Here’s an interview I did for the Australian internet magazine OverSixty on 11/03/2016:
The answers to your interview questions took longer than I expected, but I’ve taken the time to give this some thought. They’re great questions, and if you want any elaboration, just give my a shout.
Melody Teh: You said you walked into your 80th year feeling as alive and vital as ever. What’s your secret to aging positively?
It’s really no secret. It’s attitude, and the conviction that I have control over how I age. I’m doing a lot of research on this, and I’ve learned that researchers have identified the root causes of aging …and they’ve learned why some people are very successful in controlling the aging process. That’s what I’m giving my attention to.
Melody Teh: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about getting older, and particularly getting into your 80s?
It’s still popular to think that the genes we were born with will dictate how fast we’ll age and what diseases we’re likely to acquire during our lifetime. So, if our parents didn’t age well, we’re likely not to do well either. Medical researchers still can’t agree how much genetics influence the aging process, (if at all), but they do agree that other factors, such as environment, health habits and most of all, mental attitudes, have a much greater influence on just how well we’ll age.
Another misconception is that aging is a negative process. It’s negative (and frightening) only by choice. Many of us are rejoicing at the prospect of new challenges, new experiences and new wisdom. As I was approaching 80 I was as excited as a five year old kid approaching six. Really! Someone would ask my age and I’d say: “I’m 79 but I’ll be 80 very soon!”
Melody Teh: What are your top 5 things you think are essential for aging happily and healthily?
1. Loving your life, and of course that means loving yourself first. Being grateful and focusing on the love we have right now.
2. Confidence that we have control of how our life unfolds. Gained by doing the research that confirms our control of our health and well-being.
3. Supportive relationships. People close to us who support and acknowledge our health and well-being.
4. Focus on fitness …mental, physical, and spiritual. Making fitness our highest priority, because when we’re not 100%, we can become a burden to others …and that’s the last thing we want.
5. Financial security. Happiness is the absence of fear, and when we don’t feel financially secure, we feel fear. That will age us faster than anything else.
Melody Teh: What does the word senior mean to you?
I like the word “senior”. “A person of higher rank or standing than another, especially by virtue of longer service.” That’s the first dictionary definition, and that works well for me. It also means “older”, and that works well for me too. In fact, I take some pride in being the oldest one in almost any group.
Melody Teh: If you could change one thing for seniors, what would it be?
I’d like to see more respect for seniors in general, and especially for those aging with grace and health. Having them as role models would be helpful for all. My new role model is Tao Porchon-Lynch, an incredible woman at 98 years young.
Thanks Melody, for letting me do this.