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Choosing To Live Longer By Living Simply

Updated on November 24, 2013
It is time for a change
It is time for a change | Source
I want to live a full life with Bev
I want to live a full life with Bev | Source
I want to live a full life with my son
I want to live a full life with my son | Source

I have been up now for about two hours. I wake up each day at 6:15 and then go through the daily ritual of eliminating as many aches and pains as I can before I begin writing. Such is life when you are sixty-three. No, there is nothing major wrong with me. I’m just aging and with that comes the inevitable sore joints and muscles that require time before they will loosen up. I don’t particularly like it but there is very little I can do about stopping the aging process.

Or is there? I may not be able to stop the process but I can at least slow it up some and that is what I want to write about today. I have been quite lax about taking care of myself. I think in the dark recesses of my mind I always thought my body would remain young and so I’ve done very little to guard against the day when nature had its way. Maybe that constitutes self-deception and maybe it is just desperate thinking but the day has come when I can no longer deny the fact that if I don’t make some changes then the next twenty years are going to be more painful and more debilitating and that simply will not do for me.

I really have been blessed. I have only been in the hospital once, for an operation on a bulging disk in my back. That was over twenty years ago and I have not had a moment of trouble with it since that day. I am rarely sick and then only a touch of the flu or virus that goes away quickly. My blood pressure is fine, cholesterol is within healthy limits and my weight has not fluctuated more than ten pounds in forty years.

Whoever my birth parents were they passed on some seriously healthy genes and considering the hell I have put my body through it is a minor miracle that I am as healthy as I am. In fact, it defies logic. Consider for a moment that I am an alcoholic and yet did not do any noticeable damage to my liver or heart. Consider that I played sports for forty years and yet never sustained an injury. Consider that I have eaten in ways that would make a vegetarian cringe and run for shelter and yet I show no signs of the poor health one would expect because of poor eating habits.

And yet I cannot deny reality!

My shoulder has now developed arthritis as a result of thousands upon thousands of pitches thrown in high school, college and adult baseball. My sore body takes seemingly forever to loosen up in the morning and then grows tired much too quickly when I’m doing yardwork. My sedentary life as a writer means eight to ten hours in front of a computer and I can now tell that my stamina and endurance are less than they once were.

I do not like what is happening and so I have chosen to change it. Maybe not stop it but at the very least change my approach to life so that I can slow this damn aging process up a bit.

Just as I believe one can choose to be happier I also believe that one can choose to be healthier with regards to those things that are within our control and that is what I aim to do as of June 1st. No, this is not one of those silly resolutions that are discarded once things become tough. I do not do resolutions! I make decisions and then work towards their resolution with a dogged determination.

Allow me to tell you where I have come from and then I’ll tell you where I am going.

AN ILLOGICAL APPROACH TO GOOD HEALTH

I have never really given much thought to good health. My eating habits have always been guided by one principle: if it has feet, wings or fins I will eat it; if it comes from the ground or a tree I will not eat it. Pretty simple philosophy and very easy to remember! If you think I am kidding then drop Bev a line and ask her. That poor woman and the love of my life has taken on the challenge of somehow preparing meals that please me and yet have a semblance of nutritional value. Can you say Mission Impossible?

Conservatively speaking I have eaten poorly for forty years of my life. My body loves processed foods. I was listening to a radio talk show this morning and they were talking about white foods being bad and colored foods being good. In other words, white sugar, white bread, white potatoes, all were bad for you. I could only listen and laugh because I have lived white most of my life.

I am an alcoholic! How’s that for a recipe of a short life? I began drinking when I was twenty-six and for the most part stopped when I was forty-four. Those eighteen years were marked by heavy drinking and incredibly poor nutrition that often accompanies excess consumption of liquor. Since 1992 I have relapsed several times but only for a week at a time; it is safe to assume that whatever damage I have done to myself was done prior to 1992 and yet I show none of the health signs of an alcoholic. The only time my drinking became seriously unhealthy was in 2006 and then I almost died after a one week binge that had my blood pressure hovering in the life-threatening scale. Again, though, almost six years later I am healthy as a sixty-three year old horse.

I never go to a doctor. True, now that I have no benefits it is only logical that I would not go but for decades I have made it a point to self-diagnose myself and treat any abnormalities with my own unique brand of health care which simply means I ignore what is wrong and wait for it to go away.

As I said earlier, my good health is illogical and can only be explained by damn good genes.

And yet I cannot deny reality!

THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS INESCAPABLE

At one time I climbed mountains and ran half-marathons. I played a variety of sports and treated the outdoors as if it were my own personal playground. Now I couldn’t jog a half-mile if you put a gun to my head and I haven’t played a competitive sport in decades. Alcohol played a huge part in this negative transformation but also I have to blame complacency and a certain acceptance of advancing age.

