Marie Snider - This Side of 60
“One evening at his office, cardiologist Frederic Vagnini was reading through lab results of a patient. ‘Oh my,’ he thought. ‘This patient is in serious trouble.’
“Wondering who it was, he looked up the name, and was shocked. He was reading his own test results.”
Thus begins a press release announcing the book “Count Down Your Age: Look, Feel, and Live Better than You Ever Have Before,” co-authored by Vagnini.
Fortunately for me, I grew up in an optimistic family. My aunts and uncles were optimistic, as was my wonderful grandmother. All of my cousins are optimistic, and my only brother is the epitome of optimism.
So I had no choice but to become an optimist.
An optimist is someone who tends to feel hopeful and positive about the future. Someone who expects that things will turn out well—not perfectly, but well.
Seven years ago, I had a pretty major stroke without warning. I was wheelchair-bound for four months and also had some speech issues.
Most of the time, I feel like anything but a tortoise. I feel more like a bouncing hare. Or a bumblebee. Buzzing . . . zipping . . . dashing. From this thing to that thing.
There are lawns to mow. Entertaining to do. Cars to service. Appliances to repair. Volunteering to get involved in.
That’s only a partial list of life’s “shoulds.” And every day grows more frantic. Sometimes I feel like a humming bird—desperately fanning my wings just to keep from dropping to the ground.
Maybe that’s why the conversation about turtles and tortoises so took my fancy.
As much as I try to have a neat, orderly desk, somehow the papers pile up—magazines to read, folders to file, bills to pay, e-mails to answer, letters to write.
And when the piles begin, it’s very easy to put one more magazine or folder on the stack. I always mean to put the piles away, but the higher the stack gets, the more formidable it becomes.
Sometimes I imagine how easy my life would be without those stacks to deal with!
That’s why I was intrigued by the command “Shovel Out from under Those Piles” in the book “The Joy of Simple Living” by Jeff Davidson.
Somehow, I think I was born with the love of coffee. It’s in my genes.
When I was a baby, my Great Aunt Annie took care of me one time and couldn’t get me to stop crying. So she fed me “coffee soup” (milk laced with coffee).
After that, I was fine.
Both of my parents loved coffee. And it was a bitter pill for my father when, after a 1959 heart attack, his doctor advised him to drink Sanka. I think he would have lived longer and happier if he could have continued drinking regular coffee.
Unfortunately, I am a “night owl.” As I remember, it all began in college when I had to stay up to finish compositions or cram for tests.
I spent my first two years of college in a very strict private school. If you came in one minute later than 11 p.m., you were grounded for two weeks.
And lights out at 11 was strictly enforced.
I remember many nights when I stuffed a towel under the door so no light escaped while I sat in the closet studying. And my pattern hasn’t changed since then!
Usually, I take wisdom from a reliable source pretty seriously, whether it comes from my calendar, a book, a friend, or an e-mail.
I often get e-mails from alternative health gurus, organization consultants, and simplicity experts. Often the most important message comes in the subject line.
This week I received an e-mail entitled, “Take Some Time to Take It Easy.” What wonderful advice for the holiday season!
There’s so much to do before Christmas—cookies to bake, gifts to buy and wrap, programs to attend, decorations to put up, and Christmas dinner to make.
“I am Eloise. I am six. I’m a city child. I live at the Plaza Hotel, which is huge and wonderful and tres elegant, especially at Christmastime.”
Thus, I was introduced to precocious, fun-loving, generous Eloise.
Of course, I knew about the “Eloise” books, written by Kay Thompson and beautifully illustrated by Hillary Knight. But I really hadn’t read the books carefully.
After all, they are recommended for children aged four-eight!
But I was delighted when I recently watched “Eloise at the Plaza” and “Eloise at Christmastime.”
Some people form their goals in their minds and never write them down. Others live happily without formulating clear-cut goals.
And still others write their goals. Some even put goals on their bathroom mirror or write them on post-it notes on their computer screens.
I easily could be called the “Queen of Goal-Setting.” I’m a person who formulates and reformulates goals all the time.
During our 1982 Christmas vacation, my daughter and I listened to some motivational tapes to get ready for the New Year. I still have my 1982 Lifetime Goals in my working notebook.
Health is a wonderful thing! Every morning when we wake up feeling well, we should give thanks for health and vigour.
But when you wake up energized and ready to go, it’s easy to take health for granted. It takes an illness to make a person realize how important health is.
I speak from recent experience.
After a long period of good health, I woke up with a high fever two weeks ago. I was chilled to the bone and had trouble putting words together.