Just Sayin’: Lessons Learned in the Last Six Months


It seems like a terrible waste to have to wait until one is almost 80 years old to learn lessons that should have been part of one’s life experience from the beginning. The bright side of that coin being that if I were done learning life lessons, I’d be dead . . . whether or not I was in the ground.

Lesson #1. If you can flicker an eyelash, you can (horrible, dreaded word) exercise. Exercise is just another name for moving a muscle. And I’m not kidding, if all you can move is your eyelids, exercise the heck out of your eyelids. No matter how incapacitated one is, if you are able to move even the smallest muscle in your body, it will call on surrounding muscles to respond . . . . then build from there.

If nothing else, you’ll develop a heck of wink.

Lesson #2. There’s no such thing as too old. (Refer to lesson #1.) Are you bedridden, confined to a wheel chair, dependent on a walker or a cane? It doesn’t matter. Move whatever you can move. Move whichever muscle that is, until it is tired, then move it some more. Do it again tomorrow, or this afternoon, or two hours from now and try to add one or two repetitions.

Too difficult?  Makes you too tired? OK, do the same number of reps for a week, then increase by one or two or 10. Do whatever you can do as often as you can and as long as you can.

There. That is the most important part of the lesson. Now say it again. Repeat after me. Do whatever you can as often as you can and as long as you can.

Lesson #3. Help and support is vital, essential and also necessary.  It’s so nice to hear people say they are proud of you and tell you to keep up the good work, but the actively involved support of someone who will, day in and day out, look at your physical output and abilities objectively and has the knowledge to guide you into activities that will maximize your abilities, is crucial, invaluable and important.

Lesson #4. Yes, I know, usually that kind of involved support costs money. But each of us is so very worth it. Does that seem selfish?  No! . Investing in maximizing your physical health and well-being is one of the most unselfish things you can do. If you are bedridden or wheelchair bound, who will take care of you? If you fall and break something because your strength and balance is winnowing away, who will be responsible to help you? It will fall to either your kids, or some relative, or your bank account. So, it follows that the better your physical shape, the less of a burden you are on your family and society at large.  Yes, and even yourself.

Lesson #5. There is no such thing as one size fits all. We human beings are so locked in to comparisons. Why do I have to work so hard to reach that weight or do that many reps, or lift that many pounds when Betty Boop or Joe Jock on the next machine seems to be able to do all those things with so little effort? Why do I struggle to restrict what I eat when Lola Lovely can eat whatever she wants and never gain an ounce?

Doesn’t matter. DOES. NOT. MATTER! Your journey is YOUR journey. Your life lessons are YOUR life lessons. Just because that other person is driving their Ferrari body along on the freeway at a figurative 80 MPH doesn’t mean there isn’t value in riding your moped body down a country lane.  In fact, you just might be having the richer experience.

HA! Take  that, mirror on the wall.

And I would bet that there are many of you out there who are still learning important life lessons at whatever stage you are in life. Can I get an AMEN?

Thought for the day: No matter how slow you are walking, you’re walking faster than the guy on the couch! Yes, I read that somewhere. It’s not original, but so very true!

Adrienne Jacoby

Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years. A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.

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