Tag Archives: Anti Aging

Weddings and other foolish things

I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
A church filled with family and friends.
I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.

~Author Unknown

For four years I acted as the Wedding Coordinator at Old St Pauls a local historic church.  The church had been built in 1866 and was superseded in the 1970s by the new Cathedral of St Paul nearby.

Old St Pauls

But the old church was never de-consecrated and it continues to be used for weddings, whether civil or religious.  Weddings for all faiths have been held and during my tenure, we had between 90 and 100 weddings each year.

One memorable year we had 101 weddings, 28 of which were held in March.  On the 31st of the month, having coordinated 4 weddings and a rehearsal, I went home and dropped into a chair with a glass of wine.  I switched on the TV and horror of horrors the movie being played was ‘Four weddings and a Funeral”.

Of course, all brides are beautiful but I really think my own brides are just fabulous.

Bride

Daughter 1996

Our daughter, Cate was married on a glorious October day.  Early spring in New Zealand. The sun shone, the birds sang.  Proud father, mother and brother – what more could one ask?

Bride

Daughter in Law 1990

Our son and daughter-in-law Rose were married in March the beginning of autumn here in New Zealand. After days of pouring rain, the sun came out on this lovely bride, the sun shone, birds sang and both mother and father-in-law smiled on our new daughter.

But then I started thinking of other family weddings

Wedding photo

Our wedding 1957

We were married on a foggy, November Sunday afternoon in London in November in 1957.  At that time weddings were only ever performed in churches or other places of worship or Registry Offices and never on a Sunday.  Because of my Mother’s upbringing in the Jewish Faith, she wanted us to be married on Sunday and so we had to obtain the permission of the Archbishop for this.  And as the  wedding had to be completed prior to sunset and before the evening service it was at 4.45pm.

Parents wedding

My Parents 1935

My parents were married in 1935 in London.  Sorry about the quality of the photo.  It’s the best we could do.

My Mother was so tiny and on one of my visits to her, when she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s she told me she had a lovely dress upstairs that perhaps I would like.  I still have that beautifully hand-made silk dress.  She was so very tiny that none of us would ever have fitted into it.

Bob's Parents

Bob’s Parents

Bob’s parents were married in 1928 in Dunoon, Scotland but it was a short married life as she died some 4 years later.  She left a small son who was brought up by his two maiden aunts in the family home.

And here are a few true words from the late, great John Lennon, my favourite Beatle.

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant.You can’t just accept it and leave it in thecupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself.
You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
— John Lennon, musician, singer-songwriter 1940-1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

I Can See Clearly Now..

I can see clearly now the rain has gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head and you just can’t get rid of it.  If so you know just how annoying it can be.  This is also referred to as an earworm.  According to Wikipedia Earworm is a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm, and is a portion of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one’s mind, put colloquially as “music being stuck in one’s head.”

Like yawning, catchy tunes– especially those with words– seem to be contagious. Just mention a song like “Dancing Queen” from Abba, or how about “Bye Bye Love”?  Immediately someone within hearing distance will get it stuck in their head.

Well this is just such a song.  I Can See Clearly Now played on the radio at the weekend.  It was most appropriate.  The rain had stopped, the sun was shining and hey presto!

After the rain

After the rain

Look all around there’s nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead nothing but blue skies

If you don’t know this song listen here.  This is a version I hadn’t heard before but listen and then it will then bug you too.  (I do like to share with my friends).

What to do to get rid of the song?

  • Call a friend and talk about mundane, every day things – great while the conversation lasts but shortly after the song returns.
  • Read a book and have a cup of coffee – my most likely response to any stress
  • Take Lotte (my Tibetan Spaniel) for a walk
  • Do some laundry
  • Housework – my least likely response to any stress and while I am walking, doing laundry or housework the song is there still.

So for the rest of today I have to just put up with it.  However, it could be much worse.  Think of the ghastly songs that have been recorded.

