A few years ago I wrote a blog about My Uncle Jerry, then age 85, who inspired me not to give up in the midst of my workout no matter if I felt pooped and wanted to stop for a latte instead….he inspired me to seek that force from somewhere internally because, regardless of his age he was always full of ENERGY and pep.
As a kid, my brothers and I refered to him as our “Rich Uncle” and we would fight over who got to steer his yacht (even if it WAS rented?) I never won but I always put up a good fight and gave someone a black eye in the midst of it.
My Aunt Rochelle, God bless her elegant soul, would pick me up in her White Cadillac Eldorado that always smelled like strawberry air freshener and take me to a fancy restaurant for my birthday. (Looking back it was probably a Houlihan’s – but back in 1979 it was the closest I would come to pretending I was Eloise having tea at The Plaza).
I was more like Pippi Longstockings with my brother’s tube socks falling down my calf but when I was with Uncle Jerry and Aunt Rochelle I felt like royalty.
Uncle Jerry and Aunt Rochelle knew how to live! They belonged to a country club, had a condo on Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast of Chicago and as snowbirds, a condo in Boca Raton (which, if you asked Sigmund, is probably the reason I have ALWAYS dreamed of living in Florida) .
After Aunt Rochelle died, we would take the kids to visit Uncle Jerry in Boca back when we lived out East.
Although we didn’t need to worry that he was lonely, as he had the ONE thing it takes to be THE MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR in Florida: ……….He could drive at night!
But my kids adored the visit not just for the access to his country club snacks, pool and beach – but mostly because he used to chase after them and play hide and seek and even in his 80’s could SQUAT down low under the table to hide and then spring up as if simulating a BURPEE or a PLYO SQUAT – with EASE and most importantly, donning a grin from ear to ear!
He would play tennis and golf almost every day and always had a joke or worldly advice to give out to my girls- such as “ Boys make you dumb!” (They do, girls. They REALLY do. )
But it was his VITALITY and zest for life that never ceased to amaze me – not for the reason you think- (that he was an octogenarian with the effervescence of a 20 year old) – but simply because he had only recently taken up athletics and made a life changing mend to his diet.
As a kid I remember that he was always overweight and ate poorly and it was not until his LATE 60’S , when he had a heart attack, that he made a MAJOR LIFE OVERHAUL and decided to live a healthy and ACTIVE lifestyle.
What resonated with me was the fact that he- or ANYONE – can make change happen regardless of how old they are.
He decided that he simply did NOT WANT TO DIE YOUNG…and he lived a long and full life.
He passed away yesterday at the age of 88, and while his mind was not as healthy as his body – he still had his spring in his step and ebullient ear to ear smile when I visited with him a few months ago.
The human BODY is an amazing concept when you think about it. It can heal itself when bruised, it can LOSE OR GAIN WEIGHT when fed – properly or improperly – and it can persevere long beyond the MIND.
But the irony of that is that it’s the other way around- it’s the MIND that MOVES and MOTIVATES the BODY.
Uncle Jerry made the conscious decision to alter his health – he CHOSE to live a healthy and active lifestyle. He TOLD his MIND that he knew his BODY could DO BETTER.
And it did.
It was only when his MIND failed his body that he lost the battle.
We can not control what becomes of our brains as we age, (although I intend to fight Dementia every step of the way with my nightly RED WINE preventative measures!) – but we CAN control what becomes of our bodies along the way.
Take this weekend to really think about this concept.
The MIND controls the BODY but the BODY is what CHANGES the MIND.
P.S…..Go ahead and Drink the Red – its good for your heart and your brain!