We travel to Manhattan all the time, but this was our first MetroNorth and NYC Subway ride, leading to a lovely outing in SoHo visiting galleries, cafés, and my favorite old haunt, Washington Square Park. Then a walk all the way back to Grand Central Station, pushing strollers, for our return trip home. The city beat me up good, just like it used to. I got yelled at, and a vagabond spat on the baby. Our fair, foul city mixes it up every day, in every unexpected way.
Along the route, I overheard a man say, “This job is taking years off my life.” It stuck with me and I wanted to write about it.
I thought, “Well, then, your challenge is to add years back on!”
How are we each striving to add years to our lives? I know I could do more exercise. I had an awesome surge of energy at the outset of summer, but I’ve since become lazy. Part of it is lack of sleep; when a free hour presents itself, all I want to do is sleep. So, starting, uh, tomorrow, I resolve to get more sleep, so I have more energy to then go burn at the gym or on the trail.
Our friend was kind enough to come over and pump our bike tires, but that’s the only time this season they’ve come off the rack. Blame it on having a kid, and not much babysitting help. Riding routine: FAIL. I was away from the baby during her waking hours for three hours today, and it had been a while since the last time. (Thanks, hubby, for taking baby to see Bubbie while I brunched at Tello’s in Chelsea.)
So, what else can I do to add years to my life, in addition to staying active? Lots of hugs, loads of laughter, and, IMHO, developing a skill through a hobby like photography, gardening, horseback riding, piano, or pottery. Fine arts with a product or gifty yield are especially fun. Several of my friends have monetized their crafts, and I admire them. Hey guys—are you adding years to your lives with what you do and make?
I have come to terms with the reality of work and pollution, which both require antidotes and balancing acts.
Aromatherapy helps refresh and clear my mind. Some may not believe, but I’ve only experienced benefits from mists and candles and oils and diffusers, and my daughter enjoys them too—both when she’s well and when she’s sick. Besides, having a prescription for my condition, whether it be fatigue, congestion, or melancholia, helps. Pause, deliver yourself a dose of targeted scent, breathe deeply, then continue on. It’s real magic and I’d love to delve deeper into aromatherapy in the future.
What else adds years to my life? If it isn’t already obvious, communing with nature. Forests are the antidote for crowds, and silence is the antidote for noise.
Listening to TED talks sharpens my mind, which is definitely a road to longer life. (I’d like to believe this. Certainly it leads to a fuller life that then seems longer because it is so rich.)
We all know by now having pets extends our lives, by lowering blood pressure and staving off loneliness.
Speaking your mind, I believe, might help add years by shedding the weight of any repressed feelings that might transmute into physical tension. Almost any means of relieving tension probably adds to longevity.
I’m not sure yet how being an adrenaline junkie might add up—great, if you survive risks like operating small crafts at high speeds; less than great if you flub and fall. But… let’s focus on the fun and enjoyment that the life force feeds on.
The spirit is a playful child, sometimes bursting with energy, shrieking, bouncing off the walls.
Feed yourself well. That’s key to long life.
I don’t know how to explain smokers who live ’til 100, but they’re not representative, so don’t do it.
Quit your vices, one at a time. Get smart before you turn 40 and think, “Aw, shit. My body’s pissed at me.”