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I Wish I Had Listened

Black news from Pasadena - Health and Lifestyle - Miss Ruthie Speaks on aging, health - I wish I had listenedThere are so many things we should listen to and take heed of. When we don't, we may live to regret it. One of the people I should have listened to was Big Mama who told me when I was in my 20's, "Girl, you better cover those knees up or when you get old you'll have arthritis." And Aunt Lois said, "Eat more vegetables and not all those sweets." My doctor told me, "Exercise more". And granddaddy said, "Be disciplined. Push yourself from your plate, so you won't be like your (step) grandma." She was at least 300 lbs.

Well, I did not listen. I was young. I thought I was "too cute" in my mini-skirt, and I did not think I had much of a weight problem, so I ate what I wanted and as much as I wanted. And when I did balloon up four dress sizes larger, my only exercise included picking up two babies in diapers and running around behind them all day. Having a regular exercise routine and watching everything I ate seemed boring and too hard. Consequently, I struggled with a weight problem for many years. Back then, I was very undisciplined. I tried every fad diet that came along. I wanted a quick fix, and when it didn't work in a week or so, I would give up.

Over the years, I came to realize the old folks were right, after all. On one of my morning walks, as I struggled to complete my goal, my knees hurt, my back hurt, my hip hurt, and the aches and pains brought Big Mama's words rushing back to me. I thought to myself, "I should have listened".

Foolishly, when younger, I thought I would have time when I got older to do all the right things for my health and my body. I said to myself, "When I am older and don't have to work every day, I'll join an exercise program at the Y or the Senior Center." Little did I count on the health challenges that came earlier. Little did I think I would not have my health, willpower, or the energy. You've heard the saying, "Use it or lose it". Well I lost some of it and now it's harder trying to get it back. Daily, I have a mental fight with myself to pull myself out of bed at 5 a.m. I push myself to move through my morning, even though many times I don't feel like it. My advice to younger folks is do it now while you can. Tomorrow is not promised, in more ways than one.

The struggle is worth it. The more I keep at it, the easier it gets. My health has improved. I have been able to discontinue taking some of my prescriptions, and my outlook on life seems brighter, praise God. Finally, although it's a little late, I'm listening. I hear the old folk's voices ringing in my ears, and I'm taking heed.

When I was younger, I valued youth and beauty. Now that I'm older, I understand true values are not outward youth and beauty. I've discovered youth and beauty in different forms such as having a youthful mind, learning new things, keeping up with changes in my environment, having sound principles, growing in wisdom, and that having a beautiful heart and spirit is the kind of youth and beauty to be highly valued. I agree with a statement I read that said something like, "In growing older, I realize I've traded my youth for wisdom. Knowing what I know today, if I were given a choice, I would choose wisdom over youth." To my amazement, I found I can possess both!

[Ruth Hopkins is the co-publisher and managing editor of THE JOURNAL and the author of the book, "Miss Ruthie Speaks." You may obtain a copy at The Journal Offices, 1541 N. Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA, or reach her by telephone at: (626) 798-3972, or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .]



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