My amazing and incredible dad is 90 years old today. Now what do you think of when you think of age 90? A dried-up husk of a person who only goes out of the house to see the doctor? A doddering old guy with his pants hitched up to the middle of his chest? A tremor-y, frail and forgetful old man in a wheelchair? Dad is none of the above. He is one of the greatest men I know; someone with a rich past, a full and diverse present, and a gleaming future.
Last year when I wrote a post about him on his 89th birthday, I detailed many things I love about him and the many things he has taught me. This year I extoll the strength and character he has shown over the years; of being willing to change, to study, to grow, to learn, and from that learning; teach. From the time he married my mom when I was four, I’ve always felt that we were a single, solid and unshakeable unit of three. We three (and for years, his license plate read “WEE 3”) worked together to become a family that liked and loved each other. In fact, when I was in grade school and listened to tales of other kids’ parents fighting or shouting at each other, I didn’t know what to make of it. There was no fighting in our house, no threatening, no open warfare. In fact, I used to complain to my friends that my parents kissed too much!
My dad has worked hard not just in his work life but in his complete life. He tried hard to understand the parts of his life that had given him problems in the past, and made positive steps to fix them. When he found out that he had hereditary high cholesterol, he began to seek out and study ways to improve his lifestyle. His doctors felt he should go on medication; Dad started his own research on the subject. He sought out information not promoted by modern medicine, and began studying and practicing yoga and meditation. He searched out viable naturopathic remedies for high cholesterol as well as developing a health-promoting and anti-aging lifestyle. He changed his thinking about what makes us sick and what keeps us healthy. He discovered ways to change his negatives to positives by doing all these things, plus he keeps on studying to this day.
Over the years he has become a student of alternative medicine and has sought out life-changing information such as that found in the ground-breaking book, “The China Study,” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II. I highly recommend it myself as it reveals solid information about nutrition, diet, weight loss and long-term health. (Read it–it will literally change your life.) He also began reading Eckhard Tolle, who wrote “A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose,” and he also reads the great books of Deepak Chopra.
Dad espouses and lives by the Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) diet, and he and Mom enjoy a mostly vegetarian diet. They have seen their health increase in many ways, and find that on the whole they both feel great every day. Even the inevitable aches and pains we all have when we get older are much more manageable for them, thanks to their lifestyle. (Anther terrific book my dad gave me is “Whole” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Howard Jacobson, Phd. It shows clearly and plainly how a WFPB diet can literally change your health from so-so to alive and vibrant. In fact, many so-called chronic conditions can be completely reversed by this method of healthy eating.)
To this day, Dad is always studying. My mom and I adore reading books by Robert Goolrich, Mary Kay Andrews, Elizabeth Berg, and so on; we read for entertainment. Dad reads to learn. His love of learning is neck-and-neck with his love of life. He is a person who lives and breathes fully each day. His studies, his daily walks, his bike-riding and skiing keep him mentally and physically fit, and he is both interesting and interested. Dad loves unconditionally, is a big hugger and is joyfully and enthusiastically alive every moment of every day.
As my own life changes to include and embrace my interests in Reiki, healing, metaphysical work and more focused writing, I begin to understand what really fuels and enriches a human being. Dad is one of the most fully alive and engaged people I know. He is not only a 90-year old man, but a 90-year old man who lives richly each day.
May all our lives, long or short, be as full and rich and glorious as my Dad’s. I love you, Dad, for who you are and how far you’ve come.