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Independent Minded

Dennis Friedman

I WOKE UP THIS morning at 4:15 a.m. I don’t need an alarm clock. My internal clock makes sure I’m up at that time.

I hopped out of bed and did a quick shave with my electric razor. I put on my running shorts, shoes and T-shirt. I headed down to the kitchen. I ate half a toasted organic sprouted-wheat muffin with a thin layer of peanut butter and a small portion of a banana.

I felt pretty good this morning, so I decided to run rather than walk my three-mile loop. When I returned, I had an egg white omelette with mushrooms on a whole wheat tortilla. I also had nonfat plain yogurt with fruit.

After breakfast, I brushed my teeth with my nondominant hand. Such activities, I believe, are good for my brain. My wife asked me to pick up tuna fish and kidney beans at the store. I looked at the label on the tuna fish to make sure the only other ingredient was water. I also made sure the kidney beans had no sodium.

This afternoon, I did some strength exercises in the garage with a few weights and resistance bands. For dinner, we had fish with vegetables. Afterwards, my wife and I went for a walk.

At 8 p.m., I took my cholesterol pill. Since it’s thought your cholesterol production is highest at night, I felt it was a good time to take it. I read a little and then called it a day.

That’s my daily routine. As I grow older, I become more health conscious. I try to eat a healthy diet and stay active. No, I’m not afraid of dying. I’m also not trying to live a longer life. What I’m trying to do, at age 71, is stay independent. The best way to do that is to maintain my mobility and mental capacity.

I want to continue to live in my house that has 18 steps leading to our bedroom upstairs. I don’t want to live in an assisted living or retirement community. I like where I live. I want to stay here until the end. The only other person I want to live with is my wife. I also don’t want to be a burden to her.

When I was younger, my goal was to be financially independent. Today, I realize that isn’t enough if you want to live life on your own terms in your later years. For that, you also need your health.

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candygirl7
candygirl7
7 days ago

Dennis… I could not echo your sentiments more at this time in my life. I want to remain mobile and my trips to the gym have helped me to maintain a decent weight and fluidity in my joints. I have friends that have had major things happen and lose their independence. It’s scary as I am in the final quarter of my life. I hope that anyone reading your post will see that a careful diet and daily exercise will prolong your independent state. Best of luck and good health to you.

Joan Bunney
Joan Bunney
8 days ago

When I was 64, I published a book about reversing the aging process “naturally”; no chemicals, no invasive procedures.
Now, in my 77th year, like you, my independence is the motivation behind taking excellent care (mind, body, spirit) of myself.
What we feed the body is paramount. Organic, clean food (as in no additives) is best.
For thirty years I’ve been drinking highly alkaline water via my water ionizer machine.
Forty+ years lifting weights has enhanced my strength and balance.
Qigong focuses on breathing, yoga on stretching. Walking and swimming round out my cardio.
I take no pharma. No man-made chemicals allowed in/on my body. When my cholesterol ticks up, rather than statins, I take Weider Red Yeast Rice tablets; a century old Chinese natural phytosterol.

Life has never been better.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
  ~ Jim Rohn

Joe Daly
Joe Daly
8 days ago

Dennis-
Nice job!..routines are important….they make it easier to finish tasks…great reminder that health trumps (sorry) wealth. Being able to enjoy the fruits of our labor in later years is a great benefit.

Nate Allen
Nate Allen
10 days ago

Dennis,
Do you take any supplements or vitamins or anything? I am always going back and forth on whether they are beneficial or snake oil.

George Counihan
George Counihan
10 days ago

Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job Dennis … Father Time is an undefeated champ … we will all slow to a crawl at some point but I will go down swinging … Have worked out 7 days a week since my retirement 3 years ago and have no plans to stop … there is term for people who enter old age is good condition — WELLDERLY — I hope to get there Best of health to you

Helpful Neighbor
Helpful Neighbor
10 days ago

Thanks for sharing. Was wondering what’s a typical lunch and dinner for you?

Jack Hannam
Jack Hannam
10 days ago

All of us know the importance of health when planning for and eventually living in retirement, but occasional reminders are useful. Jonathan and others have reminded us that some things in the world of finance are beyond our control, therefore we should focus our attention on those over which we do have some influence. The same might be said about our health. I am not as good a patient as you; as a retired neurologist, I found it much easier to give advice than to follow it, but I am getting better. I applaud your efforts. We share the stairs dilemma. My wife and I love our home in which we’ve lived for 34 years, but I must climb 14 stairs to reach the second floor bedrooms, and descend 13 stairs to the basement to use my home gym and to enjoy my sound system. My inner financial-minded self tells me it would make more sense to proactively look for the ideal single floor home now, rather than have to hurriedly find one if one of us sustained an injury or illness. I suspect inertia will prevail.

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
10 days ago

Good job with your healthy lifestyle! My husband and I are also very health conscious. We walk, swim and workout and have completely eliminated sugar from our diet.

I am not a fan of stairs. My parents were living in a house with stairs when both of them were diagnosed with different forms of cancer. Negotiating those stairs was problematic.

The recent death of Ivana Trump illustrates the danger of stairs in the house.

M Plate
M Plate
7 days ago
Reply to  Kristine Hayes

If I ever move to a single floor home, this eccentric guy will incorporate stair climbing in the gym area. Yes, stairs can become an obstacle but they’re also a great way to stay fit. Ironic

mytimetotravel
mytimetotravel
10 days ago
Reply to  Kristine Hayes

Entirely agree. There are “only” fifteen steps to my second floor and both full baths, but they are the reason I know this is not an age-in-place house. In 2007, when I was 60, I broke my ankle and I was able to handle the stairs by sitting down and using my arms, but in 2017, when I developed rheumatoid arthritis I couldn’t do that any more, and I took everything I needed for the day down with me in the morning. Now the disease is controlled by medication, and I can handle the stairs easily again, but I know there is no guarantee that will continue. Given the lengthy wait lists for CCRCs in my area, I am glad I planned ahead.

Bob Harrison
Bob Harrison
10 days ago

Dennis, thanks for your article. As a recently retired 55-year old, my mind too has been moving from a focus on financial independence to health independence. Keep up the great work.

Jerry Pinkard
Jerry Pinkard
10 days ago

Good article Dennis. I am totally with you on maintaining your health.

I am 77 and still in pretty good shape, although I get nagging issues much more than I did 10 years ago. I walk every day, even on hot, humid days like we are having now. I have about 15 exercises I got from my PT that I do most days. She tells me to rest my muscles every 4th day. In the end, we need to do our best to maintain our health and pray the Good Lord will continue to bless us with our health.

After retiring 11 years ago, I was determined to remain active and I have. I serve on the boards of 2 retiree associations, one which has 50,000 members. I do some volunteer work and have been facilitating a grief ministry at our church for the past 6 years. I believe all of this keeps my mind sharp and I enjoy doing these things. In fact, today I am doing a Zoom presentation to 127 people.

Many people tend to focus on their financial readiness for retirement. They forget that they need to be healthy to enjoy it.

R Quinn
R Quinn
10 days ago

Dennis, I envy your routine, except maybe that sprouted wheat muffin. Your goal is admirable and I sure hope you meet it, but from experience it may be difficult, especially those 18 steps.

I regularly walked several miles a day. At 79 I take no medication, but stairs are a growing challenge and walking is a bit less. I track my steps on my iPhone though. In fact stairs are why we moved to a 55+ condo community.

I fear there are elements of aging no amount of healthy habits can overcome, but no reason not to try. I play golf a couple of times a week with 80 year olds and a 90 year old. They all have health problems but they keep plugging along.

Last edited 10 days ago by R Quinn

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