You know it, and I know it. Life can be going along swimmingly and suddenly an unexpected event changes things. Maybe it is loss of a loved one, a home foreclosure, an accident or a health problem.
Overnight your routine changes and you wonder where you are headed. Your peaceful, happy life developed a new problem and you have to deal with it.
A glance in your mirror and you ask, "Is that me?" Who is that old individual and why didn't I notice him or her before? Should your problem be an injury, you suddenly realize your mobility is limited. You cannot go on that ski vacation in Colorado that you planned earlier in the year. In fact, you cannot go anywhere if there is a possibility of a fall because the risk is too great.
Thoughts go back to other family members and friends who have had a crisis in their lives and you try to remember how they dealt with their life-changing experience. Some of them responded positively and bought themselves time. Others seem to give up, accepting their fate. Their reduced quality of life seemed to sadden them and they withdraw from usual routines. The wiser among these new victims stayed active, physically and mentally involved! This seems to be the best choice.
Keep moving. Do not sit and rust. Stay involved in something even if less taxing than before. Volunteer and participate in community affairs. In spite of limitations, do something.
Maybe you went to a gym before and cannot go now. But, there are other ways to exercise in your own home. Sit in a chair. Raise up on your toes and back on your heels. Repeat, repeat. Rest, and then stretch out one at a time each of your legs. Hold them up off the floor and raise and lower them. Keep those muscles moving! You can even do pushups in that same chair. Grab the arm rests and push the buttocks off the seat. Raise up and down, strengthen the arms.
Painful? Well, yes! No pain, no gain -- but, if you have the interest and the will, you will benefit from even this kind of exercise. Like they used to tell you in the old "Rawhide" westerns, "Keep 'em moving!" Stay active in your own way and you will be happy you did. Shape up or you'll ship out -- maybe a bit faster than you had planned!
We have our differences and we are no longer the young and vigorous. We may have different mental and physical capacities from others in our same age group. We also know, from that look in the mirror, that the clock is ticking and we cannot turn it back. However, by having a positive attitude and adopting some changes, staying active, and eating a healthy diet, we might extend our life's span. Give it a try when you find yourself in a similar need.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday. For past columns, visit www.rockdale.citizen or www.newtoncitizen.com