Use it or lose it is an old adage, tried and true, that can be applied to a craftsman’s legerdemain, pasture lands or legal stratagems. If you wrote a song on the hit parade, record another song pronto.

A friend of mine, as a young model, once flew from New York to Paris for a photo shoot, where they draped a $75,000 sable cape over her shoulders for the camera. She somehow forgot to return it to the couture house the next day but taxied straight from her hotel to the airport. Customs, on either side of the ocean, gave no hassle to a beauty like her about the fur. And stateside, she continued west to other shoots and a new apartment.

The cape attracted considerable attention in the whorl of Hollywood parties she got herself invited to—even catching the eye of Frank Sinatra, who invited her on several dates, until she snagged a Newport scion in marriage back East. No agent of the Paris furrier ever repossessed the sable cape.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, goes the Broadway song. Another friend of mine discovered this to her dismay as a senior citizen, when a lonely, rich widower began squiring her as his escort on Barcelona-to-Bermuda cruises and on his country club’s patio back home in Texas. The arrangement was understood to mean that in exchange for her company he would deposit $100,000 a year into a retirement bank account for her future after his death, but that both would have access to in the meantime. So, for seven years, she hung out at his various clubs and sailed to Bangkok, Patagonia or Alaska on luxury liners—only to discover one sad day, at the age of 80, that he had welched on their agreement, and the bank account had been emptied.

“I gave the money to my kids,” he said simply, and seemed surprised when she stopped returning his calls. Being a widow herself, however, she was not penniless because her late husband had left all his money to her and none to her stepchildren.

Walking, writing, socializing, even skeet-shooting, requires us to keep limber at our chosen skill. Old age is not for sissies, as the elderly like to recite to one another, and it’s true that if you don’t get out of your chair often enough, willy-nilly you’ll remain there. On a glorious day: use it. Rain may blow in. Moments with offspring. Love ‘em! Be what’s called proactive and aerobic, hydrate frequently, and heed the other current buzz words. Mental or physical, yes, you’d better use it lest you lose what you’ve got. But how about the Golden Rule? Globalized, we’re baffled a bit by religious and cultural injunctions central to what has been our conception of ourselves. Thus, what shall we “do unto” sixty-five million refugees?

Limberness should be at the core of how we respond. Use God or lose Him but remember that He didn’t name Himself only in English. Humanity in every language is electric. So, atheist, agnostic or whatever, don’t pull the plug.

There is more to life than watching the concussive sports and murder mysteries we love. Through this fetish for violence as entertainment we control what scares us, watching the screen as couch potatoes. And outdoors we’ll mow the lawn, keeping nature too at bay. Too bad it doesn’t make for less real violence, having so much on TV, although nature is reeling from suburbanization and industry’s onslaught. The ubiquity of running water before we dammed or tainted it delighted me, along with the musicality of streams when I could still drink from them in Vermont and Alaska. Brooks become less musical once you can’t drink from them.

A use it or lose it equation also applies as a spiritual loss. If churches are bulldozed you’ve lost them. And I remember sacred springs in Greece and Africa, and other places where, for me as a visitor, not the location but the reverberations resonated.

Use this day or lose it. And use your heart and your curiosity too.