I think I can make it now the pain has gone
And all of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day

Rainbow

The rain has gone

And from Oscar Wilde – “If one plays good music, people don’t listen and if one plays bad music people don’t talk. “

So excuse me now while I go to do the laundry – ugh!  Or another thought, perhaps I will read my book.  This is a much better option.


Happiness Is…

Happiness cannot be owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.  

So says one of my favourite authors – Denis Waitley, (born 1933),  American motivational speaker and writer.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep this definition of happiness with us at all times.  It seems that in this 21st Century we are all striving for something; something that we think will bring us happiness.  Is it a new job, more money, a new or old love or do we want to remove something such as excess weight.  But do we ever stop to ask ‘what is happiness?’

I have noticed in my life that happiness is different things to different people

  • The love of a mother for her new-born infant
  • Coming in out of the cold and/or rain
  • Being welcomed home with a roaring fire and a hot meal waiting
  • Seeing family members whom you haven’t seen for a while
  • Catching up with old friends
  • Catching the look in a small child’s eye at the first glimpse of snow and all the other ‘firsts’ with children
  • Children just being children
  • The smile on my grandsons’ faces when they see me

The list is endless and we all know what makes us happy.

“Being happy is something you have to learn.
I often surprise myself by saying “Wow, this is it. I guess I’m happy.
I’ve got a home I love. A career that I love.
I’m even feeling more and more at peace with myself.
If there’s something else to happiness, let me know. I’m ambitious for that, too. ” Harrison Ford, (born July 13, 1942) American film actor and producer.

And the road to ‘happiness’ is something we travel along each day.  Each little thing that makes us happy on our journey contributes to our overall happiness.  Happiness is not one thing it is made up of a series of often unrelated happenings that contribute to our happiness.

If the sages are to be believed happiness is a mental state of well-being characterised by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion.

In my life coaching practice I come across people who are convinced that they would be happy if only..  And I tell them that the authors of their happiness is themselves.  We all need to look inside ourselves and most of all we do need to remember all the things for which we are grateful.  Reading my Gratitude List makes me happy.

And one last quote from Groucho Marx, 1890 – 1977. American comedian and film star famed as a master of wit.

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself:
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.
I can choose which it shall be.
Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.
I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

Apologies for all the quotes today.  My children tell me I have a quote for every circumstance and happening.

 

Never Regret

The quote today is from Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand author, 1888-1923

Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back.  Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it, it’s only good for wallowing in.

After Robert died and during that time when I didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my life, I spent some time in the UK acting as companion to an elderly widow.  During the time I spent with her we became firm friends, even though she was a peremptory, demanding and often overbearing woman.

Mrs M and Mathilde

We found that we had a lot in common.  We were both independent women although she was years older than me, and had therefore been born in a different time and was of a different generation.

She was a teenager when World War II was declared.  At the time she had been traveling overland by car to Egypt in the company of two young men; one of whom was much later to become her husband. She had been told by the driver that she could accompany them on this journey but could only bring with her a small bag that she would hold at all times on her lap in the ‘dickie’ seat.  I can’t imagine what her father thought of that.

Although I tried on many occasions she wouldn’t allow me to document or record any of her reminisces about her early life.  I know it would have made fascinating reading.  I told her once that she made the Great Gatsby and his crowd sound dull.

She was quite fearless when I knew her, even though her health was breaking down and her mobility was impaired.  She certainly retained all her mental faculties and was another who completed the Times crossword on a daily basis.

And it is she who I have used as role model as I am aging.  She had many young friends, some as much as 30 years her junior.  She kept as active as she could and each time I was with her for a few months, we went out and about almost every day.  We discovered we had much in common.  A love of French film – she had spent long periods of time in Paris up to and after the war and so was fluent in French.  We discovered that we each had a love of the poems of Rupert Brooke, Longfellow, Percy Byshe Shelley and Tennyson.  I also discovered that she too loved the Turner paintings.  Luckily she lived quite close to Petworth House which houses the biggest collection of Turner paintings in the UK.   And I introduced her to Newbolt’s poem “The Fighting Temeraire’  which has been one of my all time favorites since we had to learn it so many years ago at school.

