An example of Ageing With Vitality Monty Shulberg.
The Years pass by
How quickly we dare not say
They come and go
A journey that seems so long
But stay strong
‘Cos the moon not visible in the day
Spreading its beauty just at night
Charming and bright
Painting and poem by Monty Shulberg.
In the last three months, I have met a remarkable man; Monty Shulberg.
He is an artist, and wonderful conversationalist, and also a poet it seems. And he is ageing with vitality. He is 91 years of age.
He is frail in body and also is in the early stages of dementia. But he is out and about, and is a remarkable man, and not ruled by disabilities. He uses a frame to walk and seems to know a lot of people.
I feel so privileged to have met Monty, and we meet regularly, sometimes with Tom, my husband, either in Tavistock where he lives or in Plymouth, to chat about the meaning of life. We have so much in common on that ground,
His history is of teaching deaf children to listen with vibration. He was trained as an audiologist and travelled all over the world, helping parents and children when it seemed that others had given up on them.
Hence the painting at the bottom which he titled “The Sorcerers Apprentice” Which spoke to me from a shelf in a coffee shop in Tavistock. I like to think that it was Monty speaking to me because I contacted him for details of the price and we met up and bonded straight away.
For more on Monty, and to see more of his paintings, here is his twitter account.
Before you embark on any programme for losing weight, it is worth while asking yourself why?
Once you decide that you are in no doubt that you want or need to lose, and you are not just jumping on the proverbial bandwagon of not accepting and loving yourself, the next step is to make an intent. But we shall talk about that in another article.
There are many reasons why people want to lose weight. Among them are the following:
A special occasion
Your own wedding
Modelling or dancing
You are obese or really overweight
You just want to have a flat belly
Post baby fat.
Post illness or surgery
Read on and consider which ones you think apply to you.
Do you look at yourself in the mirror and wish you were seven pounds or so lighter?
Are you being realistic about this?
Have you ever been 7lbs lighter than you are today?
If so, how long ago was it?
Do you have two sets of clothes, one each of the bearing of the 7lbs, or its absence when you have starved it off?
Will being 7lbs lighter help with all other problems in your life? If so, which ones are they?
Would you really be healthier? Would the 7lbs less help with such things as arthritis, for instance?
How would you plan to lose the 7lbs?
What are your plans for your future eating habits, when you have lost it?
In this day of television, magazines and social networks, it is becoming more common for girls even at the age of ten to be looking at themselves and asking their friends if they are fat. Recently I was with a thirteen-year old in a restaurant, asking her mother how many calories were in a particular food on the menu. She has taken on board the message that to have a rounded womanly body is unacceptable.
Young girls talk endlessly about what they look like in a particular outfit, fretting more about whether it makes them look fatter than the colour or style. A lot of damage is done through peer pressure, and a lot of misinformation is handed out too!
People suffering from eating disorders, such as Anorexia or Bulimia often begin their problems by worrying about calories. But losing weight by counting calories is a myth and this subject will be covered in more detail later in the book.
Consider how much you allow other people to influence what size you think you should be.
Nearly every day newspapers or magazines feature a celebrity who has either put on or lost weight. Too much on or too much off. Do you think it is fair that these celebrities have to live their lives forever having to worry about being caught on camera and personal details about their bodies discussed by all? Sometimes it can just be the camera angle. Or a certain look on their faces and the camera has caught something that the journalist interprets the wrong way. But it sells papers, and that is the excuse they give time and time again!
What is so tragic about this is that people are taken in, especially young girls and increasingly young men too. In June 2012, there was a story about a fourteen-year old girl who had committed suicide. She had developed Bulimia and even though she was beautiful, she had been worried about her weight. She had ended up loathing herself! After this event, one or two magazines started to change their ways, but still the tendency is to spot the skinny celebrity and how she did it.
Consider what you think about how the media treats celebrities.
Which magazines could be having a negative influence on you and how you perceive your body?
A SPECIAL OCCASION
Do you have a holiday coming up?
Are you going to a friend or a relative’s wedding?
Are you going to be the mother of the bride?
So you want to lose weight for that. Do you really think so? Because if you are only losing the weight for the holiday bikini then you will most likely soon put it back on again. If you buy an outfit for the wedding, lose the weight, look and feel your best after a lot of starvation and then put it all on again, would you consider that to be a waste of time and money? The outfit worn only once ends up at the back of the wardrobe!
Consider how many times you have done this, or know someone who has.
YOUR OWN WEDDING
You really want to lose weight so that you will look your best on the big day, which is understandable, and many people do it. But my observation is this; time and time again, the bride or groom or even both go on a diet. They may even join a slimming club to do it.
They get down to the desired weight, and they walk down the aisle looking their very best. Then when the reception starts, it is time to let their hair down, and all thoughts of the diet are put into the past, and forgotten. It doesn’t matter anymore; they achieved their goal for the day so now it’s time to eat, drink and be merry. The diet is over and within a matter of days the weight starts to go back on and within weeks they are right back to where they started before the diet!
Why do people do this? After all, the couple loved one another enough to decide to get married before the diet! They then decided that they really needed to change. They needed to look better than they already did. So in order to commit to each other they needed to look different?
That one day as a slim person was good. They looked good. They were slim. But suddenly once they were married it didn’t matter. By losing that weight, they lowered their metabolism. Their bodies went into famine mode and started to preserve every little bit of fat, and from the wedding onwards it is downhill all the way! They have got themselves into a lifetime of struggling with their weight for the sake of one day!
