Tips for health and happiness as we grow old

Archive for May, 2015

17. Destiny or Choice?


How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 3rd May 2014


17. Destiny or Choice?

Will I be happy?

Will I be rich?

Will I find love?

Those questions and many more complex ones have pressed the human mind since the dawn of time.

Our ancestors looked at the stars, convinced that if those twinkling eyes could guide them through the perils of a sea voyage, they must also hold answers to guide them through the hazards of life.

They created all manner of divination systems and tried to read the signs of anything and everything that fell into their hands.

But hang on! Hands! Soon enough, they realized that hands had those very peculiar lines, which resembled a map: a personal one, to explore and perhaps to explain the mystery of their lives.

My precocious wonderings started when I was about eight years old, together with an…

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18. Apple, Pear and Spaghetti:


How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 10th May 2014


18. Apple, Pear and Spaghetti



My mother considered herself enormous: probably elephantine. Not surprisingly everyone agreed with her. I remember her complaining often about her feet and commenting about the strain on them of having to carry “such weight”.


However, compared to modern standards dictated by our affluent culture, she was just moderately obese: a typical apple shape with a middle that was, probably 1/3 bigger than her hips and breasts.


My father instead was spaghetti shaped: a slim, delicate bone structure supporting what seemed to be just skin.


It is interesting for me to read recent scientific conclusions about the effects of body shape on the possible illnesses that will affect your health in the future.


My mother, a true apple shape, died, age 73, most probably of a combination…

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20. Dream-Live-ing


How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 24th May 2014


20. Dream-Live-ing



A few days ago, at the end of a lovely walk with my wonderful partner, I dropped in to see a friend of mine, much younger than me, but who gave me, a most valuable and important lesson.

We had been discussing her dream of becoming a full time Yoga teacher and having her own Yoga studio. As you will see she certainly has the wisdom to be more than just a Yoga teacher.

When she asked me if I had a dream, I answered without thinking twice: “I stopped dreaming.” The answered surprised me more than it surprised her, especially since not long ago, I suggested my readers to get busy dreaming!

Then Sarah said something very wise: she reminded me of the beautiful film UP (If you haven’t seen it, I…

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15. And the Killer was…


How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 12th April 2014

15. And the Killer was…

All of them looked innocent. Further more, they honestly believed they were.

I interviewed them several times after the tragic events surrounding Sarah’s demise. Each of them had a perfect alibi: they were at home; she was in Hospital.

According to them, they had just been performing their functions as they were meant to, without any ulterior motive or dubious intention.

First I interviewed Sofa. These were his exact words: “I’ve always been here; still, soft and comfy… even though Sarah got me in a charity shop and I was already quite battered. I imagine I might not have been good enough for her; I know I have a weakness. I could never be firm with anyone… I am a softy.”

“But, didn’t you notice that something wasn’t quite right?”

“Sorry, I am…

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Will’s Muscles


How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 8th March 2014


Will’s Muscles



Like all healthy babies of the animal kingdom, Will was born with a good set of muscles to complement his bone structure. Indeed, he grabbed the finger of the Doctor with great gusto and screamed his lungs out in the first few seconds of his life. He held his little head quite upright before the third month of his life.

As a young child, Will was active, bubbly, and full of life and muscle.

School happened; bullying happened; the comfort of home, TV, computer games happened; the care of parents who mistook loving and protecting with letting the will of their Will dominate their lives, happened.

Will started to spend more and more hours sitting down in front of a screen than running around. His sleep patterns became erratic, his diet, higher and…

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How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 7th June 2014





On Monday, I saw at the surgery a man I have been watching in and out of pubs for the last 7 years: bulbous red nose, unhealthy skin, thin as a rake, normally with a cigarette hanging from his lips. I could hear his rattling cough from the waiting room while he queued in front the reception desk.


After my routine blood test, I saw him again sitting at the Chemists waiting area. He looked worried and kept rubbing the area around his left lung. I wondered if the dangers of smoking had at last, caught up with him and if he now wishes he had paid heed to all the advice.


Perhaps because of my poor health during my younger years, I grew up…

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27. New Year Resolutions… Should I?


Saturday 3rd January 2015

New Year Resolutions… Should I?

Well… in my opinion, “I shouldn’t”.

I don’t know if I understand correctly, but the word itself seems to imply doubt. “I should” sounds to me as if it is something imposed from outside; from society, religion or family, instead of something that springs from the certainty of inner truth.

Therefore, “I shouldn’t”: instead, “I will”.

For example, “I will” write this and other blogs more often, without pestering myself spending a few hours making sure it is grammatically, spiritually and ethically correct, which is the main reason why I don’t write more often. Feel free to correct me!

I am a very wealthy person: wealthy in experience. This is the best I have to give to you, in case it is of any use.

What “will you” do, achieve, strive for this year?

I hope you “will to have” a…

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31. Growing Old is Obligatory; Growing Up is Optional.*


  1. Growing Old is Obligatory; Growing Up is Optional.*

Sunday 5th April 2015

Berta-The Barber of Seville 1984

This morning I woke up old and I realized, my obligation had to be fulfilled like everyone else’s.

The image I saw in the mirror brought to mind the photo you see: my 30-year-old self, singing the role of Bertha, a mid-60s maid, from Rossini’s Opera, The Barber of Seville.

At the time, I was quite convinced I would never reach such a ripe age. I dreaded both, reaching it and not.

Today, as I scanned the prune-like face in the mirror, I felt, as I often do, so happy and triumphant that I have made it this far!

I dare say I have also kept growing up.

I have grown in wisdom, therefore, in self-acceptance and self-love.

Death doesn’t frighten me as it used to. Neither wrinkles do.

Berta’s aria finishes with the lines:

“E vecchietta…

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32. Faith in Crisis

What do I mean?

Do I mean, keeping your faith throughout a crisis and coming out the other end with your faith intact?
Do I mean having faith that the crisis contains some important and essential lesson that will improve your life?
Do I mean, faith is at a critical juncture, and there is little of it in our times or society or our souls?
Or, as my sister-out-law, violinist Liz Cowdrey suggested, do I mean that my friend Faith is going through a crisis?

Well, I suppose it depends on your personal view regarding the contents of your glass: is it half empty or half full?

In my case, my faith was in crisis last weekend. Being a perpetual optimist and over-ambitious, it is from time to time a necessary sobering tool.

Funnily enough, it came immediately after one of those serendipitous events I call miracles. I was in the midst of a sea of worries about a very costly dental treatment I have to undertake in Colombia. I had just put on sale on e-bay a vintage table and chairs for £600, with the conviction that I would end, as usual, having to give it away for nothing. Then, during the half hour that it took me to buy the £600 plane ticket, I sold the table! I was so sceptical that I kept expecting things to go wrong until three days after when the buyer collected and paid in cash.

Well… here I am, after a miracle and perhaps about to experience another one, full of doubt in everything; in my abilities and capabilities, and particularly in my good luck.

Yet, with luck, good or bad, I have faith that as the Sufi saying goes, “this will also pass”. It always does.