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Simple Life: Advice from a Sage

Updated on February 5, 2014

Recently, my father-in-law turned 91. He had outlived all of his friends and peers. As the only child of an Irish immigrant, he managed to get himself through school, the services and college. When he married, he had his house built in a neighborhood that was not even yet a developed. He still lives in this house today. He raised three children, became very successful as a Professor at Providence College from which he retired as Professor Ameritus.

A few years ago, he was hit by a car while going for one of his routine walks to the Providence College library. The impact shattered his legs and caused his walking days to be changed forever. The doctors said he'd never walk again yet, through his stubborn determination, he managed to get enough strength to enable himself the joy of going for walks again. Every day, he would force himself to do simple, yet effective, leg exercises that would strengthen his leg muscles enough for him to further strengthen his legs so he could get out of the house and walk around the neighborhood.

As years passed, he watched many of his friends die of cancer and other illnesses yet he managed to stay so strong and alive. When asked what keeps him ticking, he said that living a simple life is what kept him from adding stress to his spirit. When we live a life filled with drama, divorce, stress, we shorten our lives significantly. He also said that he doesn't stuff his body with food all at one. Rather, he eats small amounts of food several times throughout the day to give his body a chance to properly digest his food consumption. As Americans, we really don't eat well. We tax our system by consuming large amounts of food all at once which eventually leads to our systems malfunctioning which could also lead to health problems.

My father-in-law also said that he wanted to live a long life so he became a vegetarian in his 60's. There is something to be said for becoming a vegetarian or, at least, decreasing out intake of meet and avoiding heavy consumption of fried foods.

Finally, my father-in-law told me that he is very grateful for the life he lived. He can now sit back and enjoy his grandchildren and the fruits of his many years of labor. He doesn't worry about money because his often ridiculed miserly ways caused him to go from zero to a few million dollars in the bank (but he doesn't tell anyone this and you'd never know it). So, what we can take from this is to eat right, exercise more, spend less, save more and worry less. That, in a nutshell, can prevent us from subtracting years from our lives.

What areas of your life do you need improvement?

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