By Charles McLaughlin
Comes time now to wrap up these notes by mentioning things that have been done and experienced to make the rest of my life as healthful, purposeful and meaningful as possible and, most importantly, to avoid stressing out members of my family assisting me to “keep on truckin’.”
I am still ambulatory, can still dress and bathe myself and thus have maintained an acceptable level of dignity. I experience a modicum of discomfort and no pain. Truly blessed!
Since retiring from performing musically, a lightweight daily practice playing the bongos, maracas and claves has been followed and has proven truly therapeutic, engaging both the mind and body and also providing more music in my life when playing along with songs on youtube and c/d’s. It’s definitely a workout in keeping with the truth-based adage, “use it or lose it.” Simply put, it’s meaningful and fun!
A daily exercise routine based upon the old Charles Atlas “Dynamic Tension” thesis is followed religiously. It can be performed while in bed and comfortable or elsewhere and is simple as well. There is no intention here to build muscle mass but rather muscle and body tone. Walking exercise is performed with my “Mercedes Benz” walker, which is pushed at leisurely walking speed around the house after every meal and whenever I’ve been sitting too long at my computer.
Meditation provides me with mental, physical and spiritual benefits. It can be done anywhere and at any time and it is a daily respite from the stresses of life and blessed opportunity to hear the voice of the silence … the silence of the mind.
I’ve opted out of medicinal protocols involving medicines whose side effects cause depression, anxiety or hallucinations, such as those produced by statins in my direct experience. Quality of life is a higher priority than longevity and a portion of our pantry is already a veritable pharmacopeia.
As to entertainment and pleasure, Barbara and I view TV sparingly, usually sites offering late evening episodes of mysteries, some comedies and scientific documentaries. In addition, KMUN and other radio stations provide a wide diversity of music and, accordingly, we listen often during the day and early evening.
We both read a lot, Barbara much more than I. She reads fiction voraciously, including historical fiction, and I non-fiction, basically scientific or philosophic stuff. Stretches my brain. She utilizes Sudoku to do that!
I must mention, too, the daily blessing bestowed upon us by our laughable, likable, lovable and loving little Crouton, our grand-dog! This minute munchkin ran through the open doors of our hearts the moment we saw him and since then has become Barbara’s shadow, a quintessential lapdog and notorious beggar of food. But how can we not succumb to those imploring eyes? No, it is impossible and so we have become a slave to love for this impish dickens who resides in our hearts and returns our love a thousand-fold.
Barbara’s gardening skills have wrought a wide array of beauty surrounding our home, even designing and installing a small garden on our deck, which provides many hours of sitting, oft-times meditating, midst that extended beauty on warm Spring and Summer days. And while my ability to perform “honey-do” jobs about the house has waned, it has provided the opportunity for Barbara and me to work together and accomplish some important and needed repairs. By sharing those chores and because she is a fast learner, Barbara is now ready and able to perform many necessary repairs or needs that may arise in the future.
The most enjoyable familial thing lately has been being babysitters for our 9-month-old granddaughter, Kaila, Kate and Mark’s child. It’s been like old times having a baby to care for again and watch develop from a mouth and a diaper to a thinking, examining, mobile fireball of energy investigating the endless miracles surrounding her. No-nos have been moved higher now, out of reach, as she can pull herself up and stand holding on to some support and exciting new areas to explore are available now that she can crawl at baby warp speed!
Two great-great granddaughters have also joined the family, a fact that astounds me … my posterity small enough to hold in my arms reminding me, yet again, I truly am a geezer in Geezerland!