Aduke, Billy and Eki sit together for a chat on the deck of their Mediterranean ship cruise, sipping smoothies and juices with finger foods. Their school leaving set had arranged this reunion cruise to mark 50 years of graduation from high school. They are all in their late sixties and generally relaxed. After reminiscing over their days in school, they settle down to catch up on their current realities and status. Aduke starts by sharing the pictures of her four adorable grandchildren which are captured on her I-pad. A retired school teacher, she explains that they are the high point of her days since her husband passed on about a decade ago. She explains that her daily routine comprises waking up at 7a.m to perform her daily devotion after which she tends her garden of flowers and vegetables. Breakfast follows at about 10 a.m. consisting of a fruit of choice and healthy portions of bean derivatives like bean cake (akara), moin-moin, or ewa agoyin with corn pap or oats. After that, she updates herself with posts on her phone and e-mails before reading the news. By 1 p.m. she prepares for the driver to pick up the grandchildren from school starting with those in kindergarten, primary and secondary school, in that order. Once they are back from school, it is both physically and mentally exhausting to keep pace with their energy, their discussions, assignments, intellectual discourse, etc. She manages to take a one-hour nap at 5 p.m. She then has an early dinner at about 6.30 p.m. consisting of a decent mix of vegetables with chicken or fish. She wishes the children goodnight as their parents pick them up and she winds down by watching TV or a movie before taking her nightcap of cocoa at bedtime which is 11 p.m. Of course, she finds time for social activities especially on some weekends while her mid-week and Sunday worship service are a must.
Billy responds to Aduke with, “no wonder you are glowing with joy and fulfillment. I have always wondered about the flowers and greenery on your DP (Display Picture). They would make the best florists envious”. “As for me, since my retirement as Executive Director with the bank, I started a Financial Consultancy business which keeps me on my toes. I currently employ a staff complement of 12 persons although I am gradually taking a back seat in running the business. I have 2 senior partners and only handle referrals when I work twice in the week. I cannot miss my early morning one-hour daily walk at about 7 a.m. Exercise energises me and stimulates me mentally. My interaction with my staff who are largely youth keeps me updated and relevant to today’s world. Of course, I keep spiritually in tune by observing my “Salat” and “Jum’a” prayers and have been observing a Mediterranean diet for the last five years which has kept my weight, blood pressure and cholesterol in check. My annual medical check-up has so far given me a clean bill of health and I pray this continues. Hey Eki…the big fish, do you still swim?”
“Our darling boisterous Senior Prefect Billy, yes I still swim, though not nearly as much as I used to” Eki responds with a laugh. “You know as a Geriatrician, I take care of all of us now, in quotes. My work entails medical care of the elderly and treatment of age-related ailments. One thing however stands clear, aside from genetically transferred ailments, our quality of health is largely dependent on making the right choices e.g., eating the right foods, abstaining from harmful habits, developing the right exercise regimen, Proper sleep and rest habits, indulging in mental stimulation, maintaining spiritual and social relationships, etc. In simple terms, indulging in the right lifestyle, devoid of unnecessary stress and rancour. Even where we have a genetic predisposition to an ailment, it can be managed by adopting the right lifestyle changes”.
Eki continues “clearly, we all have different thresholds and must each discover what works for us and gives us the right level of wellness. My rule of the thumb is to do everything in moderation having in mind that what I consider moderate, you may find excessive. Some of the more general rules are as follows:
- Reduce consumption of red meat and include more vegetables and fruit in your diet. Vitamin Supplements are also a useful addition. Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
- Reduce sugar and salt and other additives and derivatives as well as the consumption of flour products.
- Try to exercise moderately daily. An exercise regimen that does not involve much strain is recommended e.g., walking, household chores, gardening, etc.
- Sleep for about 8 hours daily.
- Indulge in mentally stimulating exercises including games and quizzes that require mental involvement.
- Social interactions and giving back to society/the community.
- Regularly check your vital signs and have a comprehensive annual medical check-up.
- Spiritual engagement on a regular basis.
However, as in all things, we can only play our part and trust God for the rest”.
2 thoughts on “THE GOLDEN YEARS”
They all surely are doing the right things. As one who clocked 70 this year, I’m still working. Thank God that my job gives no stress by and large. I work at night and I get to sleep. On my way home, I go to a park to walk and and make sure I sleep some hours before going to work. I do things in moderation and very careful of my eating. I’m regularly in touch with family and friends. My only child is young and keeps me going too. To the glory of God’s name, I’m healthier and more active now than I was in my 50s.
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Wow…congratulations ma. Its good to know that we can always retrace our steps and end up healthier as we advance in age. Wishing you many years of graceful aging ma.