The inevitable decline of aging – just say no

March 6, 2022

I’m turning 45 this year. I have 3 teenage kids. I often feel there are not enough hours in the week to do everything I want to do. Not enough time to spend looking after and nurturing myself.

I am fit enough, I eat fairly well and I can certainly remember information more quickly than the norm. But I feel like I am declining slowly, and it seems inevitable unless I change something.

The decline is both physical and in mental ability. And I don’t want it.

I want to live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Full of adventure and learning.

But I have a plan to stop this inevitability from happening.

In making this plan I considered what is missing and how I can fix it. I don’t think I am being regular enough in my physical and mental training. I don’t prioritise my own health enough. I need to fix this – increase the training and include specific short term goals.

There are things outside of our control in life, but to some extent that can also be an excuse. I don’t mind getting old, but I want to do it well with a mind and body still up for the challenges I want to enjoy. I refuse to just stop growing and learning just because I am middle aged and therefore its ‘time to be sensible’. Or, to put it bluntly, give in.

I am going to share this journey in my blog in case it helps you.

I will expand on my progress over the coming weeks and months but here is my initial plan. To build this plan I am drawing on my long experience as a physical athlete (a professional dancer), as well as the knowledge gained as a memory athlete.

Just a caveat if you decide to follow along. The points below are specific to me, but you can adjust them to where you are at in your life

  1.  I will do a memory training session of at least 30 minutes 6 days a week.
    This will likely be using Memory League.
    In upcoming blogs I will expand on this training so you can follow along. If you want to get going you can start by going to Memory League and trying out some of the disciplines. Use the tips and techniques in some of my other blogs to get you going. Names and faces is a good place to start.
    By the way I’m not affiliated with Memory League, but I am happy to promote it as a place hang out and train used by a lot of memory athletes and others trying to improve their recall.
  1. I will do a gym session 6 days a week.
    When injuries allow this will include at least 25 mins of running (ideally with a weight vest as I am a light lady) and weights training. I want to be really strong, not just moderately strong. And as I age even just keeping where I currently am requires me to increase what I currently do.
    I will include exercises that work on dexterity and coordination for mental acuity. And of course exercises that work the muscle groups we need as we age and in real life – such as balance, mobility, and grip strength.
    I will share some of these in videos/blogs as well.
  1. I will aim to eat more healthily, while still enjoying food.
    This balance means I will happily ‘break the rules’ here and there. I want to eat more whole plant-based food, with lots of fresh greens, legumes and grains. I personally have a high metabolism and so my goal is to try to eat more. I would like to gain at least a few kilos of muscle.
  1. Continue to learn new things.
    Ok this one is broad so let me try to be a bit more specific. I’ll focus on 3 things to learn this year outside of everyday work life.

    First, I want to make a stronger commitment to learning Taekwondo this year. I have been learning this for a couple of years now and am at Cho Dan Bo (a ‘probationary black belt’), and I would like to get to full black belt. This is not actually for the belt but for the learning and physicality it represents. I’m loving learning this martial art as it is both a physical and mental challenge, and I can do it alongside my kids. This makes for good parenting and efficient use of my limited time.

    Second, by my birthday this year I want to know the square of every number up to 1000 instantly. This is a fairly easy challenge using memory techniques, but it worth recording here to make myself do it.

    Third, I am looking for one more definable challenge with a clear objective –several spring to mind so I will likely play with a few until I settle on one. Stay tuned 🙂
    If you are following along I suggest you choose three learning goals with set timeframes – they can be small or big. Maybe a whole language or 40 difficult English words and their meanings. Make sure you nominate a timeframe. It would be great if one of them was learning a new physical skill (like yoga, martial arts, a musical instrument etc.)

  1. To help facilitate all this, I will say no more often.
    No to things that I don’t want or need to do. We all need to make time for ourselves.


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