I Learned 75% Of The
Keys To Successful Aging In One Brief Encounter
I was on a bicycle-training ride this morning in a local park
that I often utilize for that purpose when I spotted an elderly couple
walking. I noticed that the man
sported a Marine Corps cap and as I passed them, I said something about the
Marine Corps. He responded with
the words, “World War II,” which intrigued me in that I always consider it a
special honor and privilege to meet one of the ever-diminishing group of Second
World War veterans.
I swung around and stopped to engage them in
conversation. He was quite tall
and stood ramrod straight, and his walking mate who turned out to be his wife
of 66 years, held his arm. We had a rather fascinating chat ranging from family
to his experiences fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. As he related his stories, his wife
lovingly watched his face with a permanent smile etched upon hers. I noted that he was wearing a brace on
one knee and asked him about it.
He indicated that he and his wife go on daily long walks and his knee is
fine as long as he kept moving. He
mentioned that he was a frequent volunteer at the local VA hospital. Throughout the conversation, I noted
that they both often smiled and they were incredibly upbeat in their attitude.
The man was 88 years old and could have easily passed for 10
years younger. I wished them well
and said goodbye to them, and as I rode away I realized that I was taking away
more than just a long lasting, wide smile from that wonderful meeting. I’ve read a few books that purport to
reveal the secrets of successful aging, and as I thought about my encounter
with the couple I realized that they had just revealed 75% of the secrets to
To define my terms, I define successful aging as not only
enjoying good longevity, but also enjoying “quality,” active longevity. We all know that genetics, nutrition
and good medical care are part of the aging matrix. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about our genetics,
and frankly the latter two points should be no brainers!
However, here are the keys to successful aging revealed to
me from my conversation:
- Exercise regularly and stay Active
- Have a positive attitude and smile often
- Have a loving, long term, monogamous
Rumor has it that the Grim Reaper has a difficult time
dealing with moving targets so keep moving!