What are your thoughts about this?
Have you or someone you know ever lost weight for their wedding?
How successful were they and did they keep the weight off afterwards?
What excuses did they have if they put it back on?
Do you consider that it was worth it?
Are you thinking of losing weight for your own wedding? If so, maybe you could consider what I have just said and decide that this won’t be just another diet, but will be a change of
MODELLING OR DANCING.
Many people in these professions are living on starvation diets. They strive to be an unrealistic weight, which can lead them to becoming emaciated. Models have become so thin that they seem to look all skin and bones. Eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia are very common within these professions.
Have you or someone you know been in danger of doing this?
In these cases, many people need professional help.
What are your thoughts about this?
YOU ARE OBESE OR REALLY OVERWEIGHT
Now we come to the people who really need to lose weight. They are obese or overweight more than the odd stone. They may have already been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Perhaps they may have had a heart attack or some other heart problem.
Or they might have got to the point where getting about is very difficult. Seats on public transport are getting too small, or they cannot walk very well. Their joints are playing up and painful.
These people have a vast choice in how they are going to do it. There are so many diets around that they just do not know where to start. Each diet is giving them different information.
The magazines feature people who have lost the weight, and they look terrific! I featured in one myself and had a wonderful day having a makeover and being pampered for the photo shoot, and it made me feel fantastic!
Bookshops and the internet abound with different diets. Headlines in the paper scream at you. Special editions include a new diet. But most of them are just a different version of a low calorie regime.
Whichever diet you choose, if you survive beyond the first few days and stick to it strictly, and it is your first diet, you will lose weight. You may lose 10% of the weight you want; you may lose it all. If you do get close to your goal, you may find losing the last few pounds just as big a struggle as the whole diet put together.
If you are with a slimming club, you may, as I have a few times, have the members cheering and clapping when you can shout “I’ve done it!” It’s a great feeling! Then the leader hands you your badge and explains the maintenance programme, and so begins the struggle to keep the weight off!
However, it is well known that 98% of people who lose weight this way put it back on again and many people put on even more than they have lost. I don’t want to play devil’s advocate here for those who are perhaps already struggling with losing weight on a diet, but you may want to think about what you are going to do when you reach your goal.
I am not saying at this point that you should abandon what you are doing. Just consider what you are doing is for life, and use the thoughts in this book to help you to map it out.
Find a way of eating that will be for life and not just to lose weight.
Remember the statistics say that 98% of people who lose weight, put it back on again and more besides.
This is because they are not adopting a new lifestyle and way of eating and the way that they think!This is worth repeating.
Think about your plans to keep the weight off, once you have lost it.
Read and research to find out what you will think would suit you if you could choose how to do this.
This book will give you a framework to make a start on designing a diet for life.
POST BABY FAT
Women are designed to have babies! Even if they do not want a baby by choice or cannot have them for some reason, women’s bodies have all the biological necessities for reproduction. Even before you conceive, your body prepares itself every month, just in case.
Women’s hips are wider than men’s. Her thighs are thicker. (That is why you will find that if you try to wear men’s jeans the waist is disproportionate to the hips and thighs.)
Her fat storage system is different; that is why men lose weight more easily than women.
When she has given birth, she is expected in nature to breastfeed the baby. So she preserves her fat and needs nourishing foods to do that.
The womb takes six weeks to revert to its nearly normal size. She has flabby skin around the abdominal area, which if she is lucky or works out at the gym will gradually retract back and leave her with a reasonably flat stomach. But most women find it very difficult and may not ever get that flat stomach back. So what do women do?
A lot of them put up with it, because they are too busy or tired to do anything about it, which is natural.
Or they go on a restrictive slimming diet!
Consequently, they are not getting the proper nourishment that their body needs at this time. Often they just give up and stuff themselves with takeaways or whatever they can get their hands on!
Women can end up feeling that somehow there is something wrong with them, when they see celebrities getting their figures back within a very short time. They fret and worry and talk endlessly about getting to the gym to get back in shape. Why?
I wonder if it is because they are trying to live up to a higher standard than nature intends. If she eats properly with good, nourishing, real food, she will find that she is nourishing the baby properly, and herself and her family. She won’t have to join a gym for weight loss, although she may want to tone up! She certainly will not do all this on crisps and takeaways!
But she will stand a better chance of gradually toning up and being healthy if she does not go onto a restrictive calorie counted diet.
If you have recently had a baby and are struggling with this, what ideas have you had to lose weight?
Do you have a plan for healthy eating?
AFTER ILLNESS OR SURGERY
Due to lack of mobility, boredom or just people bringing them too many chocolates, people often lose weight at first during an illness or after surgery and then proceed to put it back on and more besides.
Women who have had a hysterectomy often put weight on due to hormones being disrupted and causing depression, but more often than not it is because of eating comfort foods and because of boredom. However, if it is just the hormones then the amount of weight increase should be no more than about 5 lbs.
This can apply to any weight gain when hormones are involved, including taking the contraceptive pill. Many people who are grossly overweight will blame the fact that they are on the pill. But the difference is really only a few pounds.
I’m afraid that the rest is because of what they eat, which is more than likely processed, refined carbohydrate.
Take an honest look at the reasons why you think you may have put on weight if you have suffered from an illness or disability.
