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100 Ways to 100 Years

July 17, 2022 by  
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On my July 2nd post, I said I would continue with an additional list on the theme of aging and what you can do to live a longer heather life but I wasn’t able to do that the following week, so I still owe you, my good readers, that list.

In that previous blog, I wrote about some basic things a person can do to reset the whole body, which included eating extra protein and colorful fruits as well as getting in some strength training. That’s a good place to start and pretty easy to do, but now I’d like to share with you more ideas from the article “100 Wonderful Ways to LIVE TO 100”.

Living to 100 is a great goal and it can be done. No, it’s not easy, but don’t you agree that it’s probably worth the effort? Your kids and grandkids and great grand kids would certainly like you to do it.

Here’s a few more suggestions from that article:

1. Find a reason to laugh and smile a lot.

2. Try a little responsible “retail therapy”.

3. Don’t forget about yourself. Fitness guru, Jack LaLanne, who passed away at the age of 95 in 2011, knew the importance of looking after yourself. “This is where I take care of the most important person in my life, me”.

4. Try to have a friction free marriage.

5. Put the pedal to the metal – be a super cyclist.

6. Stop smoking.

7. Get fishy. Consume lots of omega-3 fatty acids.

8. Get busy and stay busy.

9. Get enough sleep.

10. Run, but not too much.

11. Wash your hands.

12. Buddy up at the office.

13. Grow from trauma.

14. Smile a lot.

15. Hit the gym.

16. Turn off the TV.

17. Cut the sugar.

The bottom line is, never forget how very important you are and take care of yourself, especially when it comes to self-talk—keep that positive for a long, happy life.

Age is Not a Number

July 10, 2022 by  
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Last week I had said I’d planned to add to the list of things you can do to reset yourself and slow your aging. But life got a bit complicated, and I have to postpone creating that list until next week. But here is an update to a post I did some 8 years ago that addresses some of these same things.

On January 8th of 2014, I launched what I called my “90 Day Super Quest”. That quest was an ambitious goal to get myself into the best possible physical and mental shape of my entire life and I was starting that exactly 90 days before I turned 70!

Just one week into my super quest, I was right on schedule with my workouts which included tennis, weightlifting, sit-ups, push-ups, and stretching. I had also worked on the mental side of my quest by keeping up with reading, writing, making new friends, and spending lots of time with old friends and family. However, I noticed a problem right around the one-week mark. It was that old demon—that negative inner self-talk. I had become way too focused on the fact that I was getting older, with that number 70 dominating the chatterbox inside my head, and not in a positive way.

But then I just happened to pick up a book that I’ve read and written about many times, and it flipped open to page 55 where the word “aging” jumped out at me. The book was Susan Jeffers’ Feel the Fear and Beyond, her follow-up book to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. And, wow, does she have some great thoughts about aging and what your inner voice should NOT be saying about the subject, such as:

“I am getting older now. Aging is horrible. I wish my body was young again. Look at those wrinkles. Who could love a face that’s old? I hate it. Pretty soon, no one will want to be around me. When I was young, I could dance all night. Now I don’t have the energy. Why do people have to age? I wish I could be young forever.”

Then she goes on to discuss what we should be saying to ourselves:

“I love aging. My children are grown and now I’m free to do the things I put off doing. I’m glad I joined the gym. I don’t think I’ve ever been in such great shape. I’m going to learn all I can about keeping myself in the best of health. I have so much to look forward to. I learn and grow every day of my life. I wouldn’t want to go back one day. Why would I want to go back?”

Reading that, I realized that I needed to get rid of that number 70 that had become so set in my head. Instead, I started asking myself the question that I used to ask so often, something we all should probably ask ourselves whenever we think about aging: “How old would I say I am if I didn’t know?”.

Back then, when I asked myself this question, I could honestly say I felt 44. And for the rest of my 90 Day Super Quest, I thought to myself that, when I was done with this, I would be in the best physical and mental shape of my life as a 45-year-old! That outlook helped me push through the challenge and to this day, with some reminders here and there, I steer my mental chatter toward the positive and try to stay focused on the age I think I am, not just some number that has more to do with the calendar than what great things I have in my life.

