As I approach my 50th birthday, the word longevity seems to be top of mind. To me, this word has deep meaning. In our younger years, it’s not typical to spend time thinking about how you will age, what will the ‘later’ years look like and what am I doing today that will affect my future life. Maybe it’s my passion for wellness, maybe it’s my age, or maybe it’s a little bit of both, but now I do spend time thinking about my longevity.
My heightened awareness of longevity was definitely influenced when I lost my father suddenly November 29, 2017. As part of my grief, I’ve tried to convince myself that my Pop left us just how he would have wanted to, this was his ‘wish’... He was never sick, he was of sound mind and the night he left us he enjoyed a favorite scotch, a glass of red wine and a family dinner. In the recent years before we lost him, he would always be sure to tell me “Kiks, I will never allow it to come to a point that you will need to take care of me.” My answer was always “Well Pop, many things are out of our control and if that day comes that I need to take care of you, I will happily do so!” He never swayed from his firm position on this and I guess in the end he was right. Now as far as I am concerned, in my mind, I had my Pop around for many more years to come. I envisioned he’d see my boys go off to college, see all my children graduate, attend their weddings, continue to tell his looong stories from his Navy years and so on…
I still often feel I was robbed of many more years with my pop, but I also have a sense of relief and pride knowing he went out on his own terms—and the way he wanted. I guess you could say this was a graceful exit and my pop left this earth with me and many others wanting more… There’s something to be said about not overstaying your welcome I guess (one of my Pop’s MANY sayings to love by!).
Throughout my years as a wellness coach I have become a lot more firm in my message about the importance of taking care of the body we have been given to live in. The lifestyle choices you make today, determines your health for tomorrow. It truly is our responsibility to take care of ourselves. Our health is our wealth. These are just a few of the sayings I use to help reflect on the importance of self-care. I often hear the comment “It just seems like a lot of work to prep food, to cook, to make time to exercise, to live healthy.” My response… “It takes a lot more time to be sick, and not feel your best.” When you wrap your head around it, we all want to feel our best but unfortunately, our lifestyles and choices have prevented many of us from understanding how good it feels to feel good.
Does it take work to live a healthy lifestyle? Absolutely. But I promise once your healthy choices become a part of your everyday lifestyle, you will never look back and you will be so thankful you are giving yourself the best opportunity to live a long, healthy life full of good fortune.
I am well aware life is full of surprises-- sometimes good, sometimes bad. None of us can predict our future. But, we can enjoy the present moment feeling our best and giving our body the best chance to fight off anything thrown our way. None of us are invincible, but we are in control of the decisions we make today. The best gift you can give yourself and your family is a healthy you!
So instead of dreading my fast-approaching 50th, I say “bring it on and here’s to longevity!”
Kiki Walker Wellness
Kiki brings her unique take on health and wellness to the North Shore.