I JUST WANT TO HAVE A FLAT BELLY.
Nature designed women to be rounded. Only fifty years ago, Marilyn Monroe was hailed as a star. She would be referred to as a celebrity in modern times, but Marilyn was outstanding. The reason for this was her figure, of full breasts, narrow waist, wide hips, and a rounded belly.
What was referred to as an hour glass figure.
She was the equivalent of a size fourteen these days.
Not that we have to put up with a bulging belly, but we were not designed to have the flat belly that we seem to think we should have!
Now, fifty years later women have become famous for being the opposite. They want to look boyish, and they want to “choose” how to look. Fighting against what nature designed them to be. If they have big breasts, they want small ones, or if they have small breasts, they want big ones. They certainly do not want a rounded belly!
The Oxford Companion to the Body, which can be found on the internet, talks about the extremes that people go to, to change their body shape. Extreme dieting leads on to Eating disorders.
Plastic surgery is used to the ultimate degree, not only changing noses or face lifts, but tummy tucks, thigh tucks and so on. Millions of pounds and dollars are spent on trying to look good.
There is more and more discontent with the way we look. Some older celebrities look hideous as they attempt to hold back time.
Although much of this reading is directed towards women, men reading this can read between the lines and see where it can apply to them too. Men of course need to look at their belly, as that is where they generally store their fat. .
Many of us have lost the ability to accept our bodies and images for what they are. Society is obsessed with being thin. Lives are dominated by diets, what to eat and what not to eat.
Yet we are still in the midst of an Obesity Epidemic!
We have wandered far away from being natural humans. Our stores are full of junk food. Our bodies are unacceptable. We need to get back nearer to what nature provided for us. With both our body image and with what we eat!
We need to celebrate our bodies, not keep fighting them!
Which parts of your body would you change if you could?
Consider carefully whether you are being completely realistic?
Stand in front of the mirror and look at them one at a time and consider whether any of them could be changed in a natural way.
I have also decided to add in another factor for older women.
As our body grows older, there is no doubt that it will do everything it can to preserve itself.
The Primal need in our bodies will save and store as much fat as it can and as we get older and the body begins to break down, that will happen all the more.
Therefore, if you are over the age of about sixty, you may need to settle for a slightly higher weight than your mind is telling you to be.
So from that we can conclude that we have been led up the wrong path with NHS guidelines saying that we must be below 25 to be healthy.
The same can be said of our cholesterol levels. We do not need to constantly concerned about keep them low. But that is another matter, although it does give us some indication about how we have all been like sheep and led astray as far as our health is concerned.
So, while considering whether you really need to be constantly worried about losing fat, add this latest thought to your list.
In the light of more news coming out about the Cholesterol and Statin conundrum, let me tell you a story.
Seven years ago, I found out that I have what the NHS considers to be high Cholesterol. 11.5 I was put on statins, and very quickly began to have such bad side effects that I had to leave them off.
Then, the GP sent me to the Lipid Clinic. I felt humiliated and angry to start with when a young student interviewed me to find out my background. She said that I was over the safe limit on the BMI table, (27) and that I had better do something about it. She was supposed to be asking me about my lifestyle, but never asked whether I had been “Doing Something About It!”
I had been doing something about it all of my life, and was feeling great that I was still only 27 on the BMI table! So you can imagine my anger. But that is another story.
However, the Lipid Consultant gave me some other drugs than statins, which I took. When I went back four weeks later, my Cholesterol had gone down. So she then gave me an added drug. To this day I cannot understand why she did that if the other one was working anyway. In my ignorance, I began to take them.
By now I was beginning to do a lot of research of my own. And discovered that this drug had NOT BEEN ENTIRELY PROVED TO BE SAFE!
The rest of the story, in brief, was that I wrote to the consultant, discussed it with my GP, (who was very open-minded) and left all the drugs off.
I had read two books which I highly recommend to you, and which the consultant said that she would be putting in an official complaint about the authors because they were damaging peoples health! She was bringing my case up at the conference she was attending on Heart research, and she was writing to my GP with a disclaimer notice.
My GP laughed when I went to her next, and put my head around the door before my body, and asked if it was safe to come in, seeing as she had had this letter from said Consultant. But she said that she had already written back to the consultant saying that her patient (me) had obviously done a lot of research and that she was entitled to make up her own mind.
Since then, my readings have gone down to 7.5 which is about right for someone my age. Without any drugs, but eating a balanced diet and NOT LOW FAT.
So, before you carry on believing all that is said about having to keep your Cholesterol Levels down, far too low for many of us, read these books. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know enough to realise that I am a lot better off letting my body do as it thinks best.
The books that I read were The Great Cholesterol Con, by Dr Malcom Kendrick, whom I have now met and he gave me a signed copy in honour of the way that I stood up to these medical bullies. His book is informative, easy reading and funny in a tongue in cheek fashion.
Do you eat plenty of vegetables, especially the green ones?
Do you know how many people are blind in the UK?
Do you have parents or grandparents who have AMD?
Do you know what your risk is of getting AMD or any other visual impairment?
AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration.) is becoming more common in the 21st Century because people are living longer.
Macular Degeneration as it is commonly known is the breaking down of the macula which is the part of the retina at the back of the eye that provides sharp central vision.
