Blog #128~ Lessons From Dick Van Dyke
I just finished reading Dick Van Dyke’s new book, Keep Moving and other Tips and Truths About Aging. In the book jacket it reads:
“Show-business legend Dick Van Dyke is living proof that life does get better the longer you live it. Who better to offer instruction, advice and humor than someone who’s entering his ninth decade with a jaunty two-step? Van Dyke isn’t just a born song-and-dance man; his irrepressible belief in embracing the moment and unleashing his inner child have proved to be the ultimate elixir of youth.”
It was a quick read packed with some good advice, tips and anecdotes. After I put the book down, it got me thinking about my son Nick, who is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism. Many of the suggestions given are things that my son does every day. Here are just a few of the many ideas Dick shares:
*Keep moving! If Dick Van Dyke is at the store and hears music playing he starts dancing. Work out regularly. Van Dyke was on the treadmill humming. A guy next to him asked, “Hey you’re humming! The rest of us are huffing and puffing and you’re humming. How do you do that?” Van Dyke replied, “Vocal cords are muscles too. But also humming, as with a Buddhist chanting, singing or even an infant making noises as it discovers its voice, sets up a sympathetic frequency in your body that simply feels good.”
*You don’t have to act your age. You don’t even have to feel it. There is no way you have to behave. Be a goofball, have fun, and be silly.
*Keep your sense of humor. Van Dyke writes, “I once heard someone say that if you can’t laugh at life, you’re missing the joke. I agree. As far as I’m concerned, a sense of humor is the way we make sense out of nonsense.”
*Have a daily routine. Get up and get moving, make lists, work out, go shopping, learn new things, ask questions, take a nap, and always enjoy a nightly dessert.
*Don’t forget to smile. Don’t forget to make someone else smile 🙂
While these ideas are simple, what stands out to me is having the right attitude to approach each day. It’s the theme which threads through his book. I see a lot of this in my son. He wakes up; usually cuts a fart and laughs. If you’ve ever been around Nick, you know that he spends a great amount of time dancing and humming. He also thrives on his daily routines aided by a picture sequence that serves as his list. And yes, his infectious smile will make your day!
Inside the Keep Moving book jacket really sums up the essence of my message this week. “Dick’s optimistic outlook is an invigorating tonic for anyone who needs a reminder that life should be lived with enthusiasm despite what the calendar says”. My son Nick embraces this. He is my daily prompt to live that way each day. That is what’s in my noggin this week.