Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Secret To Staying Young!

Dear Friends,

Clint Eastwood recently directed a western film that he starred in and was asked how he stays so active at the age of 91. His response was, “I don’t let the old man in.” Good advice for all of us once we start getting the invitations in the mail to join AARP. Full disclosure: One way I “don’t let the old man in” is that, because I am only in my early 70's, I have refused to join AARP and will not do so until I have become “old.” This week’s AMEN Corner is intended to be read only by those of us who qualify to be members of AARP.

Three 15 year old girlfriends decided to eat at the McDonald’s across the street from the Sea Side Restaurant because they only had $6.50 between them and McDonald’s was where that cute boy in science class, Bobby Bruce worked. 

Ten years later, the same girlfriends now 25-year-olds, decided to meet for a night out at the Sea Side Restaurant because the bar had free snacks, the beer was cheap, the band was good and there were lots of cute guys. 

Ten years later, the now 35 year old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner. Once again they decided on the Sea Side Restaurant because the combos were good, it was near the gym and if they went late enough, there wouldn’t be whiny little kids. 

Ten years later, these 45 year old girlfriends met for dinner at the Sea Side Restaurant because the Strawberry Margaritas were huge and the waiters flirted with them. 

Ten years later, the 55 year old girlfriends chose to meet at the Sea Side Restaurant because the prices were reasonable, the cool breeze on the patio was helpful for their hot flashes and the fish special was good for their cholesterol. 

Ten years later, now 65-year-olds, the girlfriends agreed to meet at the Sea Side Restaurant because they had an Early Bird Senior Special and the lighting was good so the menu was easy to see. 

Ten years later, the 75-year-olds decided to keep their tradition of dinner at the Sea Side Restaurant because the food wasn’t too spicy and it was handicapped accessible. 

Ten years later, the same three girlfriends, now at the age of 85, discussed where to meet for dinner. After some long phone conversations, they agreed to meet at the Sea Side Restaurant because they wanted to try someplace new and none of them could remember ever being there before.

We all know that diet and exercise keeps us physically healthy, but recent scientific studies are also showing that those are the two things we can do to keep us mentally healthy as well. In fact, studies show that the number one thing we can do to “keep the old man (or old woman) out” and keep our brain young is to stay physically active and exercise. Walking for exercise can reduce dementia risk by 30-40 percent and more strenuous exercise can even restore some memory loss according to a recent article on aging.

To stay mentally young, we also need to eat like Jesus did. The research has shown that the best anti-aging diet is the “Mediterranean Diet,” and since that’s what Jesus ate, we’ll call it the “Jesus Diet.” That’s a diet primarily consisting of Fish, Vegetables, Fruit, Nuts and Beans. Studies show that older people who eat the most fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of dementia than meat-lovers. Along with our exercise and diet, our relationships will also keep us young and it’s important for us to build and maintain a network of friends. That’s one reason why our church family is so important to us. A recent 15 year study showed that a vital social life provides emotional and mental stimulation that fights off dementia. Also, learning new skills will keep you sharp. Learning spurs the growth of new brain cells and neurotransmitters (the connections between those brain cells). 

One of the interesting things that the scientific studies tell us we can do to keep our brain sharp is to meditate. MRI’s have shown that meditation actually increases the density of brain matter and meditation reduces harmful stress hormones that lead to higher blood pressure and other physical problems. For Christians, meditation means reading our Bible – the Word of God – and then meditating on a sentence or a few words that we’ve just read. Meditation not only keeps our brain young but it also quiets our spirit and makes room for God’s presence. Psalm 19:14 

A recent article on aging said that having a plan for your life and keeping a positive focus on your future will keep your brain young. Aging Christians can retire to the recliner or we can turn to what God’s given purpose is for us right now in this season of our life. God created us to love and worship Him and to love and help others. Mark 12:30-31 When my mom was in her eighties, she was a volunteer worker in the surgery waiting room at St Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank. She provided a comforting presence to those who were anxious and upset when a loved one was in surgery. She helped people in their time of need and her volunteer work was her living out the second commandment of Jesus to “love others as yourself.” 

As long as you’re on this side of the dirt, God ain’t done with you in this, your earthly existence, and He still has a plan for you at this point in your life. You have acquired a lifetime of skills, abilities and gifts given to you by your Creator. This week, ask Him to show you how that you can use those God-given gifts to help and serve others. And then, if you’re of the age where the restaurant you go to is determined by the size of the senior citizen discount, go for it, but stay young at heart and listen to Clint. Don’t let the old man or the old woman in. Amen?

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