People with this condition can suffer increasingly blurred vision which leads to problems with reading printed or written text, colour, (particularly contrast) and difficulty recognising people’s faces. If you only have AMD and nothing else wrong with your eyes, you will not go completely blind. But you will lose your central vision.
There are other conditions with the eyes such as cataracts, glaucoma and Diabetic retinopathy. I recently heard a story about a chap who went for an eye test, and this was how he found out that he had Type 2 Diabetes. For an optometrist, our eyes are like reading a book. But as a friend of mine pointed out to me just today, you do need to be assertive and make sure that you ask the right questions, and what you can do about any conditions that they come across.
Also only today I heard of someone who had been scared by what the optometrist had said. That there is no cure for AMD and he was in the very early stages of the condition.
It did frighten me when the optometrist told me that I was in the early stages, but I put that fear into action by finding out what was available to help me. So don’t be put off by what they tell you, especially when they say there is no cure and there is nothing that can be done. They may be right that there is no cure, at least at the moment, but there is plenty that can be done to make life easier. I am afraid that many consultants and eye specialists have a habit of doing that, but they fail to point out that there is support available.
If you do find out that you have the early stages of AMD, you can take sensible precautions to take care of your eyes and help to slow up the process.
By wearing glasses or goggles and a hat to keep the sunlight out of your eyes. By learning what aids are available so that you stand a good chance of managing the condition.
So, the earlier you find out, the better. You may not notice anything wrong in your day to day life, except perhaps you may find that reading is blurred even with your reading glasses on. I found out from a regular eye check.
And don’t think that it is an old person condition, some people develop AMD in their twenties or thirties. I know someone who had junior onset AMD at the age of eight.
As a matter of interest here are some interesting facts for the UK. (You can google statistics or facts for your part of the world if you are not in the UK)
In the UK around 600,000 people currently have vision impairment caused by AMD, and around 70,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. (nearly 200 per day)
Over two million people in the UK live with sight loss.
Total sight loss in one eye is not counted against the legality of driving.
People with sight loss in one eye are not considered partially sighted.
Total sight loss is rare, only about 4% of people with vision impairment are totally blind.
Sight loss, in general, affects people of all ages but especially older people. 1 in 5 aged 75 and 1 in 2 aged 90. (This is in degrees of sight loss, from mild to being registered blind or partially sighted.
In the UK there are only 5000 guide dogs.
Every day more than 75 new people are formally registered blind or partially sighted.
75% of blind and partially sighted people of working age are registered unemployed.
There are plenty more statistics that you can find, and some of them are quite revealing. Many people, including myself for many years before I had this condition, get confused when observing people with vision loss. They cannot understand why the person can see some things and not others.
I cannot go into the details here, but I have written some of what I experience as an example here;
As far as the legality of driving is concerned, it is a minefield. The law may say that you are safe to drive with a vision impairment, in fact, some people with an impairment may be able to see the required reading of the number plate. But the insurance company’s may have something else to say about it.
For example, I was told twelve years ago that I could drive under the law. I have other things wrong with my eyes as well, and one of them is double vision when my eyes are tired. I was issued by the Eye Infirmary with a pair of glasses with one lens blacked out (don’t ask about the technicalities please!) and told that I could drive while wearing them. If I were in an accident, I would be covered by the insurance as long as I was wearing them. If I were not wearing them, then I would be liable.
No-one seemed to take into account that wearing them was a hazard for me because I could not see properly with them on. So I had to make a choice not to drive at all. Driving for me, just as it is for millions of people, was freedom and giving it up was painful. But not as much as if I had taken the risk and failed to drive safely.
The main purpose of this article is to point out how important it is to look after your eyes. The main cause of AMD is not known. But the contributing factors are genetic, diet and smoking.
It is a myth that we can get AMD from bad light or too much exposure to computers, etc. But UV light is a factor and another reason for protecting your eyes in the sunlight. The jury is still out on whether computer and smartphones can cause AMD, but there is evidence surfacing that you can suffer what is known as Digital Eye Strain. Eye strain, however, is not a contributing factor to AMD.
Looking at my earlier reference to contributing factors, let’s look at the genetic factor more closely. The genetic factor is only an increased risk. It is not a guarantee that you will get it. But, if you have someone in your family, particularly your parents, with MD, then you need to be extra vigilant with eye care. Get plenty of green leafy vegetables which contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two antioxidants stored in the macula.
As for the other two, diet and smoking; just give up smoking, and eat clean as well as including the green vegetables.
And last but certainly not least. GET YOUR EYES CHECKED REGULARLY. At least every two years. Don’t take your eyesight for granted.
One of the most difficult things for me as well as the other 600,000 people in the UK to come to terms with, is that except a miracle, my eyes are not going to get better than they are now, and they are going to get worse over time.
At the moment, because I have developed wet AMD, I am waiting for my eyes to get worse before I can begin to have injections to make them better. Don’t ask!
The only things that I can do are; to make sure that I get the nutrients I need; to shield my eyes from the sun; to eat clean and to take the supplements that I take, to try and slow up the progress.
It is important to stay positive and just let AMD be part of my life and not rule it! But that will take another article, and again let me refer you to the link for my other blogs on AMD.
The blossoms are the essential part of the progession to the fruit; and the fruit is just as vital.
Have you noticed when you are filling in a form, they put the age brackets into such an order that when you reach 65, it just becomes 65+?
Society spends a lot of time, worrying, fretting and resisting the very idea of ageing.