The Fighting Temeraire

So we had plenty to talk about during the long winter afternoons and evenings when we were confined to the house because of the English winter.

She taught me never to excuse or regret so I thought that Katherine Mansfield’s quote quite apt when I think about this lady.  And make no mistake, she was a lady.

She was adamant that she wanted to live on in her own house with a companion and any other helpers for as long as she could; and then she wanted to quietly pass away one night in her sleep.  She had her wish and died in her sleep but unfortunately, not in her own house but in a nursing home a few days after she moved in with her companion.

I think maybe she should also be on my gratitude list, along with my parents for the many things she taught me.  Take a look at my Gratitude List, I have made some additions.

Until tomorrow.

Chronology vs Biology

Ask any of your friends and colleagues if they think aging is something that can be controlled and most will say that nothing  can be done about it, that it simply happens and that’s that.

By now you will know that my answer to that is that they are wrong.  We may be lucky in having good, long life genes but the choices we make throughout our lives have a much greater impact than the genes we have been dealt.

We know that our bodies are continuously replacing cells and that billions of cells are turned over daily.  And for this reason, we need to be careful of the lifestyle choices we make.  As much as possible, we need to ensure that those choices are good and healthy ones because the renewal process works best if we provide the proper nutrients.

Added to this healthy lifestyle of exercise, what, how and when we eat, is the ever-present matter of our mind.

We now know that along with this cell regeneration our brain cells also can regenerate.  Much research has led to this discovery and many learned papers have been written on the subject.

I have no formal medical degree; no degree in neurology and would not presume to discuss this in detail but I am convinced that we can halt the deterioration of our mind, by simply taking care not to let our mind lie idle for any length of time.

My father at age 80 was diagnosed with macular degeneration and was told that he would inevitably go blind.  Now he was one of that older generation used to fending for himself.  He did the crossword every day without fail and as soon as discovered he had this condition he set about (with the help of my sister) training himself to do the crossword even though he would be unable to read the clues or see how the words fitted in.  To do this he would have my sister read the clues and over time became quite adept at completing the crossword.

You see, he had seen how the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease had robbed my mother of the use of her mind and was determined that it wouldn’t happen to him.  I am pleased to report that when he eventually left this earth at age 97 he was in total control of all his faculties.

So here was another example of what I should do with the rest of my life.

There is a difference between our chronological age and our biological age.  Chronological age is determined by calculating the years between the date of our birth and now; biological age is calculated by how old we are perceived to be.  This is based on how we appear, feel and act.  Unfortunately, these age barometers are not often in step.

I certainly don’t feel 72 (my chronological age) and according to those around me I don’t act that age.  So let’s see what we can do to improve our biological age while ignoring our chronological one.

Have you heard of Mavis Lindgren?  She is the 90-year-old marathon runner.  She retired in 1997 after running her 75th marathon.  This from Patrick Roden, A critical care nurse, who was a medical volunteer at the Portland Marathon of 1992 when he came to the aid of the celebrated 85-year-old marathoner, Mavis Lindgren

“What makes her story all the more exceptional to me is that at age 62, Mavis was leading a sedentary life, spending most of time reading, writing and knitting. She had suffered four bouts of pneumonia in five years and, as a retired nurse, she knew the antibiotics weren’t the long-term solution. Something had to change. A doctor urged her to join an early bird walking group. At age 70, encouraged by her son, she ran her first marathon! Two years later, she established a record of 4:33.05, and for the next eight years, held the world’s best time for women 70 and over. And at 84 she finished the Los Angeles Marathon

in 6 hours 45 minutes-the fastest woman in her age category. “After I started running, I never had another cold,” she said”

I am not suggesting that we all become marathon runners, but I do suggest that we take time to look at our sedentary lives and introduce a little exercise into them.