On September 9, 2015 Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning Brash monarch in history. Her great-grandmother Queen Victoria had set the record by being on the throne for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 30 minutes. Queen Elizabeth hadn't aspired to surpass this and wasn't at all interested in celebrating the fact that she had. Some believe that this was because her rule began because of the death of her beloved father. Others think that a celebration would have made it even more awkward for her son, Prince Charles. He is now 66 years of age and the heir to the throne who has waited in the wings longer than any other European royalty.
Often in North America we hear people talk about "Freedom 55" and how they plan to retire early. Not so with Queen Elizabeth. When she was crowned at age 25 years she pledged to rule until her death. Next April she will have her 90th birthday and she is still going strong.
In 2014 the Queen and her husband Prince Phillip who is now 94 years of age, had 393 official engagements of which 18 were abroad. Of course she has a staff to take care of planning, wardrobe and other duties but, most people who are approaching their ninth decade wouldn't want or be able to keep up the pace she enjoys.
Her approach to living and work provide her with stamina. We could all benefit from following some of the principles that the Queen has adopted:
1. Physical activity - If you are required to stand for several hours without a break or walk while carrying over ten pounds of crown jewels and ermine, then you had better be in good shape. The Queen still loves to ride horses and never uses the handrail when climbing stairs. These are both activities that strengthen core muscles. She also regularly takes brisk walks with her corgis. The fact that her husband is competitive and continues to enter carriage driving competitions has encouraged her over the years to be active.
2. Moderation - The Queen's weight has not fluctuated much throughout her lifetime. She has never smoked and is careful about what she eats and drinks. She also has an established routine that regulates her waking hours and protects her sleep.
3. Discretion - Despite being in her position for over 63 years, the Queen has never given an interview to a reporter. She does not air dirty laundry and does not respond to negative press about herself or her family members.
4. Holidays - The only day of the year that the Queen takes off from her duties is Christmas Day. On the other 364 days she reviews confidential documents presented to her in the famous red leather cases, meets weekly with her Prime Minister and communicates with other officials from her 15 realms. She does change locations throughout the year and particularly enjoys time when she is in Scotland at Balmoral Castle.
5. Hobbies - The Queen breeds and races horses and also breeds dogs. She especially enjoys the outdoors where she spends as much of the day as possible. She loves family time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also is very interested in people so easily makes conversation with others because of her healthy curiosity.
Many believe that retirement is dependent on one's age or financial situation. If that was true, the Queen could have retired over 30 years ago.
Are you well enough and interested enough in your work to continue for sixty-three years?
If not, why not?
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From Dr. Linda Hancock, Registered Psychologist and Registered Social Worker