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Healthy to 100: Aging with Vigor and Grace

Your Travel Guide Through Life

When I was 17, I thought how absolutely devastating it must be to grow old — 25, for example — and not to dance rock & roll every night. By 25, of course, I was a mother (probably as a direct consequence of having danced rock & roll every night…) and had developed a different set of interests and values. I had made new friends and had a new life. Rock & roll was still fun — but only occasionally.

Are you afraid of getting older? In a society that puts so much emphasis on youth, getting older can be scary. Hitting 30 or 40, or any other round number that you do not even want to whisper to yourself, can pull the rug out from under your feet. You feel as if you are losing your balance — sometimes physically as well as emotionally — and you have to find a new center for each new stage of life: children leaving home, the end of a career, the loss of some physical function, a change in your relationship with your spouse.

But many of those who have visited that scary place assure us that getting older can be blissful — especially if you consider the alternative. I was a sickly child who nearly died of tuberculosis. Now, as a physician, mother and grandmother, I truly know how wonderful it is to have many birthdays behind me! I have learned to savor every moment and every day of living. I learned that you have to be fully alive until you are dead, or life is wasted. Getting older is only frightening if you think that being 17 is the pinnacle of life. It is not.

Think of this book as your travel guide through the adventure of getting older.