More Reasons for Living in the Right-Now

May 29, 2022 by  
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Doesn’t life seem to change quite a bit as you get older? It sure does for me. Our bodies are certainly not the same at 70 or 80 as they were when we were teenagers or even at 30 or 40.

I had lunch the other day with an old friend that I’ve known for many, many years. I’ll call him Jerry. We have had so many great years together. Recently, I called him up to ask if we could meet for lunch at a restaurant or my country club. Jerry said he’d love to, but we would have to have lunch at his house since he was not very mobile. I was quite surprised to hear this since Jerry is only about a year older than me and the last time I saw him, he seemed to be just fine and had always been in good health.

We met up a few days later at Jerry’s house and I brought him lunch. I was surprised to see him with a 4-wheel walker and, on top of that, he shocked me with the news that he had bone cancer and, even worse, the cancer was also now in his brain.

Wow, that was such bad news, and I really felt sorry for my dear, long-time friend. Aside from all that bad news, I was very happy to find, after talking to him for a while, that his thinking was in excellent shape. He told me about a trip that he just got back from. In spite of his physical shape and health problems, he said he had a wonderful get away to Europe. As we talked about some trips we had taken together in the past, I was amazed that Jerry remembered so many details of our trips, many that I have a hard time recalling myself. He really impressed me!

When most of us were young, we might have thought life was an easy ride, and we figured we would live to 100 and have plenty of time to do all the things we want to do. We might also have hoped that maybe, by the time we’d reach old age, they will have invented a medicine or procedure to extend our lives by many, many more years and maybe even close to forever (I’ll hold on to that far out dream!) But even if we could live forever, we still have to deal with our older our brains and bodies not working near as well as in our younger years.

Since we most likely won’t live to be a 100 or more, we need to wrap our minds around living in the Right-Now Moment. It is true that we can’t continuously live in the present if we want to plan a big, fun getaway trip, since that takes future thinking. However, I certainly have found that as I think about going to Europe or Japan or any new place, it lifts my spirits.

Traveling to new places and seeing new things excites my mind and, I believe, it makes me healthier. It could even push off the day that I check out of life by many more years. I sure hope so!

Signs and Habits for Longevity

May 8, 2022 by  
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Recently, I was going through some old files, and I came across notes I wrote about living a very long life. I wrote it in 2008, but as I reread what I’m calling the “12 Signs and Habits for Longevity”, I was re-motivated to pay more attention to those 12 signs.

I thought I’d share them with you as well and I hope that they are as helpful to you as they were, and still are, to me.

1. Drink 2 cups of green or white tea every day.

2. Take 30 minutes each day to walk, bike, or run.

3. Don’t drink a lot of soda.

4. Work out your lower body and legs to give you more strength.

5. Eat more blueberries and red grapes as well as having a little of red wine here and there to reduce the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer.

6. Eat little or no beef to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

7. Get a college education if you can. Statistically, it increases your life expectancy by 18 months or more.

8. Reduce or try to eliminate chronic stress as it weakens the immune system and increases cellular aging, shorting life expectancy by 4 to 8 years.

9. Hang out with more healthy people.

10. Work on keeping your weight down. Don’t use housekeepers or gardeners to maintain your house, but do it yourself to burn more calories and help control your weight.

11. Work on having a very positive outlook and sense of purpose.

12. Give yourself over to helping other people, not just your family, but old friends and new friends as well.

If there are things on this list, you can do or change in your life to live better and longer, now is the time to do it!

Slowing Down Time

April 10, 2022 by  
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I don’t know about you, but I am so amazed by how quickly 2021 went by. It was gone in a flash. And now we are almost a quarter of the way through 2022. Why does time seem to go at warp speed these days? Well, there are actually very specific answers to that question and your age has a lot to do with how quickly or slowly time passes for you, but it’s not the whole story.

The speed of time is, for one, perceived quite differently by kids and young people compared to older folks. When we are young, time seemed to go so slowly. Do you remember when you were 15 years old but just months away from turning 16 when you could then drive by yourself? Wow, the time then seemed to slow down so much it almost stopped.

But have you noticed that now, being older time seems to have sped up? I just turned 78 last week, but it seems so much less than one year ago that I cerebrated my 77th birthday. That was a really fast year.