No longer! Although I know I cannot stop aging I can certainly slow it up. I have too much to live for and for the first time in a very long time I love life. I want to be able to enjoy life to the fullest with Bev and I want to once again be a positive, contributing member of society. I want to buy the farm of my dreams and be able to fully appreciate it once Bev and I purchase it. I cannot do any of these things if I continue to treat life with the ho-hum attitude of my past.

And so it is time for a change!

IT BEGINS JUNE 1ST

I watched my dad grow old before my eyes. By the time he died at the age of forty-nine he appeared to be an old man, worn down by hard work and a lifestyle that was not conducive to a long life. I refuse to let that happen to me. Yes, I refuse! It is my choice! Of course there are things I cannot control; there may be a hidden time bomb ticking in my body right now that I do not know about. Being adopted means having no clue about family health history but I won’t spend a minute worrying about something I have no knowledge of. However, there are certainly things I do have knowledge of and I can control.

I took a huge step in the right direction six years ago when I finally gave up alcohol for good. I live a stress-free lifestyle now, following my passion for writing and deciding to simplify my life over the past six years. I also made a decision to be happy and I believe with my entire being that happiness will prolong life.

But that is not enough! And so I will change! I will begin an exercise program to get this old body back in shape. Bev wants me to begin yoga and I will do that. I will extend my walks and hike more this summer. I will, God forbid, begin eating colored foods and eliminate white foods. Again, God forbid, I will eat more vegetables and fruits and cut back on my staple diet of meat and processed foods.

I do this all for Bev because I love her beyond words. I do it for my son because I want to remain for as long as possible his father and support system. I do it for myself because I love myself and want to extend this life for as long as possible. I still have things I want to do; I still have things I want to accomplish.

I want to wring out every ounce of living I can in my remaining years and I want to grab life by the short hairs and live each day like it were my last.

I refuse to slowly fade away. It is time to get back in the saddle and celebrate living rather than accept aging.

Life is for living, not just existing and today I make the choice to live! I now have a voracious hunger for all that life has to offer and it is time to feed that hunger. Today I celebrate life and I am ready to completely embrace it!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

For more works about Lifestye Choices please see:

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Leaving-The-Rat-Race-Behind

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Saying-Goodbye-To-A-Life-That-Wasnt-Working

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Lifestyle-Choices-Becoming-The-Man-I-Want-To-Be

To purchase my Lifestyle Choices book on Kindle go to:

http://www.amazon.com/Lifestyle-Choices-ebook/dp/B007ZV9G2U/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336064586&sr=1-3

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ytsenoh, thank you my friend. Life would be so boring if it were not for change. I thrive on it and always have.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Enhancing positive awareness is a productive effect in lifting longevity. Wonderful hub. I agree, change is always good because there is always a lesson to be discovered. Keep writing your inspiring hubs, Billy. Best regards.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bishop, I agree with you, change is always good. Without it we would not grow as a person. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Bishopdown profile image

      Bishopdown 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Wow, I very nice and personal hub. I'm glad you've stopped drinking and also, that your making a change in your life. Change is always good.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandra, without a doubt it just keeps getting better. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! I greatly appreciate you and your positive outlook on life. It is refreshing and encouraging.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shampa, my time on earth is limited as it is for all of us. I plan on living life to the fullest while there is still time. Thank you so much.

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Great to hear you are taking another step to improve the quality of your life. Just gets better and better, right?

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Healthy choices whether in food or life are always welcome. I concur with your attitude towards life. Mere existence is not much fun, is it? I like your approach of taking life head on, from now. Wish you the best, Bill.

      All the votes for you my friend and sharing it across.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 5 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up, useful and awesome!

      Your approach towards life is an inspiration. May God give you all the strength to fulfill your desires! I enjoyed reading it and learnt a lot about how to deal with the hurdles of life. Life is all about love for your dear ones and also for oneself which you have very rightly presented in your write up. Just amazing and May you never fall terribly ill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tara, that is such wonderful news. I am so happy for you. You have come through the dark days and there is light ahead of you and how exciting is that? Bravo my friend and thank you so much for your kind words.

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 5 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      Bill, you truly are an inspirational man. I love your positivity and the way it shines through in your words. you deserve every happiness. I will always be grateful for the kindness you showed me when I was feeling low a few months back. I will also join you on your quest for a healthier, happier future tomorrow. I punched and kicked out lots of stress in a 'Body Combat' class tonight and it felt brilliant! I'm going to up my classes to three a week now! I'm also moving in to a narrow boat with a wonderful man i first met at 16 (we're both 39 now!) life is looking pretty good for me too and like you say, I don't want to waste a single day of it! much love as always. Tara.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Keith my young friend, if you are ever going to give up the smokes now would be the time before you start doing damage to those lungs...but then you know that. Sorry! Sending my best wishes to you buddy! and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Okay, Vicki, I'm right alongside of you starting tomorrow.

