The most important tenet in your health maintenance when you get to be older than 65 years old is: Believe it or not, a super unbridled selfishness. Now, before I get hated by you readers by using the word, let me explain.
We are the societal animal. We always live in a society and live, work, love and do things together with others. Therefore, we are accustomed and trained to always consider others near-by or others in the so-called family. In fact, that is probably our DNA-driven life structure. We are always supposed to think about others near you and consider their feelings at all times.
When you reach, say, an age older than 65 years old, your comfortable and healthy survival management becomes very important. I cannot stress the importance and significance of considering and practicing it. However, because you have been immersed and trained in the societal group as we all humans do, it is very difficult to suddenly become a very self-centered survivalist. In fact, it is almost impossible.
In the night, your wife would ask, “Please shut the nightlight off: I cannot sleep with it on.” Her voice has some sharp edge. And you stretch your hand and switch the lamp off. Peace prevails. But this trivial action has been done at your expense with a potentially great negative possibility. You need the nightlight when you need to go to the bathroom, which happens at around 2 a.m. without fail. And, believe me, it is always far less disturbing to your wife or partner if you do not have to switch the light on. Namely if the dim light is always on, you don’t need to make extra effort and make a switching sound to turn it on as well as the light level suddenly rising in the bedroom. Now, you may think this is a very minor trivial detail, and I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. Wrong!
Please listen. Your best approach is to persuade your partner that you need the low-light level night illumination so that you do not fall down when you need to get to the bathroom. I will be surprised to find if anybody would insist that he or she wouldn’t be able to tolerate the low-level nightlight, but it is always possible. You must work persistently to persuade him or her to accept sleeping with the dim lighting.
To continue to live healthily over 65 years of age requires a constant effort on your part to protect your health, PERIOD! And that is for you to be always concerned about your health and physical welfare. Namely, be selfish. Ha! And that is a hard thing to do when you are brought up in a group society and culture. You always worry what others think about you and your action. Thus, you curve and temper your action, verbal or otherwise, to accommodate the others around you. And, thus you place yourself in a worse danger. Do you get it?
When you have grown up in the group-cultured society, it is often very hard to be self-centered to protect your health and life. However, just face the basic fact: If you won’t handle your own life and safety, who’s going to do it? Nobody!
The point I wished to make strongly today is that we average Americans (or for that matter, any citizens of the world) tend to withdraw and give up our own desire from the societal pressure. Even when that societal pressure comes from your only partner, he/she and you feel better by acquiescing to his/her demand. What I am saying is that that compromise was just done at your future potentially-large expense should an incident harm you badly.
This week, I am stressing that you insist on your self-preservation. You needn’t be a noisy and obnoxious party to insist on that. A quietly diplomacy would win you a peaceful relationship with your partner and your solid health. And you need it.
This Companion to Aging column appears each week in the Seacoast Sunday features section. You can read earlier installments at www.seacoastonline.com. Please send your thoughts about aging to Sasano@umelink.com, Sam Asano, P.O. Box 26, New Castle, NH 03854 or (cell) 781-389-2356 or email Sam at email@example.com.