By Maceo Keeling –
In recent articles I’ve offered my thoughts on faith, finance, family, and now I’d like to share my thoughts for the future.
The future usually sneaks up on us when we are otherwise occupied with the urgencies of life. We pay attention to that which seizes our attention immediately, while neglecting or ignoring the steady, incessant passing of time.
When we were children, adults who took care of us gave us an opportunity to prepare for our future. About 15 of those years are spent in school with people guiding us through those formative, formable years. For the next five years we gain a little independence in trying to figure out what we can do. And the next five years we are practicing and preparing for our future. That leaves us approximately 50 years of life to enjoy—if we plan it right.
On the other hand, if we don’t plan for a healthy and comfortable future, we have 50 years of potential grief and discomfort.
My father often told me, “Don’t let your future sneak up on you!” These words resonate with me now as I near my three-score years (that’s 60 years old for you youngsters.) The future happens one day at a time! In actuality, the future is not promised to us. However, behaviors today can predict our future. Some important advice is to get the important stuff done while you have the opportunity.
So, what can we do now to prepare for our aging future? Perhaps these few suggestions could help you:
Start saving a few nickels and dimes while you are working. No matter how much you can spare for retirement savings each year, you owe it to your future self to save as much as possible, starting now. You won’t always be able to work, or do the type of work you do today. So set some benchmarks along the way about how much money for retirement you want to save. Many a person’s greatest fear is that they will out-live their money.
Exercise—and do it regularly. When you exercise, your brain releases Endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that give you an instant mood boost. A brisk walk around the neighborhood, or joining a gym, even daily stretching exercises, helps your metabolism burn unneeded calories. Exercise makes you feel good, and helps your circulatory system to operate efficiently. So exercise before you get too old, stiff, or weak to move!
Watch your food intake and diet. Cleaning up your diet now can give you many health benefits that you can reap during your retirement. Take your nutrition seriously, and develop good eating habits to maintain a healthy stomach and gastro system. Eating healthier now will help you to avoid weight gain, health problems, and adult-onset Type 2 Diabetes.
How is your mental health? The mind and the body are intrinsically linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. Your mental health influences how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems: We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. But just as physically healthy people are better able to bounce back from illness or injury, people with strong mental health are better able to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience. If you’re not able to handle what life throws at you, don’t be afraid to seek out the mental help you need.
Stop drinking, smoking, and using drugs before you become addicted or get cancer. All three aforementioned habits deliver predictable, debilitating mental and physical outcomes if we do them in excess.
Avoid illegal behaviors. If you have a present lifestyle of illegal activities, chances are that you will get caught eventually. Take some time to reconsider the consequences of your actions.
As I mentioned earlier, time is not promised to any of us, but let’s just say we are going to live to be 75 years old.
Enjoy today with a plan for tomorrow. I have often said that there is a difference between hope and optimism. Hope is always suspect, because there is no evidence that the things you are seeking will ever become manifest. Optimism is grounded in the evidence that you have done the things required to gain the things you seek. Having done the things required of you to gain favor in your pursuits, you will grow in the faith that they will come to pass. You have the power to create your future, and your future is now!
“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to become great!”
Dr. King had a dream, now we must have vision. The Conscious Call radio program airs every Monday at 11:30 a.m. on WRES-FM 100.7. In a collaboration with the radio program, the Urban News will help keep readers informed about events, programs, news, and the progress of The Conscious Call. For more information, contact the Conscious Call at (828) 989-6999 and visit www.theconsciouscall.com.
The opinions and statements made in this column are solely the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of The Urban News.