Thursday, May 28, 2009

How is Leon Liberman healthy?

I'm a 77-year old Emersonian non-conformist, surprisingly blessed with probably undeserved good enough health, considering decades of indifference, neglect and abuse. The accompanying photograph is proof that I look somewhat younger than my age.

What do I contribute my good health to? I walk. I do it in part as my only exercise but mostly for pleasure. I have an insatiable curiosity and very little is missed when you walk as opposed to drive which I never learned to do.

I don't make a career of aging or not being wholly well. I accept the physical, social and sexual limitations forced on me and because of that acceptance, I handle them well. I seldom run to catch buses, rest when I'm tired, don't suffer bores and understand rejection. I detest condescension by those who patronize the aging.

I know that what seems right for me not be right for others. I thrive on black coffee, Marlboros, the odd bourbon and a lot of nostalgia although I agree with Simone Signoret who called her autobiography, "Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be."

I eat what I enjoy eating when I'm hungry. Retired and living alone, it's easy for me not to abide by popularly accepted lunch and dinner times. I weigh an approximate 160 pounds. I think that obesity should be taxed to pay for the inevitable diabetes and kidney and heart failure treatment that is as much a drain on the health care system as any other condition if not more.

I dutifully turn up for regularly scheduled doctor appointments and rush to see doctors when I suspect that something unusual is happening. I recently asked a doctor why I'm so fortunate in responding well to medication that I take for diagnosed conditions and am able to ward off others related to aging and the sexually active. He said that genes have a lot to do with it and as much,
it's the luck of the draw. My father died at 81 and my mother at 90.

I keep medication down to the minimum required for me to survive and function as I want to. I take very little preventive medication. I expect to outlive some if not all of the cursed afflictions of aging. I've never been in a gym, run a marathon, or bought anything at Whole Foods. I have no panacea to share for keeping in good working order. Someone had written, "The only justification for death is to live" on a Barcelona metro wall. I buy that argument. Do what has to be done to keep yourself in good or as I said in my case, good enough health but make sure that it includes large doses of curiosity, new learning experiences, simple pleasures and everyday delights. Mental health is as important as physical. Don't give in or give up. Keep interested.

Abrazos y Besos!

-- Leon Liberman

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