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What Makes You Do It?

I push myself and I always have and I do it because the payoff is worth it!

It probably started when I watched my Grandmother keep on keepin' on and especially when I heard her tell my mother that even if she woke up with some aches and pains, she just kept going. My Grammy Cummings lived to be 100 and except for the last few months, she didn't stop. I remember her outside, raking the leaves with her dress, pearl earrings, and sneakers on. I remember her having some mini strokes in her late 80's (from which she fully recovered) and when the doctors saw the x-rays, they thought it was a mix-up. Her bones looked like those of a woman at least 20-30 years younger.

I intend to live a good, long life with an emphasis on good. I have no interest in living to be at least 100, but stuck in a nursing home eating strained peas. I would rather be like Helen and Scott Nearing who lived to be 91 & 100, respectively, and who moved from the city to a rural setting where they were self-sufficient for over 60 years.

I've recently been fascinated by 84-year old, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader

Ginsburg's workout ethic. When discussing her age earlier this year, she stated, "A very important part of my life is my personal trainer.". After treatment for cancer in 1999, she began to exercise to rebuild her strength. It's my conclusion that not only did she want to recover, but she felt like she still had lots of useful work to do. I'm grateful that she's still on the Supreme Court as a liberal to add balance.

It is literally painful (at a soul level) for me to see so many of us not taking care of ourselves. I've gone on many a rant about people "hanging" on their grocery carts instead of using their core to push them and I won't even begin to address what's inside those carts (that's a whole other bloggette!) I also hate the tv ads for chairs that lift and "spill" us out of them so that we don't have to use those pesky muscles any more. I always ask, "So, now that you're out of the chair, if you aren't using your muscles, how do you intend to walk to wherever you're going?!?" You know I'm not talking about people who have disabilities related to accidents or illness -- I'm talking about every day people who believe that physical decline is inevitable.

Why do I intend to keep staying strong or even getting stronger?

  • Because I love freedom

  • Because I don't want to have my kids feel like they have to "take care of me"

  • Because I want to keep learning and experiencing right up to the end

  • Because I want to have the opportunity to share at least some of everything I've learned and experienced over the years

  • Because I want to feel like I'm contributing, not just taking

  • Because I believe I can

So, why are you (or, would you) want to stay (or, get) healthy, whole, and age gracefully? I'm sure you have many reasons ... kids/family? A desire to travel, create something, give back? What is it for you? I know that you can do it. I know that you can take even the smallest step toward improving your health and well-being. I believe in your ability and my wish for you is that you believe it, too!


Is it hard to take even small steps in what feels like a vacuum? I get it! I am a busy bee these days putting together some half and full day events where we Midway Women can get together and share and support each other. Stay tuned for the first date in December in Boston!


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

is a sassy Queen-ager whose mission is to co-create a happier, healthier life with and for others.

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