I am having trouble wrapping my arms around this significant number. But, as my favorite philosopher, Winne the Pooh, says, “Oh bother.”
Intellectually I understand that my chronological age does not define me. What is more relevant is whether I am embracing healthy aging.
So, what is healthy aging? According to the NIH, many factors influence healthy aging, such as genetics, exercise, a nutritious diet, regular doctor checkups, and being mindful of one’s emotional health.
My genetics are mixed. My Dad struggled with heart disease for most of his adult life. He had his first heart attack in his 40s. Although my father never drank alcohol, he struggled with maintaining a low cholesterol diet and rarely made time to exercise. He passed away from his second heart attack at age 58. My Mom lived to 95, never exercised a day in her life, loved her vodka and cranberry cocktail each day, and only ate fried foods. She was completely healthy when she passed. Go figure.
I am not a jock. I was the last person picked in PE, and it was mortifying. However, after watching my Dad, I realized the positive impact exercise could have on my heart health. I used to ride a bike every day, but then I discovered that this was not helping my bone density. So, now I walk 5X a week for an hour. I have several walking partners, which makes it fun!
A study of adults 40 and older found that taking 8,000 or more steps daily, compared to only 4,000 steps, was associated with a 51% lower risk of death from all causes. I’ll take it!
As for my weight and nutrition, there are changes in weight and muscle mass that I have had to come to grips with. To put it bluntly, I cannot eat like I used to. As a post-menopausal woman, I must be more mindful of my consumption, as my metabolism is slower. This not-so-wonderful factoid motivates me to exercise!
Speaking of nutrition, I am a vegan. When I went off my hormones at 67, those horrible hot flashes reared their ugly head again. I interviewed a renowned nutritionist who had just finished a study on how changing your diet and gut biome can reduce hot flashes. So, I tried it, and it worked for me. You can read more about this in Menopause Mondays® Can Eating a Vegan Diet Diminish Your Hot Flashes?
Some days I feel like I am in my forties. Then there are other times, for example, when I am on the floor playing with my two grandchildren, I feel around ten years old until I get up, and then I think I am closer to ninety. Most days, I glide up those hills on my daily walks, other days, I am huffing and puffing.
When I reflect on this healthy aging concept, I am confident I am doing my best to actively participate in activities promoting healthy aging. I am active, make healthy food choices (most of the time), limit my alcohol intake, have healthy sleep habits, and am proactive about my healthcare. As for my emotional health – I learned to meditate to help overall calmness, and when I need extra help with life’s challenges, I have an excellent therapist to reach out to.
I shall embrace 69 and look forward to many more happy birthdays in the years ahead.
My Motto: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
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6 thoughts on “Today is my 69th Birthday!”
Thanks Ellen. I am about a year behind you. I really appreciate this article so much. My father died young from a massive heart attack and my mom is still going strong at 88 years old. I, too, have become vegetarian and exercise regularly because of my father’s heart disease and young demise. I feel so much as you describe and I wish both of us many more years of good health, happiness, and feeling most of the time like we are younger than we actually are!
Thank you for taking the time to share this with us, Marna. Yes, here is to feeling as you put it so well, “most of the time” as if we are younger than we actually are!
Happy birthday Ellen and thank you for always sharing your journey with menopause in a positive way. My grandmother lived to 107 on my dad’s side and I’m not relying on that getting me through the 2nd half of my life, but…… May the next several decades bring you much health and happiness 😉
Thank you for the sweet birthday wishes. WOW, Debra, 107 years old! That is incredible. Lucky you, you have some significant healthy aging genes. Wishing you the best of health and happiness, as well.
I will never forget how much you helped me, at the young age of 51….
Now at 61 years young, after choosing to go on bio identical hormone replacement; I am doing so much better!
It continues to be the golden ticket that I need to feeling better.
Now I do my best to encourage others
Thank you for your sweet words, Linda. It means so much to me to hear that my Menopause Mondays® blog helped you on your menopausal journey. It is fantastic that you are spreading the word with your sisterhood. Educating women on midlife is an uphill battle. So many women are still not prepared or educated about perimenopause, menopause, or post-menopause.