Patient Daily Living

Is 85 The New 65?

By Al Weatherhead

I’ll begin by stating an absolute truth: Age is a state of mind.

I’ll begin by stating an absolute truth: Age is a state of mind.

You may dismiss my declaration as a cliché, but I’m here to tell you that it’s an invaluable secret. What’s more, if you embrace the wisdom at its core by practicing my approach to dealing with life’s trials and tribulations, you’ll discover a personal fountain of youth that will provide you with the physical, spiritual and emotional energy to experience the world with a child’s wonder and delight.

Al Weatherhead Swimming

It may sound like a lot to promise, especially if you’re currently in the grip of a serious and chronic illness, but as readers of my book, THE POWER OF ADVERSITY: Tough Times Can Make Your Stronger, Wiser, and Better, know, I too have struggled to conquer serious illness and regain my youthful vigor.

I’ve endured – and surmounted – terrible arthritis, serious heart disease and major depression. What’s more I’m a recovering alcoholic. Today, at age 84, I’m healthy, and happily married to the woman of my dreams, a proud father and grandfather, CEO of a multi-million dollar company and a thoughtful philanthropist.

I assure you that the rules I share with you today on how to stay young at heart and in mind by harnessing the power of adversity have stood the test of time. In fact they’ve helped me beat Father Time and stay young…and they can do the same for you!

Rule #1 Attitude And The Mind: The Power Of Positive Imagery

The number one factor to maintaining your youth is to develop a youthful perspective by keeping a positive mindset. The mind, overwhelmed by fear, can be like a drop of mercury on a table, slithering and breaking into wildly evasive squirts and pieces. On the other hand, the mind when positively rooted in a deep passion for life, is more certain and powerful than the forces which rotate the earth.

You will go a long way toward overcoming your adversities that do so much to age you when you avail yourself of the power of positive thinking. I know this to be true because it is that same power that enabled me to control my alcoholism, beat arthritis and accomplish what was once considered impossible: total reversal of heart disease.

Start now to put positive imagery to work for you. One powerful technique to help you do so that I elaborate upon in my book is to not think when facing a life-challenge: “I have to do it.” Instead, think: “I have it to do.” This will help you take control of your adversity – and your life.

You see, staying young is all about choice. So choose to be young – or restore your youth – by thinking positively with the right imagery. Decide now to regain the healing optimism we all once had as infants learning to walk, when we took our first albeit wobbly but determined steps into our bright futures!

Rule #2 Meditation: The Art Of Letting Go

Practicing meditation is the way to create and sustain your positive mindset. Most of the time, our heads are filled with an endless loop of the same thoughts formed over our lives. They drive us to distraction and often plunge us into anxiety. This mental stress and strain becomes physical stress, which greatly contributes to our aging.

Meditation helps alleviate mental stress, short-circuiting the aging process. Far from being a mystical art, meditation is as down to earth and results-oriented as physical exercise. There’s lot of information available on different ways to meditate. Do a bit of web surfing or browse the shelves of your local bookstore to find a method that feels right for you. I meditate in the pool, by concentrating on my breathing while swimming laps.

Rule #3 Communication: Articulating The Speech Of The Heart

The poet W.B. Yeats described prayer as the “inarticulate speech of the heart.” Our youthful goal is to articulate the heart’s thoughts and feelings, to help us revitalize our spirits, reconnect with others and replenish our youth. It was my rheumatoid arthritis that shoved me stumbling along the first few steps of the communication path. Before that bout of suffering, I had barricaded myself from the world. As I struggled with the relentless pain, depression and a lack of certainty about the future, I was granted the gift of a lifetime: The opportunity to relearn how to trust others. I also relearned that trying to get through life alone wears away one’s youth, both inside and out. Reaching out to others and accepting their reaching out to you will go a long way to help you stay young.

You know, at my age, the world would probably expect me to dodder about reminiscing about my “better days.” But for me, that could never be. I still revel in going to my office each day at Weatherchem, the best plastics closure company in America, to chat with my employees and feel the surge of human connection. I also look forward to:

  • Opening a letter from one of the many philanthropic causes I support, experiencing the sweetness of knowing I am making a positive difference in the world and longing to do more.
  • Swimming laps in the pool, scudding through the water like a cloud through the blue sky as I meditate on the miracle and mantra of my breathing.
  • And ending each day talking to my beloved wife, Celia, exchanging words and touches, sharing all that has passed between us and anticipating all that is yet to come.
  • You, too, can recharge and replenish your body, mind and spirit. Take the first steps to maximize your life right now by following these powerful and liberating rules to stay forever young!