As my sister and I were growing up, it was not unusual to see Mom and Dad dancing the jitterbug through the living room and into the dining room and kitchen … we had a rather small home.
We were amazed at how our parents could move. When a song came on the radio that Dad liked, he would start to shuffle his feet and then make a little swishing sound with his voice. The next thing he’d say was, “C’mon, Mary,” and that was our cue to get out of the way. Mom and Dad sure knew how to have a good time.
Dancing is an activities you can do for a lifetime. Other interests like tennis, fishing, horse-back riding, biking, swimming — all fall under the category of lifetime activities. This means you can do these things for a lifetime — or, at least, you have a better chance of doing these things later on in life than, say, playing football.
Of course, if we desire to do something into our golden years, then we need to take some sort of action now to be sure we can keep doing the thing we desire. I’m pretty sure my uncle, Howard, who was an avid fisherman, would have kept fishing if he had been able to maintain his leg strength.
I know couples who used to love to dance but for lack of trying over several years have given it up. I’ve heard people say, “My get-up-an-go is gone!” I feel truly sorry for folks when this happens. And for many, there may have been little they could have done to prevent what we typically see as the inevitable result of aging.
And still, I wonder: At what point in life does our desire to press on get out-voted by our lack of “get-up-and-go?” I wish I had a good answer. I can’t ever see myself not being able to do something I truly desire.
I think the key to keeping your “get-up-and-go” is planning. Nobody has a crystal ball to see into the future, but everyone has an idea of what they need to do, or not do, in order to keep pressing onward. I stopped running a few years ago and started walking uphill on a treadmill because I could no longer deal with the pain I was experiencing in my feet. Having a strong heart and lungs makes no sense if I can’t walk anymore. Plus, if I had stopped running without replacing that activity with something else, I’m sure I would be looking for pants in a much larger size right about now.
If you have a vision for yourself as you age that includes things like being active with grandchildren, playing tennis when you’re 75 or hiking the Appalachian Trail for several days — camping overnight as you go — then start preparing for these things.
Again, the key is planning. We plan for vacations, weddings, retirement — even death through the purchase of a life-insurance plan. The sad reality is you can only use life insurance after you’re dead. Real life insurance includes living out your desires and goals.
What kind of plans are you making now so your “get-up-and-go” will be there when you need it later in life?
DeLong is the executive director of The Suites at Station Exchange. Call him at 912-531-7867 or go to www.thesuitesatstationexchange.com.