This is another post in an occasional series from my dear Aunt Doris, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 94.
Being 91-years-old, people often ask me: “What’s your secret for getting there?”
My son says it’s fish, tea and vinegar. Maybe; I really don’t know. However, I do have a few do’s and don’ts that can’t hurt if you choose to follow them:
Eat a good breakfast. I always start the day with a good breakfast. My favorite is an egg with toast, hash browns, fried tomatoes and one piece of bacon. Oh … and of course, tea!
Don’t be afraid of fish. I also eat a lot of fish. All kinds: talapia, sole, oysters, eel. Yes, eel; I love ’em.
Eat all your veggies. I enjoy all kinds of veggies. I especially love spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. I’m also a big fan of potatoes and salad.
Don’t be afraid to splurge on other foods. I do like the occasional filet Mignon, and I love chocolate. Yes, I have a sweet tooth! Give me a Cadbury’s, a Kit Kat, or a box of See’s dark chocolate raspberry creams and I’m in seventh heaven!
Don’t smoke. I used to smoke, but I stopped 27 years ago. One evening, not long after having eye surgery, I was smoking only to find some smoke going in my one “good” eye. I stopped cold turkey right there! The next day I said to my then-four-year-old grandson, “Hey, Mark! I stopped smoking!” That’s when he said, “Praise the Lord! We’ve been praying you would!”
Never lose your sense of wonder. I can look at a sunset, a perfectly-shaped tree, a rose, or a new baby and it reminds me that God’s in heaven and all’s well with the world. And when I hear Chris Botti play “Summertime” on his trumpet I feel good all day long!
Encourage others. One “attaboy!” trumps 50 “told ya sos!” every time — and does more good too!
Get a hobby. Since I had my stroke over two years ago I’ve had to stop some of my hobbies; my right side is weak and it’s hard to paint stones or thread a needle. But I can still knit up a storm! I make hats of all sizes — for preemies to adults! A friend calls them “Lovey’s Lids.”
Exercise your brain. After my stroke I was happy to find I could still answer the questions on Jeopardy and solve the puzzles on Wheel of Fortune.
Keep a positive attitude. I now get around on a walker named … “Johnny.” (Of course.) I also keep a small pink horn attached to it; I get smiles instead of looks of pity when I honk it. Remember the old song “Accentuate the Positive”? Eliminate the negatives and — for heaven’s sake — laugh! Oh, don’t get me wrong. I do have my “Why me?” days, and I’ll yell and rant like a banshee at times. But then I get it out of my system and I start laughing again.
All in all, I suppose luck has also played a part — but the good news is, if you’re careful, don’t do anything foolish and strive to always keep going, you’ll probably get there too.
(This article was originally published on 11 July 2012.)