"Do not regret aging. It is a privilege denied to many."
-Edith Wharton

Today many of us have had the privilege to live many years beyond our ancestors. We are able to travel to faraway places, see our grandchildren graduate from college, marry and have a family. Sometimes we get to witness the birth and formative years of a great grandchild. Others have started a business they had dreamed of or learned to play the piano. These are all blessings beyond the reach of others. There is much to celebrate about Aging! Yet, many people fear aging and try to deny it or defy it. Hence, the number of commercials for plastic surgery, botox and the latest "miracle cream". Now we think it's great to want to look your best. However, when one becomes obsessed with staying young forever, that becomes a problem. Even Ponce de Leon never found his fountain of youth. So to deny aging is not very effective. Think about it: Throughout our lives, if we have ever tried to deny a part of ourselves it has never worked. And the same is true of aging.

Father Time does play tricks on us. It seems like just yesterday we were going to the prom or learning to drive as we observe our children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews enjoying these life experiences. We cannot make the clock go back in time; but we can make a commitment to Aging Well and have a positive attitude. Indeed, it has been noted by many experts that one of the most important traits of a person who is Aging Well is having a positive attitude. Let's take look at this by using the term Age as an acronym.


None of us get four aces in the deck when the hand is dealt for our longevity and health (see Genetics below). However, our attitude can often save the day. There once was a woman who was turning 99 before there wee so many folks living that long. We will call her Susan. Her family hosted a big party and invited a local reporter and photographer. At the end of the party, the young reporter came to her and said: "This was a great party; and we took some wonderful photos." Then he leaned in in a conspiratorial manner and said: "I really hope I can come back next year and help you celebrate your 100th birthday!" Well, we know what he was thinking and so did Susan. (Maybe she would not make it through that year). Since Susan had such a great attitude and sense of humor, she replied: "Well I don't see why not, young man. You look perfectly healthy to me!" Now that's the kind of attitude we are talking about!


As mentioned, no one gets four aces in the deck when it comes to longevity and Aging Well. Every family history contains some genetic factors which can be a challenge. For some it my be a predisposition to heart disease, diabetes or cancer. However, as any good card player can tell you, it is what you do with the hand you are dealt that makes all the difference in the world. In fact, experts agree that only as much as 20-25% of the impact on our aging process comes from genetics and predisposition. Thus, the good news is that we can have much more control over our longevity and aging destiny than we may realize. Understanding what our genetic makeup is can guide us as to a lifetime approach for Aging Well. Good nutrition, exercise, being connected to others, an active lifestyle and yes, attitude can be potent insulators for what life brings our way.

Embrace Aging and Life

Embracing aging and life will help us to have a positive attitude and vice versa. Finding enjoyment in our daily lives and relationships bolsters us. Spend time with positive people. Focus on blessings. Use relaxation techniques and positive imagery to rid oneself of stress which can be very detrimental to our well-being. There have been many studies conducted by insurance companies and health plans. They all agree that being a part of something bigger than ourselves is crucial for our health and well-being. Whenever we talk with volunteers they tell us that they get back more from those they help than they give to others. Although the folks they are helping may disagree, technically the volunteers are accurate. There has been a correlation noted in many studies that volunteers tend to be healthier than their peers. One thing is for sure. If we are focusing on others that does not give us time to focus on our own troubles.