Don’t let the old man in


Recently Toby Keith wrote the song “Don’t Let the Old Man In” after Clint Eastwood told him he was starting to work on the movie The Mule on his 88th birthday. Eschia!

Amazed at Eastwood’s energy at 88, Keith asked how he does it. Eastwood said, “I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in.”

When he was 70 years old, I had read an article that quoted him saying, “You’re only as old as you think you are.” Well, yaaaaaaaaa.

I was very impressed by Eastwood’s attitude, and I’ve tried to live that way ever since.

Richard Beck also doesn’t let the old man in. He just won the Canadian Championship Dog Derby for the twelfth time and the second year in a row.

And don’t forget. He’s over sixty, and racing against people in their twenties and thirties. Whoa!

I asked Richard how he does it and he said he doesn’t train all year and the hardest thing is to get motivated to start. Once he starts, it’s okay.

He starts training slowly in August on quads, then skidoos, then sleds, slowly progressing from 4 miles up to 33 miles. Four or five times a weekl Whew.

Richard Beck, centre, accepts the Canadian Championship Dog Derby winner's trophy from Nick Ballantyne, left, and Rebecca Plotner of Dominion Diamond Corporation during the awards dinner at the Explorer Hotel on Sunday. James McCarthy/NNSL photo
Richard Beck, centre, accepts the Canadian Championship Dog Derby winner’s trophy from Nick Ballantyne, left, and Rebecca Plotner of Dominion Diamond Corporation during the awards dinner at the Explorer Hotel recently. Columnist Roy Erasmus says Beck won the race against competitors much younger – an example of the Clint Eastwood attitude where you are only as old as you think you are.
NNSL file photo

Beck watches his diet, but he doesn’t do any extra training with weights or anything, just lots of walking and running back and forth, hooking up and loading the dogs. He also pushes the sled, like peddling, while training and racing.

And these races are not short. A Wyoming race was 35 miles a day for eight days, and part of it was straight up for 5 miles. It took a lot of pushing or the sled stopped.

Richard came in seventh out of 26 teams. On his way back to Yellowknife, he won the Hay River race which is 18 miles a day for two days. Then he won in Yellowknife, which is 50 kilometers a day for three days. Impressive!

Richard is still working, making for some pretty long days.

Letting the old man in

Think about how amazing Richard’s story is and then think about what kind of philosophy these other people have.

Once I asked a government colleague how she was doing and she said, “Just ten years, four months and ten days to go.” I asked her what she meant and she said, “that’s when I retire.”

She was counting her time to retirement and she knew it to the day. Not cool man.

Another time I asked a younger colleague how he was doing. The guy sighs and says, “Not bad for an old guy.” I couldn’t believe the attitude. The guy was the opposite of Clint Eastwood; he had let the old man in 150%.

One guy likes to say, “well I’m still looking at the right side of the grass.” Meaning he’s looking down at the grass as opposed to looking up at it when he’s buried.

These are funny sayings, and there are other ones, but to me, it’s like they’re waiting to die.

I would much rather be like C.S. Lewis who said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Ways to feel young

Want to be like Clint Eastwood with lots of energy at the age of 88? Well, here are some tips to follow:

Have less stress in your life. Most doctors’ visits are related to anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, and heart attacks which are all caused by stress.

A good way to relieve stress and to help prevent age-related changes in the brain is to meditate. Yay.

Eat more fat, but not grease or lard. Eat at least two grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day, which is found in fatty fish such as trout, char or wild salmon, as well as walnuts and seeds.

If you can’t get fish, consider taking fish-oil supplements.

And, get off your butt. Regular exercise relieves stress and helps you burn off fat, tone muscles, build healthier bones, and think more clearly.

The National Institute on Aging says walking for 10 minutes a day lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s by 40 percent. And just about anybody can walk. Woohoo.

Eat healthy foods like wildmeat, fish, lots of vegetables, fruits and berries.

Drink green tea. A study found that green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer and prevents remissions.

Do mental aerobics, like puzzles, word search, sudoku or learn something new. Studies show that brain exercises can prevent cognitive decline, and even improve memory.

Now you’re talking! And you”re leaving the old man or woman behind!