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How To Grow Old Gracefully…

Let me do you a favour and give you a brief overview of some facts and fiction in regards to growing old gracefully. Be forewarned — my credentials regarding anything associated with the wordgracefullyare dubious at best.

Fiction:Aging won’t bother you at all because you’re not that superficial.

Fact:You’ll wish you could turn back time and tell that 20-year-old self of yours that she was magnificent, and urge her to shamelessly apply moisturizer and sunscreen like a raging lunatic. Your entire body should be greased daily, to the point where you have a hard time holding cutlery.

Fiction:Your closet is brimming with cute, little outfits, silently screaming to be called upon to decorate your body.

Fact:When it comes time to leave the house, you’ll inevitably find yourself uttering, “I have nothing to wear.”

Fiction:You can get away with anything when you’re young.

Fact:Years of hard living will take their toll. Sadly, the bells will bang on your face.

Fiction:When you notice your first set of wrinkles, because yes, they like to form as assembly, you’ll feellike crying.

Fact:You’ll unabashedly bawl like a baby and leak snot to your chin.

What to do? Well, there’s not much you can do about growing old. As for the gracefully part of it, I don’t have much to say in that respect, either (other than it’s overrated). I do though have some useful words of wisdom to share with you regarding habits that may end up having an impact on the amount of years you spend on this planet, and how well your body responds to each passing day. I think you know by now that I’m no doctor, but I do read enough books to know that the same messages keep coming up over and over. To keep it simple, I’ve broken this down into the big three, well four actually, if you want to count exercising. But that’s a whole other fairy tale so we’ll save that story for another time. The top three? Ready or not, here I go.

No. 1:Limit your intake of alcohol. Until quite recently, I suffered from the delusion that I could still drink as much as I did in university. I must work on developing into a mature adult who possesses the intelligence and clever ability to stop after having just one. (Perhaps this should have been a class in university.) A helpful tip to speed your learning? Have children. Both the pregnancies and the early mornings for the rest of your life will smack some sense into you.

No. 2:Quit smoking. Stare at horrible, diseased lung photos all day

if you have to, chew on discarded butts you find in the park, make yourself lick a dirty ashtray whenever you feel like lighting up, smoke Export A “green death” until you spew… I don’t care what it takes, just quit.

No. 3:Break your addiction to fast food. It really can’t be much better than drinking diesel fuel. And in my case, this means breaking up with my lover, McDonald’s. Now this one is tough. This one bites the big one and gets me a little choked up. I mean, the first two are hard enough, and now I’m supposed to give up my french fries? Are fries really even that bad for you? Speaking of McDonald’s, a lot of people got really worked up a few years back about that movie, “Super Size Me.” Many of my friends swore they’d never eat fast food again after watching the movie. So of course I watched it, hoping for the

same miraculous result. Sadly, it had quite the opposite effect on me. As soon as I picked up the DVD in the movie store, and saw the picture on the movie cover of that guy with his mouth shoved full of delectable fries, I dropped my next errand to make a drive-through run. I’m starting to think that the marketing geniuses employed by McDonald’s funded the movie to send out subliminal messages to everyone who saw the cover in the movie store. It’s brilliant, really. And whenever someone moans, “How can you still eat fast food? My God, haven’t you seen the movie ‘Super Size Me?’ You should watch it, and I swear you won’t eat that crap food ever again!” I tell them yes, I’ve watched it. And yes, I’m still a frequent flyer through the drive-through window. And yes, my one-year-old child’s first word sounded alarmingly similar to McDick’s (or something close to that… after all, their father is Scottish.) Most importantly, I think most of these fast-food naysayers are still firing up their barbecues in the summer, enjoying their juicy hotdogs. I wish them well as they continue to enjoy their feast of lips, hooves and other unmentionables. I sure will.

Really, if all that goodness ends up knocking a few years off my life, then, oh well. As the saying goes, eat, drink and be merry, for today may be your last. I guess the saying has never been gorge senselessly, drink until you lose consciousness and smoke like a chimney. This may be where the gracefully part comes in.

JanitaVandeVeldegrewuponafarmnear Mariapolis,Man.Sheholdsabachelorofscience degreeinagriculturaleconomicsfrom theUniversityofManitoba,andhasworked forafinancialinstitutionsincegraduating. ShelivesinRegina,Sask.,withherhusband RoddyandtheirchildrenJackandIsla.Her firstnovel,PostcardsNeverWritten,was therecipientoftheSaskatchewanReader’s ChoiceAwardandalsolistedbyCBCasone ofthetopfunnybooksin2009.Shedonatesa portionofproceedsfromthesaleofherbook toWorldVisiontohelpthoselessfortunate. Formoreinformation,ortoorderherbook, visitherwebsiteat www.janita.ca

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You’ll wish you could turn back time and tell that 20-year-old self of yours that she was magnificent, and urge her to shamelessly apply moisturizer and sunscreen like a raging lunatic

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