But as we evolve as humans in the 21st Century, isn’t it time for us to embrace the idea? Especially as many of us are living for another thirty to forty years after retirement.
We still matter! Because as long as we have breath, we are still vital.
Illness and disease can occur at any age, so why do we think that old age has the monopoly on it?
Yes; our bodies do wear out and become weaker and frailer, and the chances of succumbing to degenerative disorders are stronger.
But being Vital in our older years is still as much a part of life as when we are younger. There are many younger people who don’t realise how vital they are to society, so why do we insist on giving old age the honour?
The word vitality is being used too loosely these days. It is used to promote products, and ironically anti-ageing foods and creams. Consequently, we think of vitality as something that is easily lost and associates that loss with ageing.
Some of the synonyms for the word vitality are; Liveliness, energy, animation, spirit, passion, sparkle and vibrancy; the power giving continuance of life, present in all living things; Vital force or energy.
If you study those words and bear in mind that we are all made up of Mind, body and spirit, you may realise that you can retain them.
Liveliness can remain in the mind and spirit, along with vibrancy and passion.
Every one of us, from birth to death, have something to contribute to the world. No matter where you are, where you live, the state of your mind or health, the state of your finances, whatever your intellect or culture you have a VITAL role to play. At any age.
You may not ever become rich, a writer, an artist, a teacher, a celebrity or earn lots of money. You may even be thinking at this moment that you are not successful because you haven’t reached a goal that you had in mind. You may have just been diagnosed with an illness or condition that you perceive as a road to failure.
You may even be thinking that you are already a failure, let alone when you get older.
You may have just retired or are coming up to retirement, and you see the future as bleak and that you will no longer be a vital part of society.
On the other hand, you may be looking forward to a bit of peace.
Do you have the thought at the back of your mind that it is downhill all the way after the age of 65? Do you think that you must do the things on your bucket list before it’s too late?
Too late for what? Perhaps too late to be able to travel freely, too late for certain activities, yes. But have you thought about what else it may be too late for? Are you seeing the time to come, the “too late” as a time when you are sitting like the proverbial cabbage?
The truth is that; As long as you have breath, you are still vital!
But how can I remain vital when I am too weak or helpless to do anything?
All of us have energy running through us as long as we are alive.
Most of the time we are unaware of it and only when we are active in some way, we become aware. But it is there; how else would your heart keep beating, your eyes seeing and all the other organs in your body stay working?
Collective energy is what you feel in a crowd at a football stadium or when the whole world stood still when we were witnessing 9/11.
We are part of the Universal energy, and what is more, it is Vital to every one of us, it is what keeps us alive. You are part of that collective energy.
Even people in a coma, or under anaesthetic have an energy running throughout their body. And they are still vital to the planet and in turn to society.
And even the person in a state of weakness, infirmity and very old age, have that energy and vitality.
People become “old” at any age. The physical process starts at age 27. But in many peoples minds, they begin to feel old as soon as they see the first grey hair.
We put people into categories or brackets. We have expectations of what we can do at any given age. We use the expression “I’m too old for that.”
The perception is different in all of us. Some may still be playing football or running at age ninety; others may need to stop being physically active at a much earlier age due to injury.
When we run upstairs and forget what we came up there for, we fear that it’s the ageing process setting in. Forgetting that most of us at any age do that. What about the schoolchild forgetting his sports kit, or losing his jacket? Do we ask if he or she is getting old?
We think of the darkest fear that we have with the process of old age as a line of events.
We retire; we travel or join things; take up mew hobbies.
Next; we expect we will start to suffer from disease which disables us from doing all the things that we like to do.
We then expect that it’s downhill all the way to becoming useless, a burden on society, and want just to die.
But guess what? That vital energy is still there.
Remember that the Universe does not centre around you, but that You are simply a vital part of it.
So as you become weaker and frailer, you can have either a positive effect on others or a negative.
Prepare for your older years with the thought in mind that you are vital to those around you at this time, and you are on the road to FEELING vital until the day you die.
Another synonym for vitality is spark or sparkle. Are you going to be the spark that lights people’s fire, even when you simply smile at people around you?
Don’t tell me that you can’t do that when you are old and frail. I know many who do.
Having the spark that lights people’s fire starts at any age. Think of the effect that even the youngest baby has when they smile for the first time.
Are your family and friends going to be drawn to see you? You can do this by staying energised while you can by listening, learning, reading, writing and creating new things.
If your niche is gardening or craft do it, while you can.
Stay informed, be active, eat well.
Research drugs before you take them. You do not have to just go along with what the doctor says and jump on the roundabout of taking one drug after another that dulls your brain and mind.
Make younger friends, don’t just join the local senior citizens club and talk about the weather or your latest illness.
You have a lot to offer younger people coming along. Only three days ago, I was lunching in the centre of London with a young student from Singapore. How did I get there? I was at a Seminar on making choices with people of all ages.
The turning point for me was when at the age of sixty, a friend of the same age commented that she hated this business of getting old.
I thought “I’m outta here!” No way was I going to join that bandwagon.
Yes, I am ageing, yes time is running away with me, but I changed my thinking to one of “My older years are going to be a time of learning, wisdom and supporting others to do the same.”
The feeling of loss comes from losing something precious.
A loved one, a loved possession or perhaps moving from a beloved place.
