American author Oscar Wilde is credited with the adage, “with age comes wisdom,” and the older I get the more I believe it. I’m not trying to say I’m getting any wiser as I get older, but I do understand the world a lot better than when I was a young man.
I understand, for example, that good, old-fashioned hard work will almost always lead to good things. Young folks sometimes seem to think that they can get by with doing the minimum. Truth be told, I remember thinking that way myself.
In fact, one of my many favorite quotes from Mark Twain is this one: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
Aging has its setbacks, of course, but we should never overlook the good fortune that comes with living a long and full life, surrounded by family and friends.
February is the perfect time of year when we can do exactly that. This month will give us ample opportunities to express how much we care for our loved ones. Valentine’s Day occurs this month, the traditional day when we set aside time to express our love. And really there is no better way to show how much our loved ones mean to us than to outwardly express our affection.
Flowers, chocolates, candies, cards, and dining out are all ways we can say how much we love each other. These are important, of course, but there is another important way for us to show our love. And that is by ensuring that everyone we love, young and not-so-young, is monitoring their health.
I say that because this month is also Heart Health Month, and as a survivor of a heart attack and stroke, I speak from experience. Monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body weight, ensuring a healthy diet, and getting plenty of exercise will not only lengthen our lives but will also provide us many days of good health.
That seems like a lot of hard work, but it’s actually pretty easy if we take it in small increments. Our tremendous Parks and Recreation Department has developed a number of programs that can help us stay active. The annual Mayor’s Fitness Challenge is one of my favorites. It encourages residents to walk, run or jog for 100 miles or ride a bicycle for 500 miles over four months. The Challenge gains new participants every year, and maybe one day we’ll get most of the Town’s residents to take part.
For active adults, the 407 Rec Center on First Street is a great place to meet people, get in a little workout, and encourage each other to maintain healthy habits. I visit it often, and I see how effective it is in making a difference in the lives of our active adult community.
And speaking of healthy habits, I want to thank those of you who attended the workshop on the Town’s Hike and Bike Trail Master Plan. Prosper is blessed with some incredibly beautiful natural areas and preserving these nature trails for our enjoyment and the enjoyment of future generations is very important.
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone and remember to show your loved ones how much they mean to you every day.
By Mayor Ray Smith