Being a gardener, in past years, most of my New Year’s resolutions revolved around that passion. I usually also threw in something about eating better and exercising more. Like many people, the latter were the resolutions which didn’t always come to fruition. But, my garden flourished. Since I spent most of December 2011 seeing a physical therapist twice weekly for a bum knee, last year neither gardening nor physical betterment made the cut as I entered 2012 sans resolutions. In an off handed way, my desire to strengthen my right leg so the knee would function as normal was a type of resolution and I spent January working on my exercises at home.

But, by February’s end I was down with a cold, which turned into six weeks of bronchitis followed by several more weeks of regaining my stamina. (Bronchitis is tough. It’s even tougher if you’re 60!) By July, however, I was finally feeling better. So, I decided to make a half yearly resolution to walk one mile six times a week. I’ve been pretty successful in meeting that goal, only faltering during an eight day stretch in Michigan at Christmas when frigid temps gave new meaning to the words “brisk walk”. Rewind to August when the specter of skin cancer popped up during a long deferred visit to my dermatologist. Since an old friend passed away last December of metastatic melanoma, I sweated profusely waiting for the biopsy result. The biopsy came back as pre-cancerous…whew!

So, now, as I look back at 2012, I realize how important my health is as I age. I once saw a plaque in an office, which read, “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?” To be sure, eventually, our bodies will give out. As my MD pointed out to me, “Arthritis is just a fancy word for the parts are wearing out.” At some point, all the parts will wear out or, at the very least, one very important part will wear out and we will leave our mortal home behind. So, if we want to spend as much time as we can in this earthly state, then we need, no, we must take care of our physical health. Not only does care of one’s physical health allow you to maintain your independence longer and keep you mentally fit, it’s also less costly. Getting sick or having even some of the lesser conditions, such as pre-diabetes or high cholesterol, which creep up with age, can set you back financially. The healthier you are physically, the healthier you will be financially.

As I enter 2013, I have plenty of garden related resolutions. But, this year they’re secondary to the resolutions to keep my health. My goal is to use sunscreen on my face every day. Not the drug store variety but the really good stuff with the zinc oxide sold by my dermatologist. Since it’s moisturizing, I’m replacing my moisturizer with it, which should offset the extra cost. I’m going to keep walking and add another mile, one quarter mile each calendar quarter so by the end of 2012 I should be walking two miles. Not a big lofty goal but certainly doable, which is what counts. Walking requires nothing more than a good pair of shoes and enough love for yourself to set aside the time for your walk every day. And, if I reach my goal of two miles six days a week earlier in the year, I can always tack on a half yearly resolution and start on a third mile for 2012. I’ve also armed myself with hand sanitizer, which I will use religiously, (I promise). No colds this year.

So, whatever your resolutions this year, make them realistic, make them reachable and make them for your health. After all, if you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?