“Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” -Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
Many years ago at the Mandara Spa in Cairo, Egypt, I spotted this quote in the tranquil reception area. The name Mandara comes from an ancient Sanskrit legend about the god’s quest for the elixir of immortality and eternal youth. In this legend, Mandara Giri represents a sacred mountain from which flows the water of life, a magical elixir with the power to keep you forever young.
Legends provide nothing to keep us young or help reverse the wear and tear on our bodies, but the attitude we hold about the process and our optimism in regard to our future does help in keeping us from aging in a less than stellar way. If we do it right, I mean take care of our bodies and mind, aging is something to be revered. I have friends who will not discuss their age and act as if the number signifies everything about them. On the other hand, perhaps I am too open about my near middle-age status, and since I have decided to allow my salt and pepper hair to make its debut I am becoming more in tune with aging backwards. I have observed numerous ways of handling life in the middle to later years. From my observations, I know people that eat a diet of whole foods and exercise frequently fare better than those that don’t. The most important is attitude and optimism. I am amazed when I watch some of my older friends creep out of their comfort zone to accomplish what most people would shy away from.
Earlier this year I attended a Latin dance social where my friend, who is in her mid-seventies, danced a solo performance to “Another One Bites the Dust”, by Queen. In costume, with props, she danced for the crowd, and I could not have been more happy to witness her check off another item on her bucket list. Turns out she had accomplished some amazing feats throughout her life, and luckily she didn’t sit back and let age stop her from fulfilling this dream.
I choose to look to my older, active friends for guidance in aging backwards. Aside from my observations, I follow what feels good to me. I know that a better diet that includes cleaner eating, less sugar, and more fruits and vegetables have improved my health. Staying active and incorporating a variety of activities helps me stay fit and flexible. The physical benefits are important, but what has helped me the most, over the last several years, has been my change in perspective when life gets hard.