It’s Never Too Late to Enjoy Good Health

This blog is a contribution from Kim Wiklund, a member of Kate’s blog team.  Thank you Kim!

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Uploaded from Google Images

“I need a new knee!” “I need a new hip!” “I can hardly move my shoulder!” “I’m scheduled for back surgery!!”  These are some of the many declarations that I heard when I first arrived at the clubhouse on a lovely spring day after being encouraged to join a women’s golf league. Thinking that it would be a great way to socialize and enjoy being outside, I became a member.  Granted, many of the women were a couple of decades ahead of me in this life, but, nonetheless, I was somewhat taken aback by the focus on the ailments associated with aging.  Yikes, I thought, is this what I have to look forward to?  As it turns out, not necessarily…

According to Laura Carstensen, a Stanford social psychologist, contrary to gloomy predictions, growing older brings social and emotional stability, engendering a sense of well-being which can otherwise be called wisdom.[1]  Karl Pillemer, a Cornell sociologist, conducted 1,200 interviews of the elderly and found that they were likely to “describe the last five or ten years as the happiest years of their lives.  We have a seriously negative stereotype of the 70s and beyond, and that stereotype is typically incorrect.”[2]

Convinced that life and health were really an outcome of our relationship with God, good, Mary Baker Eddy, a progressive 19th century thinker and Christian healer, had this to say; “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably (sic) to their occupancy of your thoughts.”[3]  And, she proved it, accomplishing her most significant work from the ages of 60-89 and living in good health almost twice as long as the average age for females in that era.

Recently, I had an experience that brought all of this to light.  I went to college at a highly respected conservatory and graduated with a degree in Classical Guitar performance.  Finding it difficult to make a living playing music, I spent the next nearly 30 years doing other work to pay the bills.  With little time to practice, my guitar spent most of those years languishing in a closet.  I retired early and not too long afterwards I pulled the guitar out and ultimately began practicing again in earnest.

Before doing so, I made a pact with myself to find enjoyment in whatever level of playing I was able to achieve. Common health theories would say that I might not have the same flexibility as I did when I was younger and practicing could cause pain. Yet, I knew playing the guitar was a good thing.  At first my hands were a bit sore and stiff after practice, but I kept at it, refusing to consider that it was too late for me.  After a brief while, I was amazed to find that it was as if those interim 30 years had never existed.  In fact, my focus, and consequently my playing, had improved. Even the soreness and stiffness in my hands abated!  My ability to express myself through music had never left me, and never would.

What I take away from this is that we possess a more enduring aspect that cannot be discerned through the body. It is a spiritual connection to something greater than our material life on this planet and through it we receive everything we need to succeed, no matter what phase of this earthly existence we are in.

Now, let’s go back to those women on the golf course.  I noticed something else, after all the initial chatter about physical ills.  The best golfers out there were not those who were younger and more powerful, but rather, were those who had gained more experience with age.  Once they got out on the course and concentrated on the moment at hand, they were the ones who played more consistently, felt more at ease, reaped the rewards of the lowest scores, and got the most enjoyment from the day.  It seems that we do experience what we hold in our thinking, and that can change at any given moment.

Instead of focusing on the chronological progression of my material lifespan, I prefer to focus on “the enduring, the good, and the true.”

[1] Washington Post, August 10, 2010

[2] Smithsonian. What is So Good About Growing Old.  July 2012

[3] Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy – 261:4

Kim Wiklund, the newest member of Kate’s blog team, is a life-long spiritual seeker who began her study of Christian Science relatively recently.  As such, she looks forward to exploring more about spirituality and the important part it plays in our overall health through her blogs.  She is a classically trained guitarist and recently took up the banjo as well.