The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

February 19, 2013

Finding the fountain of youth

Are you searching for the fountain of youth? Think about it.

There is a point in life when we no longer are looking for youth, but survival. We have given up being young and will just settle for healthy. The way we look is not as important as the way we feel. The speed we accomplish something is not as relevant as completing a task.

None of us want to face a disability or handicap, but if it does come, then we want a way to cope with a setback and learn new ways. We all want to be able to take care of our daily routines, or have a loving spouse that will help with these chores.

Jim and I are facing a new era of our life. We are making adjustments in our routine. I had a good teacher, since my mother died of cancer and needed assistance a lot of the time. My older sister’s husband was ill for quite a long time after he had serious cancer and then Alzheimer’s disease. At first she placed him in a nursing home, but found she was there all the time tending to his needs, so she brought him home and tried again to care for him there. It finally became too much for her to do and both of them be safe, so she again placed him under someone else’s care. It was a very difficult decision for her.

The thing that bothered her the most was that when they took their wedding vows, they promised to love and care for each other in sickness and in health until death. Putting her husband in a special-care unit went against all she had always planned to do. That was just not in the plan, but sometimes it has to be. They were just searching for a new way of survival and could care less about the fountain of youth.

I learned so much from her about grief. I learned that there are some things worse than death. There comes a time when they are almost relieved when their loved one has passed this life, to another life of happiness with no more struggles or disabilities. I learned that the partner being gone does not mean they don’t miss him or her, but as a Christian, they know they are in a better place and at peace.

I don’t mean to be a negative about life and youth and our earthly existence, it is just that sometimes we have to accept what is and do the best we can. Life is precious!

Many diseases are brought on by our own habits and neglect. We just never dreamed that what we were doing to our bodies when we were young might affect us now. You have heard the expression, “If I’d known I was going to live so long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

Very likely, all of us could truthfully say that. Several of the diseases that disable or kill us are man-made. We might have prevented them had we known what the effects would have been.

Before the studies were done about smoking being harmful to our health, many of us smoked. Nearly everyone of my era did. In fact, cigarettes were dispensed to the military in World War II, no matter what the age of the soldier. Thank goodness, all of Jim’s buddies stopped when they realized the harm being done to their bodies they had tried so hard to save in battle.

In time, we may find that many of the additives in our foods are likewise harmful to our bodies. All the additives and sweeteners and colors and insecticides used to produce our foods may actually do more harm than good. They are a far cry from the fresh foods we ate on the farm that we produced ourselves. Milk was unpasteurized, but we had healthy cows. Our butter and cream and eggs were pure. Our vegetables were fresh and clean. Our meat was home-butchered from healthy animals. Now, I am not so sure, even though everything is supposedly tested by our government.

Jim and I come from a heritage of “long- livers.” Daddy died at 96, and Jim’s father lived to a ripe old age. I hope these factors help us live many more years together.

The way we grow old has to do with two very fundamental facts — genetics and the way we live. We have no control over who (or what) our parents were, but we can and should be in control of our own lives and the way we live.

The way we live can be broken down in several factors:

1. Watch our diets, including enough fiber and less fat. Curtail sweets. Eat fresh foods with lots of fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of water.

2. Exercise to the best of our physical capability. Keep moving and grooving.

3. Avoid poisons, chemicals, pollutants and smoke.

4. Maintain a positive outlook and attitude on life. Be happy. Laugh a lot.

5. Do work we enjoy and make a difference. Be useful.

6. Enjoy and love family and friends. Be kind. Be thoughtful.

Living a good life is as simple as that — and as difficult. Life is something we must work at all the time. There are no holidays from healthy living. And, I am sorry to have to tell you this, but there is no fountain of youth. Youth is a state of mind.

Some of the simplest foods are the best. They lack all the added things of questionable nature. Someone said, “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.” I have had a request for this recipe, and although I sent him a personal copy, I thought others might enjoy it again, too.

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