      Thank you my friend; it is a great pleasure watching our friendship grow.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you my dear Ruchira! I can say without a doubt that were years when I did not even come close to making a right decision. Luckily I lived long enough to start making the right ones. :)

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      I am so happy to hear you quit alcohol 6 years ago! And you have a good plan going! Best of luck tomorrow! I agree with always exploring, smoking is a killer and I'm an active smoker. You are definitely a role model, Bill; I think I'll start doing what you're doing and quit smoking for good :) This hub is definitely very inspirational

      -KD

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      As Weestro said, this may be my favorite hub of yours, Bill. You are inspirational. I could sense your dogged determination that you mention; could I have some of that? I was with the majority in the poll in that I have a lot of room for improvement. I hate exercise, and these occasional short walks with my dog aren't enough, so I know I have to change my attitude. Okay, June 1st. I'll try along with you, hoping the discipline follows the determination! Great hub. I gave you every vote I could. Sharing, too!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      wow..Bill. You got me all emotional.

      Beautiful hub and it reflects the beauty inside you, my friend. I bet you have made the RIGHT choices and I wish you always the best, friend!!

      Voted up as always and beautiful and interesting. Sharing it across.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I love your attitude as well. The world needs more people like you and I, for one, am grateful that you are in my life.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Good for you Bill. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle. The old cliche, " We are what we eat " is true. Obesity is a killer. Exercise is a must. Smoking is also a killer. I am not perfect by all means. I LOVE chocolate. I no longer buy a bag of nuggets. I have learned to buy one bar. Love your attitude..Great hub..

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      TT, you can bet on it! Thanks and glad to have you back among us.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Gotta get in shape for living on that farm. :) I have no doubt that you will accomplish anything and everything that you set your mind to do. Enjoy the adventure!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Elle, thank you! I have much to live for and plan on being around for quite awhile.

    • elle64 profile image

      elle64 5 years ago from Scandinavia

      Good on you.Great hub, it is never to late-to look after yourself.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annie, I look forward to many years of sharing each other's articles. Thank you my friend and best of luck with your health program.

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      Your parents must have been made of pretty tough stuff Bill, given your very frank admission of your past nutrition and body care history. I know of men who will only eat white bread, meat and potatoes and those men would never veer from this diet. Your decision is admirable and inspiring. I indicated in your poll that I have room for improvement and its time I put into practise some changes I have been considering too!! All the best to you and Bev and please let us know how you go with your diet and exercise choices. Meanwhile I will walk a little further each day also and halve my chocolate and sugar intake!!!

      Another wonderful and inspiring hub, my votes to you, Bill and sharing!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jackie! Bev and I have been talking about starting with fish oil capsules and your reminder is all the push I need. Wishing you a long life as well my friend.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great hub and look into your life. Glad you decided to live. I am into nutritious foods. The best pain reducer I have used is 100% Apple Cider (non-alcoholic). Fish oil capsules are great too. I had a knee injury that got me started on the fish oils several years ago and if I miss them a few days my knee reminds me. They take about 2 weeks initially.

      Good luck and long life!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Much better Amy!

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thank you, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amy, you can rest assured that Bev will be monitoring my efforts. Your story is a great reminder that any new program needs to be conducted with restraint until the body is ready to take on more. Thank you for stopping by once again and please, call me Bill as all my friends do.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I am glad you have Bev to guide your journey, billybuc. Please be careful, and I'm sure Bev will help you, with exercise. Years ago, I began an exercise program with weights at home. I worked out first thing every morning for 45 minutes. My ex had helped devise my program. I got in the best physical shape I was ever in, with toned, sculpted muscles and little body fat. Then, my ex, no adonis mind you, decided I needed to "up" the leg extensions I did on the bench by adding more weight. Showing him, "I could do it", I managed to tear a ligament in my lower back. I was working for a chiropractor at the time, yet it took me 3-days of agony, before I could even get into the car to go see the doc. He diagnosed the ligament tear and it took me 2 years to have a day without pain. Every attempt to resume a light exercise program caused the injury to flare again. Yoga sounds like a great program, especially where joint issues are a problem. Good luck on your new endeavor, billybuc. You've certainly got the resolve to make it happen!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lord, hopefully we will travel this path together for many years to come. Blessings and peace to you and thank you!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Billybuc,

      We agree with ya! We will be 50 on November, and we just run like young people. Truly amazing journey of yours. I adopted a son, who is in the AirForce and cannot forget the times we spent together...unleashing that math and life per se...!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Andy, thank you for your kind words and I'll echo what you said about the old days....thank goodness it's in the past. Take care my friend.

