7 Reasons to Celebrate Ageing

Celebrating Ageing
Celebrating Ageing in a Song

Ageing with anger is a speciality of Irish poets, American novelists and aahhhhh maybe, Indian pilots. For the rest of us, ageing can be an absolute joy.

If we’re very lucky, a sense of grace falls over us and although enigmatic smiles sometimes betray indigestion or even secret flatulence, they can also suggest that we’ve come to terms with our lives, that we can live with our own histories, that we’re not competitive in our legacies and that the world is not only the place to be but by far the best.

Money could be a part of this but looking at poor villagers in any Asian country, the smile of peace is there, the sense of being a part of a family’s history and its endless future has brought watchful contentment. 

Here are a few key reasons that ageing can be a blessing:

1. We enjoy life

Laughing at our own and others foibles leads to curious glances from others but it can really make an average day a good one.

My friend recently told me that sometimes while doing something very ordinary as cleaning her house, she stops and enjoys the fact that she feels really happy. We seldom felt this before if we ever did. We were so busy with living that we did not have time to pause and just feel our joy.

But now, we do have the time to savour whatever we feel and better still, whatever it is we are feeling, they no longer threaten us. Lfe has taught us that nothing really stays. The next moment, it’s going to be different. Everything turns for the good.

2. We celebrate what we have 

We have climbed the mountains, we poked around in a few of the depths. and we can now relax and stop wrestling with missed promises.

We have nothing to prove. We’ve gone beyond that. If you still are trying to outdo your friends. you have not grown. By this time, your friends know you very well and accept you as you are, so, relax and accept yourself and enjoy life by just being you.

Some in our circle of Seniors have not yet reached this moment of self acceptance. They still try to prove they are somebody so they get stressed at little things which do not support their image of themselves. They do everything to prove that they are better than anyone else and pressure their kids to enhance their image. But because we really can’t control circumstances and people like our kids, we get frustrated and eventually depressed.

With depression comes poor health and sickness. It’s our way of manipulating people and events. Our Senior years must not be like this. It must be enjoyed and lived joyfully. Let the cares and concerns of our earlier lives go and embrace what is, enjoy it and cherish whatever you have.

Nothing like the breath of life felt every morning could compare to all these concerns. Enjoy every day. Remember, we have limited supply of these so enjoy every moment.

3. We accept our shortcomings

In our 40s and 50s, mirrors are a tragedy. As we age, and gently become self caricatures not just physically but emotionally, our weaknesses fit in nicely to the thing we’ve become.

No longer do we have shortcomings. We realize that shortcomings are part of life and will always be there. We know this from experience so we are now able to laugh when we look at them. We can’t deny the aching body, the stooping posture, the wrinkled face, the constant reminder of arthritis, the blurred vision. We do something about them but we don’t let these stop us from enjoying our lives.

Yes, what we have become is what we celebrate in our Senior years. When we look at ourselves, each one of us, there are so many things we can celebrate in our last 60, 70, 80 or 90 years of life. Just the fact that we have reached this age alive, we should be happy. This, alone, is reason to celebrate.

4. We have clearer priorities mainly because we don’t have so many of them. 

We have time and space to focus on what is really important whether that’s learning or family or sports nostalgia or the craziness of politics. we can pick our spots. Besides, age has made us realize that only few things really matter. The many things we pursued when we were younger no longer have the same intensity in our Senior years.

5. We accept our grumpiness and go and hide when we feel it coming on. 

The random savaging of children, grandchildren and trim adherents are at last controlled.

Age has taught us that most things can be managed. Also, we have less stress so very few things worry us. We have reached an age when we know we can no longer do much so we let go.

6. We embrace everything that we are

More searching for who we really are? We’ve stopped that. We have accepted who we are, knowing it or not.

I remember the angst of younger years when we were driven by getting to know what careers fit us, what will I do with my life, how can I make myself better, what job will really be fun for me and many more. Now, I laugh at the fact that at my age, I still don’t really know myself and will never fully know as it reveals more each time I think I have a handle to what I really am.

7. Most importantly, we can sit back and reflect on our lives and the age we’ve lived through.

Even if our own story is not filled with drama, the headlines and achievements and tragedies of the world that have been our companion can consume hours of review and end with some tentative conclusions or insights that if we’re really careful, we can sell to the young as wisdom.

So, ageing is not the only thing we have ahead of us. It may also be the best time of life.

7 Ways for Seniors to Be Organic

Eat clean. We hear this all the time. We all know we should eat right, and today, that often means choosing organic foods instead of commercially grown, pesticide-laden options.

Seniors Going Organic
Garden in the MET Cloister

However, for those living on a fixed income, the high costs of organic foods can become an obstacle. Only though if you let high cost stop you. There are other ways you can enjoy organic food without making a dent in your budget. Try these:

1. Seasonal Shopping
2. The “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” 
3. Frozen Options 
4. Understanding Eggs 
5. Wild-Caught and Grass-Fed
6. Understanding GMOs
7. Organic Vegetable Garden

The best way, of course, is to plant your own vegetables. Even urban dwellers are now trying their best to do this. 

