Sitting on my balcony in downtown Denmark, WA, I watched a man cross the street. I would guess he was in his late sixties. He slowly shuffled, struggling to step up on the median curb. After gaining his balance, he stepped off the median curb and needed five or six small shuttle-steps to gain his balance to continue. He was carrying a few papers in his right hand that was shaking uncontrollably. He agonizingly climbed the curb on my side of the street and slowly carried on his way up the street.
I couldn’t help but wonder how frustrating life must be for this fellow. Not fifteen years older than me and so immobile. He will endure whatever time he has left on this planet unable to do the simplest of things: walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of a car, sipping a cup of tea. He is a prime candidate for a fall that could inevitably lead to a game-changing broken hip or some other debilitating injury.
Now I don’t know a thing about this guy. I saw him for all of fifteen seconds and don’t know his story. But one thing I do know is that none of us want to enter the twilight of our lives living with his apparent limitations.
Could he have done something in his past to have lived today with a different level of health? I have no idea.
But I do know that there are lifestyle habits we can all incorporate into our lives that can significantly improve the probability of NOT ending up with the apparent challenges this chap faces. The first and most important habit is to believe that aging doesn’t have to include a rapid decline of our physical being. Quite the opposite. Believe you will be strong, active, and vibrant to your final days.
This mindset is a huge first step.