Put on Your Best Face

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This isn’t really about putting on makeup.

When my mom puts on makeup these days I tell her she is beautiful just like she is.

My grandson once told me after I put on makeup that he liked the old grandma better.

Then again it might be about putting on makeup. I have friends who won’t go in public without makeup. They want to put on their best face. Maybe my mom does to.

I am really talking about doing what makes you feel like you are still young. I guess it is mindset in action.

For me, using my True Science skin care regimen and putting a little eyebrow pencil on my nearly nonexistent eyebrows gives me confidence to go into public.

There are other things that my fellow baby boomers may do to keep that young feeling as long as possible.

If age bothers you understate it. Jack Benny celebrated his 39th birthday 41 times. That probably works better than what someone told me recently. He had been telling folks he was in his 50’s. That worked well; until he turned 60. I’m not sure what he is telling folks now.

Avoid doing things that you associate with aging. I have stubbornly refused to join the senior center. It isn’t the cost because it is cheap. But joining in my mind would make me old.

You don’t even have to be rational about it, because I couldn’t wait to get senior discounts. I started asking for them before I reached the golden age (which varies from business to business). More than once when I was told I didn’t qualify because I was too young, I accused them of age discrimination.

I work at not walking and standing like an old person. It doesn’t matter if I look young to you. What matters is that I don’t feel so old. So I suppose it is mostly mindset. But I think that my posture is a little better than it would be if I didn’t play this mind game.

I don’t let my age keep me from trying new things. Sometimes the little voice in my head tells me that I should be careful and I tell the little voice to mind its own business.

I know that many people think that way. My aunt went for a ride on a Harley Davidson to celebrate her 90th birthday. George H. W. Bush, and others, jump out of perfectly good airplanes.

Which allows me to insert this caveat. You don’t have to do things you don’t want to do, to prove you are young.

Putting on your best face means doing the things that make you feel glad to have survived life this far, no matter how many birthdays you have celebrated. You can never start too soon.

 

 

Mindset

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Back when I turned 21, I had reached the legal age for everything that was legal. I thought to myself, there isn’t really anything else to age for so why not stay 21.

It was a silly notion. But I think I was somewhat serious.

As the years passed I kept that mindset. I wasn’t counting the years past twenty-one. I was twenty-one.

Occasionally, my body would rudely remind me that several years had passed but I would ignore the thought. I still thought of myself as twenty-one. I embraced a youthful mindset. I snatched at quotes that verbalized that line of thinking.

Margaret Meade said, “I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.”

I am pretty sure I didn’t really fool anyone. But me. I somehow have believed that I am younger. I know this is so because occasionally I am shocked when I catch my reflection in the mirror.

But I am convinced that I am happier and maybe a bit younger because of this mindset.

I think there are other attitudes that can keep us youngish. Gratitude for instance. Gratitude lifts our spirits. How can that not keep us young?

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. G.K. Chesterton

Aging well truly is never about longevity but about the amount of life we put in our years.

If you count all your assets, you always show a profit. Robert Quillen

Generosity is another youth inspiring mindset. I have observed how much people enjoy giving by their reluctance to receive. We would much rather give than receive wouldn’t we? As we are blessed by our giving to others the pains of aging fade.

The heart that gives, gathers. Tao Te Ching

I am not sure that one can go back and reclaim youth by deciding to be twenty-one again. But I am sure that it is never too late to grow in gratitude and generosity.

[Want an opportunity to be generous and maybe slow down your aging? Take me up on my request for a funny birthday card and a donation to the Arkansas Valley Pregnancy Center. Send me the card and the check to AVPC at AVPC, POB 249, La Junta, CO  81050. There are prizes for generous gifts of $25, $50, $70 and $100. You’ll be grateful you did.]

Protect Your Genes

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My siblings and I feel pretty good about our genes. We come from healthy folks who lived longer than the average life expectancy. There are healthier families but we feel fortunate to have pretty good genes.

If your family history doesn’t feel as promising, it may feel like a waste of time to talk about genes. But I suspect that the playing field is much more level than my talk of good genes supposes.

As I understand it, each one of us has an ongoing attack on our DNA.

Oxidative stress is just beginning to be understood and I am not a scientist. But I know how to read. So do you. Go to www.pubmed.gov. In the search bar type oxidative stress. You will see a listing of almost 160,000 peer reviewed studies on oxidative stress. Biomedical scientists are studying it – a lot. The first study was published in 1960.

 Almost 25,000 studies come up with the search for oxidative stress and DNA. Those studies talk about things like membrane integrity and DNA fragmentation. That sounds bad.

Diseases of aging have a link with oxidative stress that scientists around the world are studying. Diseases like diabetes mellitus, heart disease, cancer. They don’t understand it all yet. But each year they learn more. And oxidative stress is one of the usual suspects in disease.

Advertisers seem to have picked up on this early on. Hence we have all sorts of products with antioxidants. Never mind that studies indicate that antioxidants like vitamin C and E aren’t good enough to do the job – they may even add to the problem.

 I am pretty sure soft drinks with antioxidants added are not healthy. But there is a science that is learning more about the role of nutrition in our gene health – nutrigenomics.

Nutrigenomics is new. Pubmed’s first study is listed in 2001.  Only 1356 studies have been published to date.

Amazon.com has 152 books on nutrigenomics listed. (The first one listed is on canine nutrigenomics.)