There are balconies and rooftops for those who have no outside plots. Start small and build it. Window sills will do. When we stayed in serviced apartments working in Asia, I often filled our sills with pots laden with herbs which I can easily snip and add to smoothies and dishes. 

Now, in our condo here in downtown Toronto, I still plant herbs and greens I can snip to add to smoothies or salads. If it is important, we do find ways of making it happen. 

1. Seasonal Shopping

Shopping according to the seasons is a great way to not only obtain organically grown produce at lower prices but to add a greater variety of produce to your diet. 

Certain produce is locally available only at specific times during the year. However, thanks to commercial farming and preservation methods like canning and freezing, we have access to virtually any vegetable or fruit throughout the year. This is great for convenience, and there’s nothing wrong with quality canned or frozen produce. 

Shopping according to the seasons, however, allows you to obtain the highest nutrient value for the least amount of money. 

Often, this has to do with how far they are transported and how thin their skins are. Clean 15, on the other hand, is a list of foods which, although organic is always best, can usually be regarded as ‘safe’ in terms of pesticide levels.

The MET Cloister Garden
TheNew York MET Cloister Garden

Fresh produce is nearly always higher in vitamins, minerals and bio-nutrients than canned or frozen varieties. By purchasing these items – either from a farmers’ market or the organic section of your supermarket – you’ll be getting more nutritional bang for your buck. 

2. The “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” 

These easy-to-remember guidelines refer to specific foods. The Dirty Dozen consists of foods which, for a variety of reasons, are usually loaded with pesticides. 

Dirty Dozen – Apples, Celery, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Grapes, Hot Peppers, Nectarines (imported), Peaches, Potatoes, Spinach, Strawberries, Sweet Peppers, Greens and Summer Squash. 

Clean 15 – Asparagus, Avocados, Cabbage, Cantaloupe, Sweet Corn, Eggplant, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Mangoes, Mushrooms, Onions, Papayas, Pineapples, Sweet Peas (frozen) and Sweet Potatoes. 

With a list in hand, you can make more informed decisions at the supermarket. Spend a bit more on the Dirty Dozen by purchasing organically while choosing traditional Clean 15 options.

3. Frozen Options 
As freezing methods improve, more produce options are available in the freezer case. 

These options are superior to canned produce in terms of nutrient density, and many organic varieties are available. 

Look for flash-frozen whenever possible; this method preserves the highest levels of nutrients. 

4. Understanding Eggs 

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, but the type of eggs you buy is important. 

Commercially raised eggs are typically loaded with antibiotics, due to the filthy, cramped living conditions of chickens. As a result, these eggs may contain things you don’t’ want in your own body. 

The term ‘free-range’ is a step up, but, thanks to loopholes in the guidelines which regulate farming, these chickens are also living in dirty, cramped areas – the only difference is they have a small outdoor pen. 

To obtain the most responsible, healthiest eggs, choose ‘pastured.’ This term indicates that the chickens which produced the eggs are allowed to roam freely and feed on a wide – and natural – variety of insects and grains. As a result, they require fewer (or no) antibiotics, and their eggs are believed to be higher in nutrients. 

5. Wild-Caught and Grass-Fed
You may have seen these labels on fish and meat selections. Although labelling regulations aren’t as strict as they might be, these are generally good indications that the product was caught or raised responsibly. 

In general, wild-caught and grass-fed options are considered to be safer, due to their lower (or nonexistent) antibiotic levels. They are also typically higher in nutrients. 

Remember to always look for labels which specifically state “USDA Organic,” “Antibiotic Free” and “Pesticide Free.” You may see all three on the same product, although “USDA Organic” indicates that no antibiotics or pesticides were used in production. This includes the grass and feed livestock are raised on, and even the soil in which that grass and feed were grown. 

While these options typically cost more, switching to a diet with more vegetables and less protein can help to offset the costs. 

6. Understanding GMOs
You may have seen GMO-Free on food labels recently – this is due to a consumer backlash regarding the use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). These hybrid plants are believed by many to present risks to humans, simply because they are not natural and may encourage a host of unhealthy side effects such as tumour growth and excess estrogen production. 

Purchasing GMO-Free options, whenever possible, is a great way to safeguard against the largely unknown potential effects of consuming GMOs.

Vegetable Garden in Monticello
Vegetable Garden in Monticello

7. An Organic Vegetable Garden
Nothing can beat your own organic vegetable garden. This will supply you the best produce to eat. The produce will also be very fresh so not only will they be delicious but also much more healthy. 

Gardening will also make you more active contributing to your overall health. The joy you derive from watching your plants grow and giving you fruits make it all worthwhile. Start now.