If we are lucky enough, we have a person in our life that truly serves as a living, breathing example of how to TRULY live life right. Fortunately in my life, that person is my grandmother, an 85-year old woman who continues to be the role model for not only her family, but for anyone who has been lucky enough to meet her. She has been a prime reason I have been able to have cultivated the life I live today, one that is blessed, full of happiness, gratitude and service. So here I am to share with you her secret to anti-aging.
My grandmother is the manifestation of how extraordinary your life can be if you are able to embrace positive thinking, move beyond fears and doubts, and live with gratitude for every waking moment. She has managed to be a shining example of what this life can offer you, no matter what your age or circumstance, if you choose to truly LIVE. Although she has been technically aging over the years, she has actually become more vibrant, free and child-like, embracing the wonderment of life rather than the fear of death. She is nothing short of extraordinary, and she continues to prove that we can get better with age. Therefore, I have chosen to interview her today, to share with us some perspective and guidance on how to defy the conventions of age.
Before I begin, I think I will share with you a few facts about my grandmother that I think exemplify her:
- She joined a bowling team in her 70’s just to have something fun to do.
- When dared to swim 100+ meters in freezing Southern California bay water, she did it. She was 80.
- Her friends threw her a surprise party called “Pal Joie” just to thank her for being such an amazing influence in their lives.
- She ALWAYS made my cousins and I invite the lonely kid at the park to play with us so that they did not have to feel left out.
- She never allowed us to be fearful, even if that meant not running away from a large snake, jumping bareback onto a horse at the age of 4, or driving stick shift up a mountain before we had our license.
- A few times a year she would always sit us all down to teach us a life lesson, which have proven to be invaluable in the development of our characters.
- When my grandmother, aunts, sister and I go shopping, we can all try on the same thing, and it is my grandmother that always looks the best in it.
- She is so full of energy; it is always my cousins or I who have to tell her that we need to rest, not the other way around.
- If she answers her phone at home, it is a big surprise, because her social calendar always puts mine to shame.
- She will always take the opportunity to go up to a man of service (army, police, fireman) to thank them for their hard work and service to this country.
- Her travel schedule exceeds mine, making trips across the country yearly, and flying international without blinking an eye. No special treatment here.
1. How do you seem to resist temptation to sit around and allow yourself to be more inactive? How do you keep yourself motivated?
I think I have been blessed with energy, which has allowed me to stay motivated. Not to mention, I would be bored just sitting around! I always choose to make plans, even if others do not invite me to do things, which would involve extending invitations to others, or making things to do around my house.
I always like to be active, and one rule of mine is to never turn the TV on during the day, that always seems to make you lazier. If I do not have anything to do in the house, I find something to do in the yard. I am blessed with a lot of energy, and therefore I am always of thinking of what I am going to do next. This is my way of never getting depressed.
Have you always been this way?
I have always been this way, I like to be busy, I like to do labor things such as cleaning, working in the yard, and fixing up the house, but I have always made this a priority.
2. Do you think that because you are always active you have been able to overcome the fear of aging?
I don’t know exactly, but ones thoughts have something to do with it. You must be positive. Mindset is the most important thing we have: seeing the glass as half full, not half empty. With a positive attitude, I do not have any fear. Because I am older, I am more cautious about going down stairs, walking… no tripping, more aware, but not fearful. I can tell I am more aware of my surroundings, I would rather not be, but that is common sense.
Old age is a disease like anything else and people fall into that really easily. There is so much talk about having health and physical problems that people are easing into it as if there is no choice. I believe people have to fight against it, because it is too easy to fall into the mindset that we are all going to get sick and weak as you get older, but that is not the case. You just cannot mentally give into that vibration and that thought process, you have to constantly be mentally positive and stay engaged in activities.