The reason for this has a lot to do with how many new experiences we have. Our brain encodes new experiences differently than familiar ones and our subjective experience of time is tied to the number of new memories we create. The more new experiences we have, the more memories we are storing and the slower time will seem to pass. That does make sense to my brain as I get older and pay attention to my thinking and my life and the speed of our human existence.

In BBC’s Science Focus magazine, Dr. Kit Yates, author of The Math of Life and Death, writes that, “The greater our acquaintance with the routines of everyday life, the quicker we perceive time to pass and, generally, as we age, this familiarity increases.”  

He goes on to say that this theory, “suggests that, in order to make our time last longer, we should fill our lives with new and varied experiences, eschewing the time-sapping routine of the everyday.” I’d like to add that seeking out new and novel experiences is also really great for the health of your brain. It’s even been suggested that the desire to have novel experiences can be a predictor of a healthier, happier, and maybe even longer life.

If you are interested in these challenging ideas that we face as we age, I encourage you to search the internet and find out more about why time passes quicker as we age as well as ideas for adding new experiences to your life so you can slow time down and benefit from a happier and healthier brain.

Our Amazing Brain

March 27, 2022 by  
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Wow, what an incredible machine we all have and often take for granted. I’m talking about the human brain and it does so much more than we fully realize. Even as I write this, I have to stop and take note of the fact that my brain knows where each key on my computer is located to the point that I don’t even have to think about it. Likewise, when we are sleeping, the brain continues to work without our input. Then, when we are awake, we can, again, choose what we want to think about.

When I decide to accomplish a particular thing, I can think about it and set my sights on it, keeping my decision and the steps I need to get there in my mind. I can set a goal with a time frame on it and most of the time I can reach that goal, mainly because of the powerful machine in my head.

When we take a big look at the world, we can see what the human brain has been able to come up with. It came up with the automobile, airplanes, rocket ships, computers, space stations, and even heart replacement surgery! And that’s just a tiny list of the amazing things it can invent.

I’m very, very impressed by the brain’s ability to remember things, especially my wife’s. She remembers everything and with so many details that I am constantly surprised. On the other hand, the older I get, the less my brain remembers, although it’s still amazing.

The change, however, has motivated me to find various methods to kick it into gear. One that works really well for me is when I am trying to remember a person’s name that I haven’t seen or talked to in a very long time. I mentally go through the alphabet and usually, when I come to the first letter of their name, bingo, I remember it. For example, I was trying to think of a tennis friend in Kauai that I hadn’t seen in sometime so I started going through the alphabet and, wow, the first letter did it. His name was Al.

So, how do we wake up the power of our mind and intentionally and productively choose what we think about? To start, we all need to be conscious of what we are putting into our brain. What kind of information do you feed it? Do you give it challenges and problems to figure out to keep it agile? And what do you eat to keep your brain healthy?

There are a lot of ways to support your amazing brain. But the first thing you need to do is decide to intentionally take care of it and make it a priority. Once you’ve done that, be on the lookout for ways to keep it fit, healthy, and amazing.

I’ll talk more about what you can do to keep your brain fit and healthy in next week’s post.

Mindful Aging

December 26, 2021 by  
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Wow, the end of 2021 is already here, just a few more days. Time is such an interesting thing and I find it fascinating that the passage of time seems to change its speed depending on your age and/or things you have planned in your life. When most of us were young, anxious to be old enough to get our driver’s license, time seemed to be moving so very, very slowly. I remember counting down the days until I could get mine. But things do change, especially when you get older.

At my age now, just a little more than 3 months until I hit 78, the years seem to speed up. I can remember, easily, the new year’s celebration I was at last year at my good tennis friend Al Ficker’s house in Kauai. It’s like it was just a couple of months ago. Wow, this year just flew by in a flash.

I am re-reading the great book by Jo Ann Jenkins called Disrupt Aging. I’ve written and talked about her book in previous posts. There are so many good and smart things she says about “really owning your age” and being proud of whatever that age number is. I loved her quote about a woman who said, “No one’s going to deprive me of my age.”

Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org, and author of The Big Shift wrote, “In Disrupt Aging, Jenkins offers the generational call to action we’ve been waiting for—to break free from outmoded ideas about age, to embrace the rich possibilities present in the decades opening up beyond fifty, and to join a growing movement of individuals determined to live lives infused with purpose. Beautifully written, full of humor and inspiration, and powerfully argued, this book offers the definitive map for making the most of the longevity revolution, as individuals and as a nation.”

