What can a very elderly person do in terms of delaying further aging?
I am 89 and so healthy that my doctor says I won’t die until somebody shoots me, which in today’s corrupt society is a distinct possibility, if not a probability. Nevertheless, I still behave as if I am immortal, which could be the ultimate in optimism. I shop at Sam’s Club, make dates for lunch and cocktails a month or two down the road, am writing two new books and reading three more and have just ordered eight more from a favorite bookseller, welcome my significant other on Friday eve for a weekend of playful pleasures, buy wine by the case, and just signed contracts for a new bath and surround sound system. I am convinced that happiness at any age is a hot shower and a full wine rack accompanied by warm relationships to enjoy it, and happiness will keep me young.
I also have lived by two related guidelines:
1. Stay out of the medical system by substituting exercise and diet for pharmaceuticals whenever possible. High blood pressure and cholesterol are good examples, as is obesity. Before you disagree, I know that and exercise and diet are not cures for all ills or for all people. An example: About thirty years ago my cholesterol rose and my doctor suggested aerobics and a diet of chicken and vegetables. In six weeks my cholesterol dropped to below recommended, where it remains today.
2. Stay out of the legal profession by living ethically and lawfully. If you do, your health will improve by removing or lowering stress. You will sleep better, be healthier, and stay out of jail.
An example: I was editing a book written by a difficult author who was not keeping his word to revise his text as I suggested, and the stress was keeping me awake at night and ruining my sunny disposition. I awoke one night around two, stared at the ceiling and said to myself that this isn’t worth the stress; my health is more important than any book short of the Bible. I could have sued him for non-compliance with our agreement. Instead, I walked to my office and politely resigned via email, losing a considerable fee. I am blessed to have never heard from him again.
BTW, I demonstrate the power of these common-sense principles in my book Divorce Can Be Such Sweet Sorrow. I wrote it for people contemplating or in the midst of divorce proceedings, but its advice applies to everyone.