The Daily Beet

19 Nov Saving Time With Char: When I’m 64

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Saving Time with Char

It’s My Birthday

I was a freshman in high school when the Beatles inked their song about being 64.  I remember thinking how old that seemed.  And, it seemed so far away.  I no longer need to search, because 64 years have found me. Not sure how it happened, but, it did.

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I never knew that I was “older” until this happened.

It was the summer of 2010 and Rip was visiting Philadelphia for a Forks Over Knives tour.  He had invited me and my friend J.R. up on stage.  And as he was profiling who I was, he said, “I got an email from an older woman…”  Frankly, I said to myself, “Wonder who he is talking about?”  When it turned out to be me, I was in a state of shock, mainly, because in my head, I am about 34.  But, Rip was right.  People now call me “mam,” get up on the bus for me and provide me with a seat, and always hold doors open.  I also noticed at the bank that a teller thought I was really old because she was talking to me with a loud voice in articulated syllables.  And, I could hear her perfectly.  It must be that flaming silver hair of mine!

The reality is that I am 64.  A few weeks ago at work, colleagues, in the their 20’s were talking about someone who was old.  I asked them how old that someone was, and they said, “Fifty.”  So yes, the vote is in.  By many, I am considered old.  I am waiting for that next bracket on a race form to come, where I get to check “over 65.”

Many people write to me, asking for tips about their parents.  Their parents are “old, in their 50’s,” and their lives are are suspended with many prescription meds.  People ask me how to convert their parents.  If I had a magic wand, I’d know the answer.  I can offer some practical tips that have helped me navigate my plant strong life.  Small change is better than no change at all.  Start with small steps, the rest will follow.

So, here are some tips that you might want to think about if you are looking to add change to someone’s life.  But, let me state that it comes from within, and the change needs to genuinely start.  You know, Ghandi said it, “Be the change.”

-Start with Meatless Monday.  This is a great forum.  Everyone loves to be part of something, why not start here?  Go to www.PCRM.org  for more info.

-After Meatless Monday, challenge someone to a 28 Day E2 Challenge.  That’s how I started.  I thought, “Very doable.”  The first nine days, I kept a list of things I would eat on day 29.  But, at about day 10, I felt so great, that I never looked back.  I never did have that piece of gooey pizza.  The reality is that feeling great trumps any food there is.  Really.  And, I thought I could never say that.

-Encourage others to limit dairy.  If they love ice cream, whip up some mango “ice cream” in the blender, and they will never look back, either.  So delicious and creamy.  Yum is all I can say.

-Offer loving and sincere praise to any small changes your loved one might make.  What is second nature to you is often strange and foreign to others.  Be patient.

-Make your favorite E2 meal and deliver it to someone who needs the change.  Usually, a dessert works the best.  But, “Raise the Roof Lasagna” is another great way to start.

I have found over the years, that offering love and support, and leaving judgment at the door works best in getting others to embrace what you know is best for them.  Starting small works best.  Make the change gradual. I am a “jump off the deep end of the pool” kind of person, so learning this was a great life lesson.

I think, though, that the best thing is a 28 Day Challenge.  That is the true litmus test of feeling great.  It provides the proof that food is medicine.  If you are wanting for a loved one to change  behavior, the validation of feeling wonderful is the best reward.  Offer love.  Offer support.  Do not judge.

So, November 20, I will be 64.  I carry no regrets.  Only one.  And that is that I wish when I first read Dean Ornish twenty years ago, that  I would have jumped on his band wagon.  But, you cannot look back, and I am happy where I am today.

If your parents, spouse, whomever, is around my age, let them know that it is never too late to change.  The plant-strong lifestyle is the best thing I have ever done for myself.  And I want you to do the same.

My birthday cake with be a Mighty Muffins Cake with avocado/chocolate icing.  And everyone will eat it, too!  You might want to tell your folks that you know a 64 year old woman who takes no meds…not even a Tylenol!

Yes, I am 64.  And, thank you, Sir Paul.

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Char Nolan
Char Nolan

Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

  • Cat

    Happy birthday! It’s my birthday too and you inspired me to get up early and make muffins for my colleagues. Unfortunately I forgot to add the baking powder! Oh well…

    • Leah

      Happy Birthday!!!

      • Michelle

        Happy birthday to you, Char, and thanks so much for sending us this inspiring message as your gift to us today!

  • Leah

    Happy Birthday Char! You are a happy, healthy inspiration! So glad that you were born! :)

  • Liz Nickel

    Char, for what it is worth, I turned 72 in July. I consider 64 young. It is all a matter of perspective.

    Happy Birthday.

  • Lynnette

    Happy Birthday Char! 64 is still PLENTY young!

  • Kirsten

    Happy Happy Birthday Char…you are a truly amazing and inspiring woman…I know that my plant strong lifestyle will enable me to have as much energy as you when I turn 64 :)

  • Heather Sadler

    Happy birthday Char. I am 10 years away from 64, but I know it will be here in the blink of an eye. Being plant strong means that age is much less of an issue. I feel like a kid – most of the time! LOL

  • Rindy Baker

    Boy does that Beatles reference take me back. I was 64 years old yesterday – I’m one day older than you and I am also shocked that I could possible be “that” old! But my kids remind me every day – and the grand kids jump in. I’m just at the beginning of this journey and still reading and psyching myself up. I guess the only way to know if will work for me is to just do it. Thanks for the push.

  • Jean Hayes

    Happy birthday Char! You are NOT old!

  • Judy Thomas

    Happy Birthday!!

  • Diana Rose

    Happy Birthday, Char. You will always be young to me–ten years younger to be specific!

  • Dorothy Robins

    Happy Birthday, I am 53 and use to take Motrin every morning and night because I hurt so much ,I have been vegan for 2 years and I wake up ,no pains. It’s amazing:)

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  • LULU1

    Not trying to be a jerk, just wondering about the timeline here…
    The song came out in 1967. If you’re 64 now, you were 18 when the song came out. A freshman in high school?