Moderation is the key. When I was in my forties, I climbed a mountain every weekend. It was an eight mile round trip, much of it straight up or straight down. I'm glad I did that when I could because now a flight of eight steps comes close to defeating me. Then I enjoyed and gloried in the view of the Hudson River Valley from atop a mountain. Now I enjoy the view from my second floor window. Life evens out.
My ancestors worked hard all their lives and lived into their eighties, only to face disabilities and pain. For every man or woman like Jack LaLane, there are a hundred wondering why they fought so hard to reach old age. We've all forgotten the simplest truth. However we live, we will still die.
Some like my mother who died at 31 in a car accident will have a short life. Others, like my lovely stepmother will work hard, walk, eat right and live long, only to find themselves confined to wheelchairs. She'll be 87 in a couple weeks and I'll enjoy every moment of her presence, but I wonder...I wonder about all the times she sacrificed an experience so she would stay healthier.
The destination is not the end game. The journey is. All my life I've struggled to do the 'right' thing so I'd be healthy. Instead of listening to my inner wisdom, I followed all the latest recommendations for the right foods, the right exercise, the right amount of sleep. Then I was diagnosed with diabetes. The first thing the nutritionist said was, 'get rid of all the diet junk.' Wow, what a revelation! No more diet candy or soda or any of that other crap. Eat healthy. Real milk. Real ice cream. Real food without preservatives and chemicals. And the only rule?
Everything in moderation.
Everything. No need to binge on a bowl of ice cream when you can have a small scoop anytime. No need to hike ten miles when you can enjoy a stroll around the block every day. We will all reach the end exactly when our time comes.
I did everything right. I ate what I was supposed to eat, exercised when I was supposed to exercise, didn't smoke or drink, and yet I require meds for diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, GERDS, have arthritis in my spine and hips and I'm about 150 pounds overweight. When I complained to my doctor, she admitted what doctors have always known. Sometimes, you can't fight your genes. All you can do is keep battling a rear guard action.
So that's what I do. And somedays I eat ice cream.