It can be a loss of a limb, of our hearing and our independence perhaps.
In the case of Aged-related Macular Degeneration, it is a gradual loss, but there comes the point where you have to accept that it is never going to get better.
(Some people like to claim that it can get better because there are treatments available outside of the NHS in the United Kingdom, but I have looked into that, and it depends on what type of AMD you have.)
I want to share with you my journey with this problem because I can see that there is such a lack of information about what people are actually experience. I did not know about the darkness, distortion, light sensitivity and other problems. I just thought that it was a matter of losing central vision.
Now I want others to know what to expect or what their relatives or friends are experiencing. I do understand that there are no two cases alike. Each person’s experience will be as different as each of the millions of others who have it.
Yesterday after suffering from dry AMD for two years, and then a further nine months with WET MD, I finally reached the point where I had to face up to the fact that it is never going to be better than it is now.
I am currently waiting for the point where my eyesight has degenerated to the NICE guidelines, so that I can start having injections to slightly improve the sight or at least arrest the deterioration. (Injections cost the NHS £1000 each.)
In the last two weeks, I have been experiencing distortion, and I thought that my eyes had reached the necessary point. So I was surprised when the consultant said that there was no difference on the scan from four weeks ago.
When I asked why I have the distortion suddenly, he replied that he was surprised that I had not had it before.
He also explained that I only have it in my GOOD EYE!
It is weird how I have struggled seeing out of my bad eye, all of my life, but now the good eye is so bad that the bad one sees clearer!
He also explained that the injections might slightly improve the sight again, and they will most likely maintain the sight that I have. But it is worth repeating that the sight has to get worse before it gets better.
This is where the conundrum comes in. I suddenly realised that the sight I have now would never be any better because they will not give me the jabs until it gets worse. Therefore it is never going to be any better than it is now.
Does that make sense? My emotions went into a dip yesterday when I realised that deep down I was hoping that the injections were going to make things better.
I hope that this blog makes sense to you and you can understand what I am trying to say.
I am firing this off early in the morning before a busy, but enjoyable day out in Falmouth in Cornwall with some friends. I am so grateful for that.
A very kind liaison lady came to see me at the Eye Infirmary yesterday, and she gave me some anti-glare goggles to place over my glasses, for the light sensitivity. She was there for me and listened and reassured me that I would never completely lose my sight unless anything else goes wrong other than the MD.
So I have a lot to be grateful for. But I wanted to share this to my groups on Facebook, and others who may find it when looking up AMD on the internet. Just to help people understand this condition that bit better.
I am also grateful for the lovely people in my local MD group in Plymouth, for their company and understanding. When we eat out once a month, we can sit and laugh and feel somewhat normal, even with the enlarged print menus that the restaurants provide!
These illustrations show the progress of how a person with AMD can experience the decline in vision.
AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) is quite a common condition .
The macula is located at the back of the eye and is the most sensitive part of the retina. When it is damaged the centre of your field of view may appear blurry, distorted or dark.
I MUST EMPHASISE THAT IT IS THE CENTRAL VISION THAT IS AFFECTED AND PROVIDED THAT YOU HAVE NO OTHER EYE CONDITIONS YOU SHOULD NOT GO COMPLETELY BLIND.
Ageing itself can cause damage, and there are two types of AMD commonly known as Wet or Dry.
The dry type is slow advancing, and many people will have it for some time before they notice there is something amiss.
The first signs are that you may find yourself forever cleaning your glasses. Or you may simply put it down to needing new glasses or that you are putting poor sight down to part of the ageing process and ignore it. It is mostly picked up when you have an eye test. Generally speaking, it begins at the age of around 50, but since nothing happens at any certain age, that is not a given fact.
Dry MD can slowly develop and once diagnosed, it can be monitored and you can change your diet and lifestyle to help slow the process down.
However, 1 out of 10 cases develops into Wet MD and can have more serious implications. Although with wet MD there are injections to slow the process down, there is still no guarantee that it will work.
Let me tell you my story.
Nearly three years ago during a regular annual eye test, the Optician showed me the photos of the back of my eyes, and I could see white spots. (Drusen) He explained that these are signs of Macular Degeneration.
I felt quite alarmed because my Mother has it and I have seen her struggling over many years. But this optician told me about a nutritional supplement that would help to slow up the development. We shall discuss that supplement in the group that I hope to start on Facebook.
I already knew of a Guild in Plymouth which helped people with vision and hearing difficulties, so I went along and found a lot of information about the condition and also what aids there were available.
They also told me about Plymouth University having a department where you could go and have regular examinations and also be a guinea pig for students learning Ophthalmology. Not only that but if there was a serious development, they could contact the Eye Infirmary direct and I would not have to go through my GP.
I rather liked that idea, so I went. And for the past two years I have enjoyed talking to the tutors and students and finding a lot of information. They also have a scanner there, and it was fun to see the back of my eye laid out for interpretation.
They have been impressed with my tenacity and resilience to the situation, and how I stay so positive. But I must admit to being quite alarmed at times when I notice more severe symptoms such as distortion, even to the extent of seeing people’s head’s shaped like ET.
I have a couple of other issues with my eyes, such as double vision which manifests when I am tired and with the added complication of the 6th nerve damage. So, eleven years ago it stopped me from driving. Although I had the problem all my life, as I got older I could not control it so well. But that is another story.