I wouldn’t know all this except that God placed me in a company that seeks to lead in the realm of nutrigenomics. [Full disclosure: I am a distributor for LifeVantage. Here is where you can read more: http://connie.lifevantage.com/ ]

Since 2010, I have taken Protandim Nrf2 Synergizer, proven to reduce oxidative stress. I recently started taking Protandim Nrf1 Synergizer, designed to help the body make more mitochondria and protect the ones I have.

There are no guarantees. But the nineteen studies on Protandim have convinced me that this is my first line of defense against oxidative stress and the best way to protect my genes.

[This blog is one of ten in which I share what I believe to be key factors in aging well. The first in the series was Laugh Lots. I asked for funny birthday cards and donations to the Arkansas Valley Pregnancy Center, POB 249, La Junta CO 81050. There are rewards for generous donations of $25, $50, $70 and $100. See Laugh Lots for details.]

Conard Genes

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If you want to live to a ripe old age with your health intact it helps to have good genes.

This is almost always a part of the discussion when my siblings and I talk about aging. Of course it is something we can’t take credit for but we still feel good about the fact that we have some pretty good genes.

My mother is 91 and is still relatively healthy and sound enough of mind that she knows that her memory is not reliable. All of her sisters lived to be in their 90’s. They all had Conard genes.

We recognize that our heredity is working in our favor. My sisters and I might be just a bit extra secure because the Conard women (my mom and her sisters) lived longer than the Conard men (my mom’s brothers).

So when we are congratulating Mom on her longevity and good health, we say she has Conard genes.

But the truth is that none of us seems to be as healthy as our mother. After all my siblings and I have Conard genes and Garrett genes. And the Garrett genes don’t seem to carry with them the longevity that Conard genes do.

And then there is the apparent disintegration of genes in general. Pollution, radiation, consumption of nonfood edible products and disease have waged a battle on a cellular level of the human genome in general and our Conard genes specifically.

But then with the exception of the nonfood edible products it is pretty much out of our hands anyway.

Still, if you want to live long and healthy try to have good genes.

[This is blog is one of ten in which I share what I believe to be key factors in aging well. The first in the series was Laugh Lots. I asked for funny birthday cards and donations to the Arkansas Valley Pregnancy Center, POB 249, La Junta CO 81050. There are rewards for generous donations of $25, $50, $70 and $100. See Laugh Lots for details.]

 

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

That is the first line in the book, In Defense of Food, by Michel Pollen.

Eat food. He reminds us that today there “are thousands of other edible foodlike substances” available.

He tells us that if we are concerned about our health we should avoid food products making health claims.

I recommend this book. I saw the PBS special by the same name. Lot’s of good common sense advice. We know our Western Diet is killing us. Michael Pollen lays out a reasonable plan for healthy eating.

What resonates with me about Michael Pollen’s approach is that he is not extreme. Extreme measures are hard to maintain. And to be healthy our good habits have to be consistent.

Healthy eating is a key in aging well. I am not sure I reached seventy because of my eating. Rather, I have reached seventy in spite of my eating habits. But am slowly adjusting towards an approach that resembles Michael Pollen’s philosophy.

Click here to get In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollen.

Laugh Lots

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The Bible says that a merry heart does good like medicine. The Reader’s Digest borrowed that for one of their monthly features of reader anecdotes, Laughter Is the Best Medicine.

Will laughing, enjoying life, really help us live longer? There are lots of studies that indicate it does.

Maybe, it just makes life’s bitter pills go down more easily and that makes the days and years of our life worth living.

I enjoy a good joke, a funny situation, and a humorous birthday card.

In fact that is what I really want for my birthday. But the fact is most people don’t send cards and when they do they are flowers and lace and poetry.

Will you send me a birthday card? I mean a funny birthday card. I am turning seventy. I need a merry heart – I need medicine.

I don’t give out my address.

That’s where the Arkansas Valley Pregnancy Center comes in. They are willing to let me use their P.O. Box address.

But I am loathe to take advantage of them and desirous to bless families in our community through their ministry.

So, will you send me a funny birthday card and send the Arkansas Valley Pregnancy Center a donation?

Here’s what I will do if you send a really generous donation:

  • Send $25 or more and I will give you a copy of Deliver Me, a compilation of pregnancy center stories – two of them from our Center. I have about 35 books; so this offer is to the first 35 donations of $25 or more.
  • Send $50 or more and I will give you Deliver Me and copy of my book Jubilee. There were only 200 made and I am down to 17. Each book cover is unique and different. Again this offer is while the supply of books lasts.
  • Send $70 or more and I will give you the two books, while supplies last, plus lunch at the Pregnancy Center with Executive Director Judi Cole and Laura Hicks and me. Judi can give you an update on what is happening currently and her vision for the future. Laura and I can share some of the history of what God has done.
  • Send $100 or more and I will give you the above incentives plus a ticket to the OJC Humanities Center, November 10th, to hear Ryan Dobson speak.

So send me a humorous birthday card with your most generous donation to:

Connie Suarez
c/o Arkansas Valley Pregnancy Center
P.O. Box 249
La Junta, CO 81050

Countdown to Seventy

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I am still adjusting to the idea that my age will be seventy in a few short days.

I didn’t expect to turn 30 or maybe even 20. So how did I get here on the threshold of old?

And that begs the question, is seventy old?

And, more importantly, how does one age well? How do we get the most out of the life God has given us?

As I approach the big day, I am going to share some thoughts on aging. I am old enough to know that I don’t have all the answers. I welcome your disagreement or affirmation.

[Life (at least as we perceive it) is unscripted. I keep writing a script, of course, for my life. And The Author of my life edits. This blog has not gone as I planned it. Technical difficulties have almost prevailed. But I will get this blog underway today and there will be more blogs to follow.]