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The Pleasures of Being Outside

Summer is finally here! Yes, it may be hot. But, here are five (5) reasons to spend some time outside.

  1. Exercise.  Going outside makes exercise feel easier. And, you exercise more, especially when you are surrounded by nature – trees, flowers, grass, and water. I am especially motivated when surrounded by water. Sometimes, I lose track of time and feel as if I could walk forever.

  2.  Creativity. Nature increases brain function, thus stimulating creativity. When I am outside walking or running or just sitting, I have some of my best ideas.

  3. Vitamin D. Yes, too much sun is not good for you. But, a healthy dose of those sun rays can do wonders for your bones. So, reach for your sunscreen, grease up (even sisters of color need to protect their skin), and enjoy the great outdoors.

  4. Happier and healthier. Being outdoors can increase your happiness quotient. Nature and fresh air lift your spirit and changes your mood.

  5.  Age gracefully. According to a study published in the Journal of Aging Health, getting outside on a daily basis may help older people stay healthy and functioning longer. Plus, if you are doing things with a group (hiking or walking, for example) you improve your social skills. I go outside every single day – if only for 10 or 15 minutes.

Additionally, I love being able to go out without being bundled up. My skin loves the feel of the sun. And, I feel even more alive. How about you? How do you feel when you are outside?


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 Maya Angelou… On Aging

This week I am still paying tribute to the acclaimed author, poet, and activist Dr. Maya Angelou, who transitioned at the ripe old age of 86. I have more of her books on my bookshelf than any other author. I have 7, beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

This week’s post focuses on Dr. Angelou’s poem on aging. In the poem, written when Maya was 84, she takes exception to how older people are treated. To those of us who are in the 2nd or 3rd half of our life, this poem expresses, beautifully, how we feel about aging. And, it challenges the longstanding view of aging as decline.

On Aging

 “When you see me sitting quietly, like a sack upon a shelf,
Don’t think I need your chattering. I’m listening to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me! Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you got it, otherwise I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching and my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor: Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
When you see me walking, stumbling, don’t study and get it wrong.
‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy and every goodbye ain’t gone.
I’m the same person I was back then, a little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind.

But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.”     - Maya Angelou

Do you have a favorite from Maya Angelou? I would love to hear from you.