Sometimes pleasant surprises come with a pinching squeeze. In fact, the company doctor was baffled enough to check my blood pressure a third time. Probably because we’d both just been laughing. I was remembering my blood pressure as 120/80 (still not bad for a woman my age), but it was 110/70 18 months ago, too.

In other baffling news, total cholesterol’s down and lung capacity is still better than the norm for a woman of my size and age.

I see the signs of aging creeping up on me slowly. Weight gain has added a belly and fledgling bat wings. It is so easy to find fault, to complain, to miss the younger me – and then my body goes and does this: Gives test results that say I am younger than my birthdate claims.

What can I do except be very happy about the result? A bit awestruck, too, but mostly just incredibly grateful. Whatever’s under the hood on this vehicle my soul travels in, it was very well-made!

Oh, I do take care of it, in my way, but I don’t really know what I’m doing right. I eat well, I don’t deny myself much, not even a weekly dinner at McDonald’s, but a lot of my diet is vegetarian and often organically grown. My habits seem a bit new agey veggie, but the truth is, I easily go without meat (so much for the blood type diet theory; I’m an 0+), I don’t have any major yens for sweets, I don’t snack, and I eat a lot of whole grain stuff because I’ve always loved my cereal and my pasta. I think the key, though, is that I’m eating what I like, without guilt.

In spite of a stressful year so far because work got so much busier, I seem to be doing very well. I mean, blood pressure’s supposed to go up when you’re under a lot of pressure, right? The doc said I must be good at taking care of myself.

Am I? I keep meaning to get back to yoga more regularly. I did have a vegetarian weekend, and I’m trying to cut out my third daily cup of coffee (but I’m keeping the other two!), but my only exercise, really, is the little bit of walking to and from work I do. Then I am reminded of what people pushing 100 say: It varies whether or not they ate well as in healthy; it varies on whether or not they exercised, though they did all stay busy. What they all do say is that they have been happy.

I do exercise, I realize. I exercise my mind. It is constantly being reminded to keep a positive focus, and if a problem arises, to think about solutions, or at least distract myself so I don’t get worked up. My mind is fed a healthier diet than my body is (though it, too, gets the occasional McDonald’s meal; the world wide web can trap you in unhealthy corners), and I have found that regular spiritual or uplifting feedings does me a world of good.

110/70. At age 48. That gives me a lot of leeway as I age, since it is said that blood pressure rises with age. I am definitely blessed!

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

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