Have Fun, Play, Stay Busy
from Aging Beyond Belief by Don Ardell
Enjoy as much dessert (play) as possible, without delays. This is because you may not last a long time, especially if you are “normal” (i.e., overweight and underfit). Recall this immortal advice from Erma Bombeck: “Seize the moment. Play. Have fun. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”
While the American lifespan is much better now than in 1900 (Life expectancy in the USA rose in 2012 to 78.8 years – a record high) this trend line might not continue. Many experts in life expectancy believe positive trend lines do not take account of the disastrous effects of rampant obesity. So, to paraphrase an immortal line, “Ask not how long I can live; ask how well I can live.” This is where play comes into the picture.
Play will give you energy boosts while reducing boredom and burnout. Broaden your thinking about the nature of play. Think of play as being in nature, communing with the land, fauna and flora, as well as participating in sporting events. All are forms of play. You might derive great pleasure from hiking in wilderness areas or photographing wildlife in the natural world. No need to creat a hierarchy of play with higher, dignified, socially approved and ennobling forms at one end and lowlife forms (e.g., mud wrestling) at another – all forms are useful, provided nobody gets hurt and the horses are not frightened.
Some of my favorite (anonymous) quotes deal with play, particularly when exercise and eating dessert are included as elements of such.
- Fifty years ago people finished a day’s work and needed rest. Today they finish and need exercise.
- If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.
- I’m in shape – round is a shape, isn’t it?
- Aerobics defined: A series of strenuous exercises which help convert fats, sugars, and starch in to aches, pains and cramps.
And one of my favorites from George Bernard Shaw, “No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.”
Well, the lessons seem clear enough: play will do you a world of good. Play all the days of your life, until you die when, for the first time in life, it won’t matter anymore.
Enjoyed this article? You’ll love Don Ardell’s book, Aging Beyond Belief – 69 tips for Real Wellness.
Donald B. Ardell was a pioneer in the Wellness movement. He wrote High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs, and Disease, first published in 1976 by Rodale Press, with editions over the years by Bantam Books and Ten-Speed Press. Since then Don has written a dozen additional wellness books, including Die Healthy (with Grant Donovan), 14 Days to Wellness, and Aging Beyond Belief.
Personally, Don is an avid competitor in triathlons and duathlons. He has won many national and three world championships in triathlon and duathlon competitions.