    • fiftyish profile image

      Andy Aitch 5 years ago from UK & South East Asian Region

      Nice Hub Billy ;-) I've just turned 50 and can already see that the old skin is losing its tautness. Mind you, if ageing skin in the BIGGEST problem in my life today, then I'm in pretty good shape :)

      One of the most inspirational things I heard some years back was this; 'The slower we move, the faster we die'. I've never forgot that, and make sure that I move quite a bit on a daily basis, usually with a walk up the mountain jungle before breakfast.

      Like you, I do had issues with alcohol for a good number of years, and all I'll say about that is thank goodness it's in the past tense ;-)

      Keep up the good attitude my friend.

      Andy Aitch

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, thank you. I have been given a second chance in life and I refuse to waste it. Life is just too short.

      I am so happy to have you as a friend and I am very proud of you. It takes courage to do what you are about to do and I am honored to have you as my little sister.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Georgina, thank you, and thank you for the follow. Wishing you peace and happiness on your journey.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      All good things, here. You know, I have to say congrats to you for being alcohol-free for six years. I feel like it gave you a new lease on life such that now you're able to make a difference as a writer - and you are! Plus, I found some interesting numbers in your hub to share: you're 63, I'm 33. Your father passed at 49, my brother passed at 49. You indeed are like a brother. :D Haha!

      Anyways, yes, taking care of yourself is paramount. I'm going to be in a similar situation soon, but I'm already thinking about the peace I will feel and it will all force me to be even more simple with my living habits, and though I won't have more TIME per se, I can focus on gardening, getting in a daily regimen of exercise, writing and art. YESSSS! It's partly because of your inspiration. Keep on inspiring. You have to live 45 more years at least. Imagine what you'll be able to do! :D

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina_writes 5 years ago from Dartmoor

      Go for it. I know how you feel about those aches and pains (just had knee surgery)! Thank you for sharing your journey. Your article is inspirational!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shalah; I will do some research on those suggestions. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a meaningful comment.

    • ShalahChayilJOY profile image

      Shalah Chayil 5 years ago from Billings, Montana

      Thanks for sharing your story and concerns about an aging body. Good writing and thoughts. Some doctors and fitness experts say the body can be reversed to at least a few years younger. I've read it and heard it but would have to go back and find the info again.

      Dr. Daniel G. Amen has books and YouTube videos about how to reclaim at least some youthfulness.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dexter, I thank you as always for your kind words. I look forward to sharing hubs with you for many years to come.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Billybuc! You are a fascinating man. Truly you are. Thanks for sharing a great hub and the reminder that we need to take care of ourselves.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, here's to a long life for both of us. I look forward to our friendship for many decades. Thank you!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I am following your example, Billybuc. Choosing to make those choices, such as healthy eating, exercise and a positive mindset, that will help me live longer. Thanks for the pep talk!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much Pamela! I have made up my mind and now it's just a matter of doing the work. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      910Chris, thank you and we'll celebrate 100 years together. Best of luck to you as well.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      It sounds to me like you are making some good decisions, not that changing is all that easy. I choose happiness also and try to get the most out of each day. I also have a lot of stiffness in the morning and have found even good stretches help. Good luck with the food changes, but it sounds like you have made your mind up, so that is a positive. Awesome hub.

    • 910chris profile image

      910chris 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Awesome Hub man! Eating right and leading a healthy life-style is a major step in the right direction. My we both live to be 100! Good Luck!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well then Jools we will traverse this road of destiny together. Best of luck to you as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Natasha, would you do me a favor and marry my son? Please!!!!! He needs someone like you in his life. :) Thank you my dear; I appreciate you greatly.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Well good luck to you Bill. You sound very positive and seem to have the will to do it. I am also starting a health kick starting tomorrow - too much lazing about and not getting outside enough, it's making me unhealthy!

      Voted up, etc, etc

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Very touching. I agree - why not take care of yourself and spend more time enjoying the things you love? I know someone who is 71 and you'd guess he's 10 or 15 years younger because of his outlook on life. It's awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yep, Bev, that says it all. I love you too, Magoo!

    • kingmaxler profile image

      kingmaxler 5 years ago from Olympia, Washington USA

      A wet-faced "I love you" is all I need to say.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Weestro, I consider that a great compliment. Thank you! Thanks for the warning about yoga. I can't really say I'm looking forward to it but I know it works and I have to do it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome Rahul and thank you for being so faithful and loyal!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      This may be my favorite hub of yours I've read so far Billybuc, thanks for your honesty and openess! I wish you much success on your quest to live longer. I'm already realizing that I can't live like I did in my twenties! BTW that yoga thing is tough. I play basketball twice a week and one day scoffed at my wife's yoga dvd's....and then I tried it. It seriously kicked my butt! Great hub, voted up!

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      I have learned so much from this hub!

      Thank you Bill