Blaine resident, 85, credits an active lifestyle to staying youthful

Published on Wed, Sep 30, 2009
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On a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, 85-year-old Blaine resident Guy Hughes was launching his inflatable kayak into Drayton Harbor about to go on a liesurely paddle with a friend.

For Hughes, keeping active is not only enjoyable, it is a way to maintain health and happiness in his golden years, whether it’s through tai chi classes in the park, jogging, pilates at Whatcom Fitness or just spending a few hours in his garden.

Q: What does an average day look like?

A: I try  to not have any average days. I try to do something different every day but I am at the same time, like most seniors who live by themselves committed to doing routine things like houskeeping (with the help of a professional housekeeper who comes in every two weeks) cooking my meals and doing dishes and laundering my clothes.

One of the different things was the planting and maintaining a garden on the deck atttached to the apartment where I live.

On most days I spend some time maintaing my membership in several public service, philanthropic and veterans organizations. I am motivated by my dedication to the concept expressed by a  Middle ages Jewish scholar who wrote, “If I care not for myself, who will?  But if I care for myself alone why am I?”   

Q: What kinds of activities do you do to keep in shape?

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I participate in an hour-long men’s pilates class at Whatcom Physical Fitness Center.

On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I participate in hour-long Tai Chi classes.

Several days a week for at least two hours a day I work in my deck-garden.

I kayak on the average of three times a week but mostly when I can get someone to go with me.

Q: Do you have any other secrets for keeping youthful?

I try every day to consciously do something such as a smile, a friendly hello, a gift, or just something that will please and make that person's day and life more pleasant. 

I'm, at last, learning not to worry-about anything.  I've known for a long time that worry is not the solution to any problem.  In fact, my experience teaches me that worrying always makes a

My enjoyment of my family members, friends and new acquaintances increases every time I’m with them – I’m spending as much time as possible with them, sometimes creating situations where we can enjoy each other.
I’m taking every opportunity available to me to enjoy the arts and many forms of entertainment-commercial and amatuer.  Humor:  Trying to create situations and conversations that are funny is an enjoyable part of my life.

My other credo is:  Why be unhappy when there still many opportunities to be happy?    

I am also very careful about what I eat.  I follow the teachings of many health nutritionists – no red meat, lots of fresh organically-grown vegetables of all colors available, lots of fruit, especially during the summer. 
I have two cravings that I work at controlling. Those are dark chocolate and black licorice.

I need to add that keeping busy is the very invigorating and stimulating to me.  I keep myself busy and the enjoyment of accomplishment is the reward.