“Act your age! “ A reprimand that echoes through our increasing ages that probably gave rise to Jenny Joseph’s defiant poem:

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth…

I prefer the sound of: “Activate your Age!” now that I am in my 70’s. The following synonyms may help you understand what I mean by the word ‘activate’: oxygenise, set in motion, enliven, motivate; in other words: to be in good physical, mental and spiritual health in order to have fun and enjoy life in the years ahead! It is a myth that we have to slow down as we get older.

I have been a student of healthy living for ten years now. I recall sitting next to my mother’s bed – she was suffering from cancer and on such strong pain-medication, she could no longer recognise me. I had just turned 60 and my mom was in her 80’s. “Is this my future? “I asked. “Does growing old mean I will be sick and feeble and in pain?” A scary moment! I have a relationship with my Creator so I asked God where disease comes from?

I, then first discovered that the food we eat matters very much; began to learn which foods stress the brain and body and which foods release energy and intelligence! Studied through Mary-Ann Shearer here in South Africa and Dr Colin Campbell, a Nutrition Researcher at Cornel University, USA. His book The China Study is jaw-dropping with some chapters entitled: Turning off Cancer, How to eat and Big Medicine: Whose health are they protecting? This book has given me hope based on scientific fact that we do not need to associate growing older with dis-ease!
Through Dr Caroline Leaf, a cognitive brain scientist I learned that the way we think about ourselves impacts every cell in our bodies. Negative thoughts like: “I am not good enough” or “I am too fat!” releases destructive chemicals to my cells. Proverbs 23:7 records a truthful statement: “As a man/woman thinks in his/her heart, so is he/ she.” No wonder we are all called to love ourselves and others. The mind-body connection is so strong that our bodies harbour offence. Did you know that the spiritual root of high cholesterol is anger at yourself? Reject an angry thought and choose to forgive, then your heart will secrete a chemical called Atrial Naturetic Factor to calm your body down. What about breast cancer? The origin of malignant cells in the breast is often formed out of strife with another woman. The science of Epi-genetics reveals that the expression of our genes is responsive to language – what we say and think of ourselves!
Unresolved childhood trauma may leave us with self-hatred and because the body keeps the record, we become more susceptible to disease. Many of our ailments have spiritual roots – let’s uproot the toxic past and step confidently into the future.
With this goal in mind, I am drawn to learn from the Blue Zones: where people live very long healthy lives. The researchers of these people-groups discovered 9 lifestyle habits in common. Here they are:
1.Exercise your physical body, especially outdoors.
2.Have a reason to get up every morning – Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy 3.Develop a strategy to deal with stress
4.Eat your last meal before or at sunset
5.Eat more plants than meat
6.Wine! Moderate wine drinkers outlive non-drinkers!
7.Develop a relationship with your Creator. People of faith live 4 – 14 years longer
8.Family time is an important value
9.Find your tribe: have friends, a social circle

Why don’t you join me on this journey to activate your age? I will write often about each habit, not necessarily as they are numbered! I may start with 6. Wine! That is an easy habit to adopt as I enjoy wine – Alas, the President of SA keeps interrupting this habit for me by closing all the retail outlets from time to time.
It is now my joy to share with you all that I have learnt to inspire you to a lifestyle without anxiety and pain towards one full of vitality and fun, no matter your age!

Such informative books!