Lessons from My Father

My father recently celebrated his 85th birthday. He is one of those people who looks and acts years younger than he is. He takes no medications, which is unheard of to those who work in the medical field. He is as sharp as a tack mentally and strong and agile physically. The man still helps me plant my garden every year, down on his knees, happy as a clam. Being in Nature with his hands in the Earth, is him at his happiest.

Over the years, I have listened to and asked my dad his secrets to staying young. Here are some pearls of wisdom I have received from him:

“Somedays I feel old; the trick is not to act it.”

“You’ve only got so many steps to take in this life. That’s why I don’t rush – I don’t want to use them all up in one day. Gotta save some for tomorrow.”

“If you’re not laughing, you’re crying…or complaining…so you might as well take time to have a little fun.”

When asked about health, my father is a firm believer in natural medicine and looking to nature for pure sources. He stopped drinking coffee in his early 80s, because he found after quitting he no longer had muscle cramps. When he discovered he had an enlarged prostate in his 70s, he began taking colloidal silver water and it went back to normal. He believes in eating garden food and not too much processed stuff. He doesn’t count calories and loves a good piece of pie.

My father has smoked a pipe for as long as I can remember. He does it because he likes it. He truly enjoys going out for a smoke on his pipe. And, as he says, “If it was going to kill me, it would have by now.”

He is not at all concerned what you think of him. Truly, completely does not care. He does his own thing and never worries about it. Yet, he is immensely giving and generous. If you truly need it, and he has it, he’ll give it to you without worry about getting it back.

It has become apparent to me that my father’s mental strength is just as much a contributor to his health as is his physical strength.

When my father was in his 20s, he was diagnosed with a disease that rots the bone marrow. It was in his leg, and the doctors wanted to amputate. He refused. When they told him that it would kill him, he said, “If it kills me, it kills me, but you’re not taking my leg.” He also told me that he wasn’t ready to die, so he guessed his body had no other choice but to heal. It did heal to the amazement of his doctors. The only medicine he took during that time was aspirin to dull the pain.

To add to his mental tenacity, my father is immensely curious about this world – always learning something new or trying to create something from scratch. He has not lost his will to learn which keeps him growing and stretching. He is not afraid to try new things.

And, my favourite thing about my father is his sense of humour. He is always looking to make you laugh, and in the process, makes himself laugh. There is a youth and vitality to this that is undeniable.

I share this little tribute to my father in hopes to inspire you to recognize what really keeps life worth living: Pure, clean living, eating natural, not caring what other people think, have your vices and enjoy the hell out of them, curiosity, trying new things, letting go of what doesn’t work, a strong resolve, laughing and having fun.

This has spurred me to take inventory of my own life and I invite you to do the same. Where do you need to bring a little simplicity and fun into it? What vices do you judge yourself for when you can simply enjoy them? What new things can you try or learn to spice up the monotony? What can you do now to be young and happy when you are 85?


Fay Thompson