The 6th Nerve damage was caused by the forceps at birth. Resulting in what is commonly called a lazy eye. So I am mostly reliant on my left eye, I often describe it as “I can see all right, but it feels like the brain will not tell me what it is I am seeing.”
Because of the problems with my right eye, the Eye Infirmary are keeping up regular monthly checks. If I lose the vision in that eye, I will be in trouble.
Last July I went along to the University because although the regular eye test at the opticians resulted in new glasses, I was still struggling to see. They did a scan and found that it had developed into Wet MD.
Wet MD is where abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina, and these vessels can leak fluid and blood, which can lead to swelling and damage of the macula.
The University fast-tracked an appointment for me at the Eye Infirmary (What a horrible name)
After numerous tests, the EI are monitoring me regularly because when it reaches a critical point, they can start with injections into the eye, which will slow up the progress.
The latest development is that peoples faces are distorted and have taken on a perculiar appearance. I have adjusted my own image here so that you can see what I am seeing.
You can read in a previous blog how this affects my everyday living.
Some people have claimed that there is a cure, but I have yet to come across any proven cures. The EI and the University certainly have not found any.
But I was asked the other day about whether MD can be prevented.
It is best to start as early as possible to make lifestyle changes.
Although none of us can guarantee to prevent any disease in our lives, there are things that you can do to strengthen your chances of not getting it. Or giving your body a better chance to deal with any disease at all.
It is no surprise to me that the answer is the same as with many other diseases of the Western world, such as obesity, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and other modern diseases.
Eat a healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fish.
I do all of these things and also take a special supplement called Macushield.
I am considering starting the Facebook group for this condition, both in helping people to try and prevent it and how to deal with it.
Would you please comment either on this blog or in the comments on Social Media if you would like to join us.
There are plenty of MD Facebook groups in the US, but because our health care systems are different in the UK, I think that it will be of benefit to many.
Also, of course, the nature of the condition prevents people from reading on Facebook, and I suspect that many don’t get the opportunity or are not aware of the advantages of it.
But it may be that you have a relative or friend that you could help by belonging to the group.
Would you please share this, because I would like as many people as possible to benefit from a good Facebook group on AMD.
The picture below is the scene without any eye problems!
Necessary for the success or continued existence of something; extremely important.
The Cambridge definition of the word “redundant” is;
Unnecessary because it is more than is needed.
Which category do you think you fit into?
I am determined that I fit into the vital one. I have decided that right up until the day when I die, I will not become redundant.
Because I know that what you think is what you get, I know that this will happen. I want to be vital to my family, friends and all those that I come into contact with.
You may be thinking that this is a huge claim to make. None of us knows what is going to happen to us from day to day. We may think we have a fair idea, and we make plans, but often those plans don’t come to fruition.
But being vital is all about what we make of those times when things go wrong. It is what we see in them and what we make of them.
Yesterday we took my 94-year-old Mother to an outpatient’s appointment at the hospital. She is very frail, so we needed to hire the use of a special taxi to take her in a wheelchair. When we were coming back, the taxi driver fell off the ramp leading into the taxi, and the wheelchair and Mum fell sideways off the ramp and landed on top of the taxi driver.
At first, we thought that everyone had been injured, and that could well have been the case. But as we were in the hospital car park, there were medics on the scene very quickly.
No one sustained any injuries; I was glad to be able to leave it to the experts and just observe what was happening.
The outcome was good, and even though my mother can be difficult at times, it is her plucky spirit that keeps her going. I saw a different side of her, the grim determination to be vital, kept her from being kept in hospital overnight.
When she saw my brother later in the evening, she joked that she was all shook up like Elvis.
Yes, the thing could have turned out to be more serious, and we might all have been thinking differently this morning. I am not going to go into the idea that someone was taking care of her because often that can seem too high-minded to many people. But the thing is that it all turned out to be well.
The taxi company gave us a free ride home, the wait in Casualty was only an hour, my Mum saw the funny side of it and is feeling grateful that things were ok. The taxi driver was unhurt and so was Mum.
There were so many good things that came out of the incident. There was the sense of caring and expertise from the staff on the scene, and I was able to relax and surrender my Mums care to them.
The fact that I can see the funny side of it, the fact that I can see the good that came out of it and the fact that all was well; is being vital.
If I were feeling redundant at my age now, I would probably have just seen how awful it all was. I could have felt redundant when I had to leave the matter to the experts. I could be thinking that the taxi driver was an idiot. I could be cursing the fact that the dogs had peed on the carpet when we eventually got home!
But my strongest feeling this morning is one of gratefulness and knowing that we are all vital, as long as we are alive.
No person needs to feel redundant. Even those elderly people suffering from dementia, are vital. Those who are very ill and dying, at any age are vital.
Even that person who “Gets on your Wick” has a place in the world.
So are you vital or redundant?
I know that I am vital, and that’s why I am Ageing with Vitality.
Just an after-thought here. My definition of being vital does not mean that we have to have the body or energy of a forty-year-old! That may be possible for some, but please don’t run away with the idea that if you are feeling less energetic than you were in your forties, that does not prevent you from being vital!
Many may say that at the age of 72, all you need to worry about is looking after yourself. Your health, your wealth and your welfare.
Yes, folks that is so true.
Taking care of ageing bodies is vital for your health, by *eating sensibly, keeping active and taking good care of the financial situation. Care of your appearance is also important, and hygiene with your personal care and surroundings is essential for general well-being.
