I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the benefits of exercise and a healthy diet. I want to encourage older people (everyone, really) to improve their physical condition and promote longevity and quality of life. But those are pretty general goals and don’t speak very well to our day-to-day lives.
Yesterday (Sunday) as I write this, my wife and I had our six-year-old grandson over for a visit. The little guy is just made out of energy. I’m always amazed at how he can keep on going and going and going like our personal Energizer Bunny. My son Michael (Uncle Mikey) was over and my wife suggested the three of us go fly a kite (literally) since it looked pretty breezy outside, at least to her.
Try as we might, between Grandpa, Uncle Mikey, and Landon (my wife wisely stayed indoors), we only managed to get the thing about eighteen feet in the air and only for a few minutes at a time. The instructions on the kite’s packaging said the wind needed to be blowing a minimum of 7 mph and I don’t think that was happening.
But for over an hour, my grandson was running back and forth across the school playground pulling that kite behind him trying to get it into the air and loving every minute of it.
Keeping up with a six-year-old is a challenge for just about any adult and particularly for grandparents. That’s one very specific reason why I want to promote my own health and well-being for as long as possible. I want to be an active part of his life for as long as I can, which hopefully will be decades. Besides, my daughter-in-law is pregnant with her second, a daughter, and I want to be around and in good health for her sake, too.
My parents are both 83 years old and in reasonably good health for their age. They’ve had their bouts of this and that, but they’ve both been active over the years, especially Dad, and I believe that has contributed to their longevity.
It’s always made me happy that my parents have had a close and loving relationship with my children. I only regularly saw one grandparent, my Mom’s Dad, while I was growing up and I loved him very much. He passed away when I was in high school, and I’m enormously thankful that my own folks are still around to be grandparents to my now adult aged kids, as well as great-grandparents.
Running around after my grandson reminds me of why I go to the gym five or six days a week, why I get up weekday mornings at 4 a.m., why I push heavy weights over my head, why I jump on a cardio machine for two-and-a-half (or sometimes more) hours a week, why I (normally) don’t go back for seconds at the dinner table, and why I’m working as hard as I can to dump another 20 pounds of unsightly, unhealthy gut fat.
Every time my grandson says, “I love you, Grandpa,” it gets me right where I live. I want to keep hearing him say that to me for a long, long time to come, and to be in shape to keep chasing after him, flying kites, wrestling, and all the other things that Grandpas and grandkids do together.
I love you too, little guy.
Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it.