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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fantasies,Mental Toughness,and Jim Steere,DVM

"There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do."– Freya Stark

Jim Steere, DVM: Renaissance man and Athlete Extraordinaire - Chapter 7 is a wonderful story about a remarkable man. Insight into his identity and resulting mental toughness is found as we take a look into his childhood fantasies and dream life. The following material, in part, is taken from “It Has Nothing TO Do With Age.”
Jim as a young boy moved to the desert to live with his bigger than life Calvary officer father. At, this point, unfortunately, Jim had already lost an older brother.  With this move, his losses mount further because he is now separated from his two older siblings (brother & sister), and mother.  He is a lost, lonesome boy out in the desert with his father.
Jim’s military father purchased 160 acres in the Southern California desert under Abraham Lincoln’s Homestead Act, and built with Jim’s help a small simple structure that they called home.   This rustic, primitive dwelling had no electricity, gas, or plumbing.  A fireplace provided warmth, as well as light to read by.   Lucky for Jim, there were no electronic toys or games for diversion.  Instead, to pass the time in those days, Jim’s father read to him stories about the old Wild West.  As Jim’s imagination was superb, he was able to fantasize and dream about being a prospector or some solitary cowboy figure out on a deserted trail, accompanied by his horse which for him was his friend.  The horse is a major part of the story as it was a gift, or some would say a bribe from his father, enticing him to move away from another part of his family, thus resulting in a splitting or separation within the family.
Jim would go on long rides, with his horse and as a result became an excellent horse person.  Okay one might ask, what does this have to do with his identity and his mental toughness?  Well, for one, what occupation did Jim choose?  What did he love to do?  What did he enjoy as a kid?  He chose to work with animals that did not talk back to him and became the expert.  Further, Jim as a young teen rode his horse from the desert to Los Angeles, a distance of more than 90 miles.  Remember, this is in the 1930s.   This was Jim’s first three day equestrian event in which he planned, gathered necessary equipment, and followed through in order to complete his adventure as a solo rider.  This wonderful trail ride experience speaks to his mental and physical grit.  It also allowed him, over the three uninterrupted days, for his mind to wander, to have wonderful fantasies, to have super dreams without distraction, rules, or expectations from others.  He was a kid on his own.
 If you do not think Jim was physically and mentally tough by now, you are totally wrong.  This 90 mile ride, illustrates his toughness.  Did this young boy lose those fantasies and dreams or kid like behavior as he aged?  Dreams, fantasies and being young in spirit can last a lifetime. This young man, at age 80, became the oldest to complete the historic 100 mile Tevis Cup ride and at 85 competed in the world ride and tie championship with his son Thom two months before he passed away. He continued being youthful and Peter Pan like as well as being a grown-up-veterinarian and hospice worker until the end of his very full life.
Read the 19 chapters in my book, and perhaps it will assist you and allow you receive clues into your identity as well as providing you with inspiration as you read the stories of others.  Believe me, one of the major strengths in this book are the wonderful stories of its characters.


wendy said...

Love the connection between mental toughness and Jim's choice to follow his dream.

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