Let’s start with wearing sunscreen. Nope, never told me. I can’t really remember him ever applying it. Probably because he didn’t equate the age spots all over his body with too much sun exposure. He wasn’t a sun worshiper, but he did spend a lot of time outside gardening in the summer. My mom put Coppertone on me when I was little. That was if she could nail me down for a few minutes. By the time I was a young adult, everyone my age was lathering up with coconut oil to get as dark as possible. I’m paying the price now as I look at my blotched hands and face. My kids wear tons of sunscreen.
Exercise will help keep you young. Can’t say my dad told me that. I never saw him do a sit up or chin up. He was strong as hell, mostly because he did physical labor around our house. We had lots of land, and he was always busy with some physically-demanding job or chore. My brother and I were drafted to assist him at young ages, which made us both strong as well. The benefits of stretching or having a regular exercise routine didn’t come until I was in my 20s. I’m 67 now and most days my back and shoulders ache when I wake up, and I’m slower getting out of a chair. My kids have regular exercise regiments. It helps to have Apple watches, which they do. They can monitor step and heart rates at a glance.
Watch what you eat. Ah, no way. More like, “Clean your plate.” I can’t really blame my dad for this one. He loved to cook greasy, spicy Hungarian foods. Aside from Chicken Paprikash, I disliked most of what he made leading me to sneak food into a napkin and off to the trash whenever I could get away with it. Lucky me. Dad had clogged arteries and heart disease in his late 40s. I avoided that. Both of my kids are athletes and closely regulate their diets.
Throughout my life with dad, he told me many, many things. Too numerous to write about, let alone try to remember. He passed away 30 years ago. However, there is one lesson that my father did teach me that is just now bearing fruit, staying relevant. In his 80s, he began collecting unusual whiskey and perfume bottles he bought at flea markets. He built shelves to display them, and before long had hundred of bottles that he proudly shared with visitors. A local television crew got wind of it and came out to the house to do a feature on his collection.
I recently launched my own podcast program entitled, Out-Of-Place short stories. I didn’t know a thing about podcasting, but before I knew it, I was zooming along recording, editing and launching new episodes about unusual and relatable circumstances.
If you have just retired, or are thinking about it, I believe a key to your success and happiness lies in finding a new passion to stay relevant. What’s yours?