3. What is your daily routine including diet, exercise and social routine?
Get up at 6:30 am
Make the bed, let my dog out and get the newspaper
Have 1 ½ cup black coffee and go and sit to have quiet time
Engage in spiritual meditation for 20 minutes
Make breakfast: Mixed Trader Joes cereal (no sugar), almond milk, cut up organic strawberries and bananas
Do the dishes and then do 15 minutes of floor exercises (stretches and yoga moves)
Go get dressed and take my dog for a walk (8-12 blocks)
Monday: I volunteer at my city’s residents association
Tuesday: 18 holes of golf, walk 9 holes and cart 9 holes – lunch at club
Wednesday: Play in a bridge club and then go to my yoga class (I have been doing yoga for 8 years)
Thursday/Friday: Play 19 holes of golf
Friday: Play in my bridge club and then do yard work
Make Lunch: ½ sandwich of tuna or Swiss cheese/turkey, sun chips and fruit, 2 cookies and orange juice
Afternoon Activities: Do errands, go to the market, work in the yard, and dust the house, short 1 hr nap
4:30-5 pm: Play ball with my dog in the backyard
5:30 pm Snack Time: 1 glass of white wine and ½ avocado with Trader Joes honey pretzels while watching the news
Make Dinner: Organic chicken and fresh vegetable stir-fry with brown rice
Watch TV until 11pm, shower and go to bed
Weekdays: I don’t go out to dinner at all
Weekend: Scrambled eggs or waffles for breakfast then work in yard for a few hours, have the ladies over for bridge and then either go out to a movie with my cousin or go out with my family.
4. What are a few things that you “cheat” on or rather indulge in?
Well, if I feel like being indulgent, I do not do my morning exercises and I have dessert with my meals. Once in a while, about once a month, I will go to get a hamburger, fries and a milk shake at Jack in the Box and share my fries with my dog, Daisy. Daisy loves to eat French fries!
5. What is your Main Philosophy on Aging, or rather Anti-Aging?
I just don’t try to think about age, although it’s difficult because people talk about it. But the truth is that I don’t feel old: not tired or sick. I focus on just all the good; my family, the love that surrounds me, and on what am I going to do next, such as looking forward to upcoming events and plans with my friends.
I have made an effort to always make new friends since I have lost many and I just really feel blessed that I am able to feel that way. I don’t allow myself to get discouraged, pessimistic or feel tired of living.
When friends die, does that make an impact; does it highlight your age?
You have to keep going, you have to move forward and try to make a new friends that you can be close with. You just ignore the thought of… I am next. Of course you miss them, but you do not focus on the loss, you focus on what you have.
6. If you could give advice or provide any tips to someone your age or someone coming into their golden years what would it be?
The most important thing is your mental attitude and to always look at the good and not pick up on the negative aspect of life. Old age is a disease and you will be surrounded by negativity (passing on and being ill), but you ignore that and focus your attention on the positive things. It is a mental exercise. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. You put yourself on that mental plane and the positivity will keep coming to you. And I would most certainly recommend starting the day with a moment of gratitude, which can be very simple, not something very big, just something positive to set the tone of the day.
7. Part of aging is that you may loose your partner. How do you think you changed to meet that challenge?
This is a tremendous adjustment and a critical point that many of us must face when growing older. Of course for a while you have so much work and reorganizing to do that it feels impossible to move forward, but you must. You do find that your social life changes a lot because you are not a couple, and that is the hard part. I know for a while I wouldn’t think about doing anything social with couples, because when you walk in, you mess up the table arrangement and you are one. You feel like you are out in left field, but it just takes time, it will get better.
You move forward by doing what you are doing before, but look for new things to involve yourself in. For example, I started to volunteer. I began reading for the blind (I did that for 10 years) which gave me a lot of enjoyment. I also joined a bowling team, I began inviting women over more often for lunch, cards, games etc. You just begin to fill in the spaces.
8. Do you have any health challenges? And if yes, how do you deal with it?
I do have arthritis, but I don’t give into it, I battle through it. I do not take any medication regularly for it, only if it is really bad, and in those cases I just take 1 Advil. Instead I keep moving, and I am good about taking food supplements. I take vitamin D, a greens multi-vitamin, and essential fatty acids. This regime and my mindset has kept me relatively pain-free, so I feel really lucky there.
The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.
~Frank Lloyd Wright