Posts Tagged ‘Healthy living’

The Power of Community

It occurs to me  that a blog devoted to healthy eating and healthy living should say something about healthy aging. And I couldn’t write about healthy aging without writing about my mother and about the power of community.

Some longevity  experts say that a major factor in healthy aging is how many people you spend time with and how much you enjoy their company.  My mother enjoys the company of a wide variety of people, and loves to meet new people.  And so, despite some health habits that make me roll my eyes, she continues to thrive.

Recently I returned to Louisiana  for my mother‘s 85th birthday party. She had just come back from three weeks in Hawaii, where she spends time every winter.  All her family members were there, and friends of all ages.  Unfortunately, my father was not there. He died a few years ago, a crushing blow for the whole family. But my mother survived. My mother did not stop enjoying community when she outlived her old friends. She made new friends.  She continues to travel, both with others and by herself, and develops new interests.  She has never completely retired, and keeps in touch with colleagues.  She relishes her electronic devices and how they keep her in touch with the news and with others. She invests her money wisely and sets a good example about careful stewardship.

It’s hard for me to refrain from nagging her about her poor diet and lack of physical exercise.  But it is increasingly clear to me that I should just keep my mouth shut, because she is doing fine.  There are a lot of different ways to be healthy, and not all of them involve aerobic exercise or leafy green vegetables, although I am pleased to say that recently she has taken to a drink made from leafy greens.  Generally she eats what she wants to eat, drinks a small amount of very good wine, and enjoys her surroundings.  She attends to her medical needs but neither fetishizes them nor complains very much about them. She is by no means unaware of life’s dark undertow, but she enjoys her time in the light.  And that might be the best and most enduring definition of health that I know of.