It's Sunday again. Amazing how that happens each week.
May I ask, what do you plan to do with the day ahead? Maybe you're already doing it. I can envision you reading the newspaper, drinking a cup of coffee and eating a buttery croissant. Maybe it's a bagel instead of the croissant. Bagels are high-carb, but most people seem to think they're a tad more healthful than croissants. That said, bagels are really huge these days, so having half of one is probably best. But it's your day, so eat whatever you like. You'll probably want cream cheese on that bagel, won't you? Just exactly what is cream cheese anyway? Ever thought about that?
But I digress. Since I retired, every day feels like a personal gift — to be used well and thoughtfully.
The possibilities for a typical Sunday are many. I usually attend church and sing my heart out. I think of it as a form of aerobic activity. Wait, is this the day Ascension Church has a "Fun Day Sunday" event with the balloon guy and a bounce house? Nope, that's next Sunday.
I could work in my vine-tangled garden today — pull some of those gnarly weeds and try to figure out why my Rudbeckia looks so withered. Gardening is a great way to maintain flexibility, endurance and strength — ever-present challenges as we age. After some time-structured gardening, I'll probably drop down in a comfortable chair with a glass of iced tea (lots of mint) and a good book — maybe a view of the bird feeder?
There are other possibilities, of course. Despite the earlier reference to reclining with reading material, I do recommend including activities that keep you moving. I attended a conference on "elder-friendly futures" last week, and physical activity was described as "the best treatment option" for older adults with chronic diseases. There was a presentation by a well-regarded national researcher, and she said physical activity and exercise were "the fountain of youth."
Recalling that conference makes me consider a Sunday hike in the Jacksonville Woodlands or ( flatter ground) a neighborhood walk through the attractive Twin Creeks area of Central Point. All we need is a pair of walking shoes and protection from the sun. Maybe take a walking partner in order to share stories and offer affirmations.
Or how about a shopping trip? There are quite-credible (Harvard-based) researchers who say shopping is "the ideal activity" for the aging adult. You're moving purposefully at a rapid clip as you walk around the mall or in and out of downtown stores. You're using your cognitive abilities to make purchasing decisions — so there's a brain workout, too. And you're interacting with store clerks so you maximize "social connectivity," which is a sure way to squash any of the depressive thinking that sometimes comes with aging. See how this all comes together?
Start by thinking of each day as a gift.
Sharon Johnson is a retired Oregon State University associate professor emeritus. Reach her at Sharon@hmj.com.