Jo Ann has so many good thoughts and ideas for our lives as we age, such as:

  • The best life includes contributing to the well-being of others.
  • Try new things and take chances…don’t live in fear of aging.
  • Focus on health, wealth and self. 
  • This is a time to shift from “mindless aging” to mindful living.

If you are retired now, take a hard look at your life and determine your thoughts about aging. How can you age more mindfully? And if you are not retired yet, then it’s a good time to start making plans for what you are going to do when retired. Yes, write it down, make lists, set priorities and write down your future schedule. You’ll be glad you did when you finally retire.

And when you do retire, as well as right now, be sure to strive for always living in the right now moment!

Investing, Writing, and Being Grateful

May 23, 2021 by  
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Like I said in my previous blog, money has not been the best reward that I’ve received over the years. The best reward has come from helping people and it’s fantastic when they take time to give thanks and tell me how very grateful they are for helping them. That makes me feel great.

A few days ago, I received a wonderful letter from Jay P. DeCima, also known as “Fixer Jay”. I want to share some of his words with you. He begins with, “Hi Mark; I hope you are well.” I was well and his letter made me feel even better!

He went on to say, “You may or may not remember me. I’m a real estate guy. I participated at several of your real estate seminars and conventions during the mid-1980’s. I was a speaker at your week-long seminar at your Salt Lake City home. William Nickerson was my long-time friend and mentor.

“What triggered this letter was a re-listening to the tapes you and Bill Nickerson recorded with Dick Hamilton as the moderator. The tapes were recorded in 1987 sometime before CD’s replaced cassettes. Recordings were made at Bill Nickerson’s beachfront home in Aptos, Monterey Bay, near Santa Cruz, California. Mark, I’m not exactly sure about your age, but your web page shows you graduated from Ames High School in 1962. I graduated from Shasta Union High School, Redding, California in 1952 and I’m one month shy of 87 years old.

“After listening to the tapes, something you said stuck in my mind (what’s left). At 87 years old I’m lucky to remember even playing the tapes! You said, without any fanfare or hesitation, that you planned on living 101 more years until you reached the age of 144. I must say, that’s quite a plan! Nickerson guessed 100 years. If you wish, we could call that a mulligan or I’m totally agreeable with giving you a ‘do over’. But given the water that’s passed under the bridge, are you still sticking by the same estimate? Forgive me, Mark, I just had to ask.

“Your website shows you’ve written a new book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Congratulations. I have oodles of passion, I just can’t tell for how long! I’ll order a copy. Perhaps it will shed some light on this longevity issue.”

 (By the way, I sent him a copy before he could order it.)

“I too have taken up the pen in my twilight years. I write real estate how-to-books. I’ve written six books. Three are self-published. My titles can be viewed on Amazon under the author’s name Jay P. DeCima (aka) known as Fixer Jay.”

(Note to readers: I too started by self-publishing since it can be so hard to get a publisher. After you have self-published a book or two, however, that gets their attention and then they are more agreeable to publish your books for you.)

“Both investing and writing have worked well for me. I had 300 screaming tenants at my high-water mark. I stayed so long I even miss the tenants. Senile perhaps might offer a better explanation. Mark, I’d love to hear from you sometime. We can talk about real estate, book publishing or even aging. Your choice—I’m open.”

So, I called Jay today and had a wonderful, long conversation with him. What a terrific guy! Managing Tenants & Toilets is one of his book. What a great title! You can order it by calling toll-free 1-800-722-2550 or send a fax to 1-530-223-2834.

Aging and the Brain

May 2, 2021 by  
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Ernestine Shepherd, named the oldest competitive female bodybuilder in 2010, is still very active today, although not competitive, at 84 years old.

Having just turned age 77, I’ve caught myself thinking way too much about my age which has not helped me at all. It has got me worrying more about aging. But then my son sent me a book on aging that talks about how much our thinking can affect how we age. I started the book and have been amazed.

The human mind is a very complex and interesting part of our bodies. It can be a huge help to us but it also has the potential to harm us. I’m halfway through the book and am learning so much about how the brain can help our aging selves. If we use our brain correctly, it can actually be a big factor in keeping us younger than our actual number of years.

