Five Ways to Fight for a Youthful Spirit

I’ve always been a fan of both the face and the physique of actor Rob Lowe. Sigh.  However, after his recent interview with Oprah, I must admit to becoming a fan of how he thinks.

Knowing he was 47 years old, Oprah asked Lowe if he was facing the same difficulties as actresses as they approached middle age working within an industry that was so youth-obsessed. Lowe replied that while he couldn’t say for sure; he did know that he wanted to remain young in spirit. He went on to explain that a youthful spirit meant approaching every day as if it were a fight.

While some may not have thought it to be an especially profound comment, it resonated with me and got the wheels turning. I realized it isn’t just a case of being wired genetically to live longer. Instead, it is as much about aging well. Forget about aging gracefully, we do need to fight if we want to stay young in body, mind, and spirit.

But, how do we do that?

First off, it goes without saying that we need to stay physically active.  Move it or lose it the experts say.  Since I heard Lowe frame aging as a fight, I’ve stepped up my workouts from three to five per week. While I’m not sure it will slow down the aging process, I do know I feel better and stronger, and sleep like a baby.

I also figured that aging well requires preventive maintenance so I booked myself for an overdue physical check up.  While it confirmed I’m pretty healthy, I also had a sketchy looking mole removed and learned I have an underactive thyroid.  Easily treated, it also may explain why despite a healthy lifestyle, I haven’t been able to lose weight. And, here I thought it was just my strong, healthy Ukrainian metabolism.

I also booked a dental check up and subsequently helped pay for a good chunk of my dentist’s next vacation.

Aging well also means finding something you can be passionate about. In other words, know what makes you happy. Joy and contentment are the result of activities and experiences. My guess is that for most of us it will need to involve some kind of meaningful work or volunteering. I’ve also learned the surest way to feel good about life is to do something for someone else.

Relationships are also key. Consider all the different types of relationships in your life - friends, parents, siblings, spouse, children, colleagues, even pets. Hanging out with people you like and who make you feel good about yourself will be critical even if it means making changes or finding new relationships. My mother and father split up after being married 47 years. While some questioned the break up, both realized their values and interests were simply too different to enjoy being together. 

A colleague of mine also spoke recently about the need to keep growing as we age. Our brains never lose the ability to grow so it’s never too late to cultivate our curiosity, open mindedness, and creativity. That’s one reason why I golfed with my husband this week. It challenged both my brain and my body. While still not sure it’s my thing, it definitely is something my husband enjoys, and gave us both exercise and social time together.

So there you go. Five things anyone can do to fight the aging process. Stay active, get regular physical and dental checkups, find something you can be passionate about, cultivate your relationships, and keep growing and challenging yourself.

Posted on 06-27-11


Its funny…. I recently (in my old age!) took up female full contact tackle football.  People think I’m crazy but the whole point was the challenge - physically and mentally - and the interest in meeting a new community of people.  You do only live once so make sure its an adventure!  Great blog, Brenda!

•Posted by Janet Naclia  on  06/28/11  at  10:22 AM

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