In Honor of My BFF~ zest

zest

a liking for or enjoyment of something because of the pleasure it gives; fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

ardor, brightness, eagerness, enthusiasm, excitement, fervor, fire, freshness, gusto, heart, joy, passion, pleasure, relish, taste, zeal

Pepper did everything with a sense of zest.  She relished in the action at hand (or should I say, “paw”?!), whether it was digging, sniffing, chasing, chewing or wagging.  Every day, every atom of Pep vibrated with the zest of Life.

Living with zest is the ultimate way to be ageless.  It’s about waking up each day, grateful and enthusiastic for what will unfold.  When you live with zest, nothing grates on you and your challenges are always sprinkled with optimism.  Zest is that pop of pleasure that brightens your senses and elevates your experience of life.

In Honor of My BFF~ resolve

resolve

steadfast purpose; firmness of purpose; a quality of mind or temperament that enables one to stand fast in the face of opposition, hardship or danger; make a formal resolution; freedom from doubt or wavering; to clear away or dispel (doubts, fears, etc.); to fix or settle on by deliberate choice or will; determine to do something (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

courage, dauntlessness, decisive, deliberate, determination, doggedness, guts, heart, mettle, pluck, purposefulness, resolute, spirit, spunk, tenacity, will

My walks with Pepper changed over the last year of her life. She still wanted to go the whole distance, but we needed to make some rest stops along the way. I would always let her lead, watching her enjoy sitting in stillness as much as the sauntering and sniffing. Pep was not going to let pain or stiffness get in her way of enjoying the day and she kept her resolve until the very end.

Resolve plays a huge role in being ageless, especially in one’s twilight years.  From getting out of bed in the morning to carrying on—no matter what—through your day, resolve is the ‘cruise control’ that keeps you going.  When you’re ageless you deliberately choose to live your life to the fullest and will settle for nothing less.

In Honor of My BFF~ real

real

not counterfeit, artificial or imitation; corresponding to known facts; being exactly as appears or is claimed; being actually such, not merely so-called; free from hypocrisy or pretense  (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

authentic, bona fide, genuine, heartfelt, honest, indubitable, sincere, true, undeniable, unfeigned, unquestionable, veritable, wholesome

There was nothing fake about Pepper. I knew exactly how she felt when we were going to the beach or to the vet. She would let me know when she was more interested in the ball than her fellow 4-legged pals. Pep never needed to pretend, especially when it came to loving me!

When you’re real you live with ease and waste no effort in pretending to be someone you’re not. You know who you are and who you want to be in the world. You don’t worry about what others think because you stay anchored in your own truth and values. There’s no doubt, when you’re real, you age less and live more. Really!

In Honor of My BFF~ leisure

leisure

freedom from toil or strain; freedom from the demands of work or duty; free or unoccupied time; without haste; time when you can do whatever you want to do (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

calm, cat nap, decompression, ease, freedom, light-heartedness, no pressure, peace, recreation, relaxation, repose, respite, rest, unhurried

Pepper led a life a leisure.  If you ask me, I’d say she slept a good part of her day away, but that was okay because it was what she wanted to do.  She knew how to balance playing with resting, barking with wagging and waiting with eating (although we had to help her a bit with the last one!).

Interestingly, the original meaning of leisure comes from licere (Latin)—to be permitted.  Hmmm, does this mean one needs permission to relax or play?  Not if you are ageless.  When you’re ageless, leisure comes easily to you.  You know how to find the perfect balance of work and play, to dwell in the freedom of simplicity, and to surround yourself with the people and places that give you pleasure.  Leisure is about allowing yourself to do things—or nothing at all—not because you have to, but because you want to.  So, how do you permit leisure in your day?

In Honor of My BFF~ treat

treat

(noun) an occurrence in which you pay for someone’s food, drink, or entertainment (or someone pays for you); something pleasant or amusing that is unusual or unexpected; something that tastes good and that is not eaten often (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

delicacy, delight, fortune, joy, kick, morsel, pleasure, satisfying, special, surprise, warm fuzzies

Greg (my hubby) and Pepper had a  trail mix tossing routine that they would do after dinner. She would come by the couch and lay down with her front legs crossed and she would let him know with her eyes that it was time for some treats. She would look at the bag of trail mix on the coffee table and then she would stare at Greg. No panting or growling or barking, just her eyes conveying intention, persistence and focus until he opened the bag and tossed her a nut. Ahhh, if I could have just one drooling ounce of Pepper’s focus, especially when it came to treats!

The very nature of a treat represents the ageless quality of moderation–after all, it wouldn’t be a treat if you had it or did it all the time. Which is fine because it gives you something to look forward to. Treats are treasures and pleasures that make you feel special. They warm your heart no matter if you are on the giving or receiving end.
How do you treat yourself?

P. S.  Speaking of treats, to celebrate Pepper’s life and this Year of the Dog, I have a special offer for those of you who are interested in my forthcoming gift book, “Ageless Dogma, A Dog’s Life Guide to Staying Young!”  Click HERE to learn more.

In Honor of My BFF~ dogged

dogged

having or manifesting great force or power (as in acting or resisting); holding fast; characterized by keeping a firm hold; highly retentive; pertinacious, stubborn or obstinate; persistent in adhering to something; holding together (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

determined, fast, firm, persistent, secure, strong, stubborn, sturdy, tenacious, tough

Pepper was the poster fur child for being dogged.  She lived and breathed doggedness, whether it was while digging a hole to get to the ground squirrel, removing peanut butter from her kong, or waiting for her “Paw” to toss her a treat.  She never compromised this tenacity even when her joints became stiff and she was tired of panting.

This dogged determination will no doubt come in handy in the last third of our lives. When we can’t see or hear as well and our bodies won’t listen. Being dogged allows us to hang in there no matter what gives out or breaks down.

In Honor of My BFF

RIP, Pep Pep!

Today is my black Lab, Pepper’s birthday. She would have been fourteen-years-old and I miss her just as much as when she was twelve. It’s been almost a year and a half since she’s been gone and there’s not a day that goes by without me thinking of her.

I miss how she always strategically positioned herself in the way of any crumbs that might fall from the counter as I cooked. I miss the tufts of hairballs appearing in the nooks and crannies of every room (we called them mini Pep’s). I miss how she thought her “Paw” could do no wrong!

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Eyes, Have You Forsaken Me?

Can a tree see better than me?

Can a tree see better than me?

I remember having my first eye exam when I was in college. The optometrist told me my eyes looked great and to come back in twenty years. I didn’t think much about it until precisely twenty years later, when I noticed I couldn’t read the menu while dining out. Of course, I blamed it on the ambient lighting and fancy font, but when the waiter offered me a pair of reading glasses, it all came back in a blink.

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GG’s Favorite Routines

Grandma's Irises

Grandma’s Irises

January 2, 2014

It’s hard to believe my grandmother has been gone for a year already.  I miss her so, but I take comfort in the fact that my dearest angel is watching over me.  When she died my sisters and I gathered and reminisced about our beloved grandmother.  She had a knack for being very routine, so we created the following song that we sang at her funeral.

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Performing Shoulder Salute on Veterans Day

11-11-11

It’s hard to believe a year has passed by since I made the pledge to do a one-arm push-up.  I’m happy to say I was able to perform my  special “shoulder salute” today as part of a local Veterans Day program.

Just wanted to share a few aging well lessons I’ve learned from training for one-arm push-ups…

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