The book, Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age, was written by Jo Ann Jenkins who, at very young age, became the CEO of AARP. Jo Ann said she wrote the book, “because I believe there is a bigger conversation to be had — focused not on just the historic burdens but also on the potential historic benefits of living longer.”

She goes on to say we need to change our thinking and change the conversation about what it means to get older. Our minds and actions should be not about aging. Our lives can be lived feeling much younger and doing so much more than people several generations ago could or would do.

She makes the point that, “Science is making longer lives possible, and we’re just now beginning to realize the opportunities those longer lives offer. People are reinventing work, searching for purpose, embracing technology, and opening themselves up to new experiences like never before.”

As we age, we really need to focus on our health, our wealth, and really work hard to develop a very good sense of our purpose at a middle age or older. That can extend your life in a big way.

Jo Ann preaches how life enhancing it is to think like a younger person, emphasizing that we should try new things, take chances, and not fear aging. She also tells the wonderful story of a 79-year-old lady, Ernestine Shepherd. “With her flat stomach, toned arms, and excellent health, you’d never guess this female bodybuilder is seventy- nine years old… following the death of her sister and many health problems and depression, Shepherd set a goal to get in shape. She was declared the World’s Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010.”

Wow, what a great story. That should motivate all of us to go after our big goals no matter how tough they may seem and put our fears aside. Yep, it can all be done in your mind, in our great brains.

I do want to talk more about this subject of aging and some of the other things our brain can do to help us stay young, active, and productive. So, next week’s blog I will continue down this road.

You Don’t Have to Age

April 18, 2021 by  
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 Source: New York Times, Oct. 31, 2006 Photo Jeff Miller, U of Wisconsin

I am only 35 months away from hitting the big 80, so I have been thinking about age a lot lately. That’s why I’m pulling from an old blog post of mine, one that hits close to home and that I would like to share with you.

Have you ever wondered what you will look like when you reach age 85? More and more Americans are living that long and longer. Statistics from the Society of Actuaries and the Annuity for the year 2000, shows that a male, aged 65, has a 50% chance of living beyond age 85 and a 25% chance of living beyond age 92. A female, aged 65, has a 50% chance of living beyond age 88 and a 25% chance of living beyond age 94. But what will make the difference for any one of us?

There is some evidence to show that calorie restriction and resveratrol could make the difference between which side of those life expectancy statistics you’re on.

Above you see two rhesus monkeys. The one on the left eats a calorie-restricted diet, while the monkey on the right eats a normal diet. Both monkeys are in their late 20s. Their normal lifespan is 30-40 years. As you can see, they look to be in quite different conditions. Here is how the New York Times made note of their differences:

At 28, getting on for a rhesus monkey, Matthias is losing his hair, lugging a paunch and getting a face full of wrinkles.

Yet in the cage next to his, gleefully hooting at strangers, one of Matthias’s lab mates, Rudy, is the picture of monkey vitality, although he is slightly older. Thin and feisty, Rudy stops grooming his smooth coat just long enough to pirouette toward a proffered piece of fruit.

Tempted with the same treat, Matthias rises wearily and extends a frail hand. “You can really see the difference,” said Dr. Ricki Colman, an associate scientist at the center who cares for the animals.

The scientists believe it’s the restricted calories that made the difference between the condition of the monkeys but have found that resveratrol, a molecular mimic of calorie restriction, may deliver the same benefits without food deprivation. There is more human testing to be done, but researchers themselves became so convinced of this they begun taking resveratrol pills themselves.

How does resveratrol work? Studies have shown that Resveratrol turns old cells into young cells. Old cells typically accumulate extra copies of ribosomal DNA that clog the cell and impair cellular function. Resveratrol reverses this.

I think it may also be important to note that recent studies indicate that resveratrol works best when taken in small amounts. There are varying opinions on how much that actually is, however. From 200mg a day or less to simply drinking a glass of red wine has been suggested. The idea is that more is not better with this compound. Too much can actually block the mechanisms that allow resveratrol to help keep up young.

So, if you want to look good as you age, you can go on a nutritionally smart restricted calorie diet or try resveratrol or a little of both. Also, don’t forget to keep having novel experiences, make and reach for big goals, stay social, and exercise. We all get older every year, but there is no reason to age faster than necessary.

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