How ‘healthy, happy old codger’ transformed his life


David Van Lear is a retired Clemson University professor.

The world news today is certainly scary and depressing, and we’ve just completed two years of living under the shadow of COVID-19. However, I want to share a little encouragement, especially for older people, from my own life.

It’s a story of how I progressed from a deeply depressed and inactive old man to a happy and healthy old codger through exercise. I certainly am not trying to equate an exercise program with huge world issues, but perhaps, even with the sad state of the world, we can make personal changes that improve our lives and will encourage others to do the same.

In 2005, the same year I retired as a professor at Clemson University, I learned I had diabetes. Sadly, this was just the beginning of my health’s downward spiral. In 2012, I began having pains in my lower abdomen. I’d had kidney stones before, , but this time the sharp pains felt different, and an ultrasound indicated something worse.


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