My husband and I love to watch movies – it doesn’t really matter if the movie wants to tickle us, scare us, baffle us, move us, or leave us breathless (AVATAR!) – We simply LOVE movies, old and new.
A few nights ago we did the whole pile up in the bedroom with cookies and tea and watched an old Elvis movie: Spinout. We’ve been taking Elvis movies and reliving the fun one at a time. I can’t honestly say this one was one of the best written Elvis movies (our cat Alexa could have written a better story…. asleep), but it was still, like all Elvis movies, a lot of fun. It was cute, in spite of a weak plot: I’m going to marry him. No, I’m going to marry him. I’m a girl! Well, I’m not marrying you. You will marry me. I will not marry you. Or you. You will marry me. I’m a girl! Daddy, make him marry me…
I’ve been thinking a lot about one particular scene from this movie. Elvis’ character, Mike barges in on a couple (Bernard and Violet) as they’re sitting at their dinner table. Bernard has his newspaper up in front of his face, Violet half-ignores Bernard.. that sort of thing. They’re obviously in the rut to end all ruts.
Bernard: I’m not as handsome as I used to be. Nor as young either.
Mike: You’re not as old as you’re behaving either. (To Violet) And neither are you.
I think this scene really struck me because it has always been something that I feel strongly about: I just hate to see people who aren’t living out loud! It’s as though they’re wasting the precious life that has been given to them – a life, and health – that many aren’t lucky enough to enjoy.
Everyone has their excuses for living in a sad little rut:
- I don’t have enough money…
- I’m overweight…
- My spouse is a nightmare…
- My kids are nightmares…
- I’m a nightmare…
- I’m too old…
- I’m not old enough…
Excuses. They’re always a riot unless we’re the ones spouting them off. Each of these excuses is utter nonsense, of course. You can be happy no matter what you weigh, no matter what your age is, and (thank goodness) in spite of your savings!
One of the greatest, and saddest, ruts people fall into is summed up by the scene in this movie – by our poor Bernard and Violet. For some reason, some people simply tend to act older than their age – and they start doing so far sooner than they should. Being an only child probably contributed to the fact that I’ve never acted my own age, let alone an older one. Yet even I, a few days ago, caught myself. Here I am, only in my 40s, and I honestly came close to skipping a trip to the store because I knew it’d be crowded and the weather was cold. Just as I was in the middle of a decrepit thought, I’d really like to bake another batch of Cake Mix Cookies, but I need a few ingredients, and the store will be packed. Plus, it’s cold…. Fortunately, I caught myself and pinned my own ears back with a little biting sarcasm, Well, granny grunt, why don’t you just put your gown on and go to bed? Want a little warm milk first?
The Cake Mix Cookies are delicious.
Before New Year’s Day gets here and I start going on and on about resolutions, I want you to do yourself a huge, huge favor. Give yourself a little RUT CHECK (it’s kin to gut check – a distant cousin, I believe). You’ll be a lot better equipped to handle new resolutions once you take care of this pressing, urgent matter. Take a good, long look at yourself and determine if you’re acting YOUR age, or your great grandparents’ age.
- Do you “walk old?” Pay close attention to how you walk. Your walk can become a habit. Do you scoot, shuffle, or hobble? If so, what’s the cause? If your feet, knees, or back hurt, do something about it. You may need new shoes or even a great pair of insoles. Look at the lines of insoles and find some that address the pain you’re feeling. If you keep walking on hurting feet, you’re just making them worse and you’re training your body to walk a certain way.
- Do you keep from doing things you enjoy for ridiculous reasons? If you want to go to the movies – go! The longer a person stays “out of the loop,” the harder it is to jump back in. The good news is, once you jump back into the fun, it’s like you never left.
- This is a strange, but important, one: Have you ever paid really close attention to how you eat and drink? This is especially tricky for people who eat a lot of meals alone – manners often fall by the wayside! Begin to pay attention to how you eat – what sounds do you hear? Let’s be honest, there should be as few sounds as possible! Do you chew your food slowly rather than wolfing it down? Remember your manners and never, ever chew with your mouth open. I will hunt you down.
- Do you tend to ridicule young people a great deal? Think of cranky “old” grouches in movies, comic strips, and cartoons. Don’t become one of those grunts! Live your life, have fun, enjoy it and allow everyone else the same freedom to do the same. You say, “They don’t dress like I did! They don’t wear their hair as short as I did! They don’t work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week like I did!” Who says they have to be mini- yous?!?! After all, if it were so great, why are you so miserably cranky?! Let them live their life – you have your own. Remember: When you condemn, criticize, and ridicule – you are the one who looks bad. And old.
- Every ache and pain isn’t debilitating and every sniffle isn’t swine flu! For whatever reasons, a lot of people obsess over their health. Sometimes it’s because their parents had a gazillion health problems and they’re worried about facing similar problems. You have to be so careful because I, for one, firmly believe that we often create our own realities. When our mind keeps telling our body that something’s wrong with it and that it isn’t well – it will eventually believe it.
- When men and women are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s – there are a lot of things going on. There are children, spouses, grandchildren, work, bills, houses, vehicles, and (for the fortunate ones) aging parents. So many demands! It’s only natural that some information will be misplaced along the way. Forgetting where you put your keys, for example, or forgetting butter at the store (when it’s the main thing you went for!) don’t signal old age-itis or senility. More times than not they signal that you have too much going on at the moment! However, we can’t exactly let everything go – so that’s where notes come in handy! Use post it notes – they’re bright, colorful, and will make sure the butter comes home with you next time. As for the keys, put them in the same place every single time – a hook by the door is ideal. Think about it: There are more things going on right now than when you were in your 20s and 30s.
- Stay sharp! Don’t fall into the rut of just reading the newspaper or watching tv each night. Go places, see new things, learn about new places, people, and things. Challenge your mind and explore everything around you.
- Get fresh air every single day – even if the air is kind of nippy! Fresh air and natural sunlight are good for you, if you use common sense. Just don’t hole up like a bat in its cave or a bear in its den.
- Eat healthy foods and drink lots of green tea! Healthy foods will make you feel as good as junk food makes you feel bad. Try eating MORE fruits and vegetables this week and see if it doesn’t make a huge difference in how you feel – and think.
- Get plenty of rest and quality sleep. Everyone should read the following article: Sleep Deprivation is Dangerous – if you are experiencing anything from stubborn pounds to skin problems, the key may be a lot simpler than you ever thought – zzzzzzzzzzz. As soon as you get through here, please read this article.
If you suspect that you’re acting, or thinking, older than you think you should – do something about it. Don’t let your thoughts and actions cause you to age prematurely. Thoughts are one of the most powerful things in the world – everything begins with a thought, then it’ll grow in the direction of that thought. Start holding your thoughts, actions, steps, and words accountable. Make no mistake, they’re either aging you or keeping you young. Fortunately, the choice is yours.