery, to arrive at Johnny’s Coffee Shop, after about 1.5 hours on the trails, for company and a coffee.

We made it happen. Could we do that without a little exercise? Could we negotiate the rocky, icy terrain without some balance skills, strong bones and legs? No way!

The Goldfinch Painting

A beautiful but sad picture. This bird should be free, not on a chain. So, don’t chain yourself down by lack of mental and physical activity, my friends.

Like Jacob Marley, in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens,

and unlike the little bird in the adjacent picture,

we weave our own mental and physical chains in life,

with which we have to live in old age.

One distinct change I have noticed as I arrived in my 70s, is how my body fails to handle alcohol like it did, years ago.

I enjoy a glass of red wine from time to time, but not three anymore. I substitute training and a good book, and boy am I reading a great book right now. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, kindly recommended by a friend, and athlete, Tracey.

Willbe Bolin Creek 300What I’m reminded of by the skilled writing of Donna Tartt is the impact of the people with whom we associate on who we become. You can’t help but be shaped by those you hang out with. They will affect how you exercise and how you think, so chose your companions wisely. Furthermore, remember the danger of imprisoning yourself in a feeble body or a rigid mind, because it will accelerate your journey to an enfeebled, limited old age.

Stay in shape, resist misoneism, keep an active and open mind, and live your life to the full, before you miss it.

And remember, to perform well, hang out with people who perform well.


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.