Keeping active in the sense of exercise, such as walking, swimming or weight supporting activities, is also something to keep those bones and the cardiovascular system healthy.
And what about your Spiritual and mental wellbeing?
Meditation* is fast becoming one of the ways that people are getting in touch with something more than the outer body and world.
Spirituality, awareness and consciousness is a great purpose as we age.
Yesterday I went to a casual meeting of Damsels, (A national movement called Damsels in Success for women) in which we made up our vision boards for what we want.
Contrary to many older people’s beliefs, there is nothing wrong with wanting things, as long as we are not taking them away from others.
But we were all reminded that our wants are not just about things.
We thought about our purpose too.
We need to think about what we want in the way of why we are here, our legacies to the world in the way of wisdom, service to the planet as a whole and spreading love and peace. How we want to be in our interactions with people, and how we want the world to remember us.
Younger people tend to think about purpose as being what their careers may be or how they can serve the world and make a living doing what they love. That is the natural course of life.
But as we age, it is a good idea to look at our purpose in the last what could be thirty or forty years of our lives.
We had a lot of fun yesterday, and there were some children there too. Adult children and young children alike were absorbed in finding pictures in magazines. Cutting and gluing and arranging the pictures.
Now my vision board is sitting on the wall in my office, and it is going to be interesting to see how it develops.
I did a vision board about two years ago, and three quarters of it came to fruition. So this idea works. It is mainly to help to focus on what you really want in life.
I have published my vision board above for you to see. Some of it is not very clear, but I hope that you will get the gist.
There are holidays that I want to go on and clothes that I want.
On the right-hand side, you can see a picture of an audience. That is a vision I have for speaking to larger audiences. So far they have been quite small.
There is a picture of a choir, well actually I already belong to one.
The picture of Helen Merrin contains the words “Gold not Old”. I am aware that I cannot change my older looks, and the wrinkles, but I want people to see past the wrinkles and see the gold of kindness and support to others.
On the left is a beautiful garden in which I can visualise myself sitting. We only have a small garden where I am living, and gardening is not my forte. But year after year and with some patience, I am gradually building up something like the illustration. But you never know, one day something or someone may turn up to help me make a better job.
There are several little sentences that I found such as “Home is where the heart is” “See the beauty in everything” “Why be dull?”
There is also a sentence at the bottom that clinches it all. “Signed Sealed and Delivered”
That means that I believe that it will happen. The Universe always has our best welfare in mind. I never cease to be amazed at the synchronicities that happen every day for me.
I am not saying that life is golden, and things are not tough for me at times, but when they are I am aware of the fact that the Universe does indeed have my welfare in mind because it has everyone’s welfare in mind. We are all part of that whether we are aware of it or not.
What is your vision and purpose for the rest of your life?
*There are blogs on these subjects on my Website, patriciacherrylifecoach.com
A similar word to that of Mystery is Mastery, isn’t it?
While contemplating my own ageing process this morning, it has dawned on me that there is a lot around us these days about anti-ageing, conscious ageing, and even with myself “Ageing with Vitality.”
I have been through a transition in my life over the last couple of months, and the main theme of that transition has been “Surrender”. (Which I have written about in the previous few articles.) http://www.patriciacherrylifecoach.com/blog/
During that transitioning process, it has been a revelation to me that I simply cannot be in control of my own ageing. I cannot be the Master of my destiny.
However much I work at how to age consciously and with awareness, this still does not mean that I can control the outcome.
Ageing does bring about physical impairment, cognitive impairment and some amount of dependence.
I am watching the process of my Mothers very old years. In this process I am constantly reminded of my own ageing.
We are almost bombarded by stories of marvellous old people who are doing wonderful things at certain ages. Skydiving, marathon running, etc. Somehow ageing in a normal way is seen as a failure.
This is the mystery of ageing. We like to think that if we do this or if we do that, we won’t get old so quickly. We are putting off the evil day, as it were.
But think of the word mystery. We love to read a good mystery. We watch detective stories and love to try and solve who did it. As children, many of us used to read Enid Blyton Mysteries. Part of the excitement was the exploration.
Now, personally, I am exploring the world of ageing. I am facing my own mystery of ageing. Some of it is in shadow, and there are certainly shadow aspects in ageing.
But I want to live in the light of ageing, which will in turn light up the shadow side.
So while I cannot be the master of my ageing process, I can be seeing it as a great adventure. I can be excited at the discovery of the mystery of ageing.
I had a vision this morning of an adult person putting up a large silk tent. The colour was lemon and lilac. Underneath that tent, which was billowing, there was a small child waiting to put his little red tent up. Waiting for the adult to show him what to do.
At the time of this vision, I was meditating and thinking of how my Mother was at the age I am now. I am learning from her how to age and how not to age. I am hoping that the lessons that I am learning will stand me in good stead for when I am 94 years old.
I am learning from my Mother, how to put up my little red tent!
But the main thing is that I have already learnt today, at 7 am, that there is a narrow line between Mystery and Mastery.
I cannot control, or master my ageing process, but I can enter the mystery with wonder, and a sense of learning, discovery and spirituality.
Have you considered your ageing?
Are you in denial that it will happen?
Are you hoping to Master the outcome?
Or, are you going to see it as a big, scary adventure and solve the mystery of how to age with vitality and be in the light.
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