Jack McCall

I once heard a successful businessman say the difference in success and failure in life comes down to about a half-dozen things. He didn’t elaborate on what those half-dozen things were, but I understood where he was going with the idea.

Someone else has correctly stated that life is all about the choices you make and the chances you take.

Those two thoughts are on my mind as I realize 2020 is already three-quarters behind us.

So here are a half-dozen things to consider as you plan for your health and happiness going forward. They are certainly not listed in order of importance.

Number 1: Drink more water. Don’t laugh at this one. It is critically important to your good health. I first heard about it in seventh-grade health class. You remember… “eight, eight-ounce glasses a day.” Whew! That’s a lot of water.

There were two centenarians known as the Delaney sisters, whose lives caused quite a stir a few years ago. A number of books were written about them.

Sister Bessie lived to be 103, and Sarah made it to 109. For the last 50 years of their lives each began the day by drinking a big glass of water followed by a teaspoon of cod liver oil and a fresh clove of garlic, finely chopped. That was followed with another big glass of warm water. You might want to forgo the cod liver oil and garlic. But take a lesson from the Delaney sisters. Drink more water.

Number 2: Get more physical exercise. The Delany girls exercised right after a big breakfast every morning. They did stretches, yoga, the whole bit. Between them, they survived three broken hips, recovered from each surgery, and kept right on going. They maintained excellent physical health right up until the end of their lives.

My aunt, Dr. Ruth McCall Garrett, MEd., MPH, PhD, retired professor of gerontology, says the health habits you form between the ages of 40 and 60 will determine your quality of health beyond your 60s.

Number 3: Re-assess your priorities. What are the three most important things in your life? Are they getting the majority of your time and attention?

This is an especially important consideration as we grow older because we have less physical energy to spend. The main thing is to make sure the main things are the main things.

Number 4: Work on your spiritual life. We live in a world that is growing increasingly more complicated. Uncertainty abounds. With each passing generation roots become less deep. As a nation we seem easily shaken.

It is no time to lay down the Sword (the Apostle Paul’s name for the Word). Best we be dusting off our Bibles. The psalmist wrote, “For your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (119:105.)

Number 5: Love with abandon. As we approach the Holiday season let us not forget that God didn’t hold back, but sent his only begotten. It is written in red in John 13.34: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you.” No holding back.

Kahill Gibran wrote, “But if you fear (love), (you will) pass into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not with all your laughter, and weep, but not with all your tears.” Love with abandon.

Number 6: Change the way you start each day.

I was making a speech in LA (lower Alabama) a few years ago when a young black woman approached me at the end of the day.

“Thank you for mentioning God in your presentation,” she said. Then she smiled a sweet smile as she whispered, “We had a preacher who used to say ‘Before you meet the day, you should meet with the Master.’ ” I will not soon forget her smile or her words.

C.S. Lewis said it this way: “….the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”

So there they are — a half-dozen things. You might choose different ones that best inspire and motivate you to live more deeply.

I found this inside my fortune cookie at a Chinese restaurant the other day: “The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.”

May your choices bring much purpose and happiness as you live out the time you have left.

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