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David's Column

The first week of September brings with it the vestigial vibes of that youthfully momentous moment, the end of summer and, with it, back-to-school energy. For us no longer wondering if we have the correct mix of pencils and notebooks, it brings on a certain drive towards accomplishing our year-end goals. It is a time to focus because before we know it the holidays will be upon us.  This is a time to consider, plan, and put into action whatever it is that is important to us now. As we have all learned, time is the one resource that is not recoverable. Let's make some memories, add some joy, and see how we can contribute out in the world.

Speaking of back to school, the AGEIST Book Club selections this month are up. Our own Gail Forrest says, "When Breath Becomes Airis fabulous...a must read." Pick one of this month's selections and let us know what you think in the comments.  And for all you Gail Forrest fans, we have a new category in the AGEIST site menu, "Humor", which is all Gail. Check it out; Gail is the bomb.

My goals for the next few months include getting my feet and ankles back on track. It seems that years of wearing the wrong (too much cushion and support) shoes have caused my precious feet to become exceptionally lazy. Solution? Wearing sock feet in the gym and going barefoot as much as I can. I also want to get back into dinner entertainment mode. After a pandemic, home renovations and considerable travel, we are ready to level up our hosting game. Chicken tagine, anyone? Lastly, I am determined to get back to seeing a real movie in a real movie theater every weekend. TV just doesn't do it for me, but the big screen...oh, that works.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week. 

Onward and upward,
David

The AGEIST team is taking a break this week to decompress, revitalize and prepare for the fall season. Phew, it's been an 8 month sprint and we all need a breather. Back in 1 week, refreshed and ready for action. Follow along on Instagram if you like: @weareageist

Wishing everyone a wonderful week. 

Onward and upward,
David

Life around here has become a blur of the day to day. Which is not a complaint, as I am endlessly energized by my days, and can't wait to wake up to another one.  I have an awesome gig. But downstates lead to more engaged upstates. One of my current fav downstate mindless entertainments is my careful observation of berry feasting season for the small green birds that inhabit the area. It's my own private Wild Kingdom moment. I recommend it.

This next week is vacation, during which I will not be reading productivity books, science abstracts, news dispatches, interviewing, recording, writing or otherwise engaging in anything productive. There will be eating, there will be hiking, there will of course be gym time, there will be music, there will be art, and there will be the reading of some breezy summer fiction. 

Next week's newsletter will go out as scheduled, but it will be written tomorrow and prepped to go next week.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week. You deserve it.

Onward and upward,
David

Last week marked the end of a 12-week physical conditioning program I had been experimenting with. To celebrate, there were no pies, cakes, or pizza fueled feeding frenzies; nope, instead, I opted to check out something known as contrast therapy. That is a rather science-sounding name for getting very hot then very cold, something the Nordics have been doing for millennia. The routine is to sit in a 190-degree sauna for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off in a warm bucket shower, then slide into a tub of cold circulating water of your choice; either 40 or a less biting 50 degrees. The entire experience was unexpectedly social. Who knew this is where one meets the hip crowd of Utah? As far as the bodily effect, circulating cold water is intense, a whole level up of sensation from still water or even from a minus 220 cryotherapy tank. The 40-degree version after a couple of minutes starts to really sting the extremities. But all in all, it was enjoyable, and I would certainly do it again, as the after effect on the joints, muscles and of course, the awesome shock hormone infusion was worth it

In other personal news, today was my once every ten years colonoscopy day. Party time! The most unpleasant part of the experience was the prep, which at its most basic involves starvation in combination with massive, truly massive, quantities of laxatives. There is some negotiation possible in the diet part of the ordeal. For reasons I fail to comprehend, the preferred top-of-mind food they all recommend is popsicles. WTF? Starve someone and then give them a frozen sugar bar and expect a good outcome? Hello glucose spikes, blood sugar crash, and personal misery. Once I raised a proper fit, it turns out I could eat plain yogurt, bone broth, and even scrambled eggs the morning of the day before. Still, coming from around 2700 calorie/day to maybe a 700 calorie day when combined with giant doses of laxatives was gross but at least temporary. Always good to ask; things are often much less dogmatic than they may seem. Outcome: my colon is wonderfully healthy. Phew.

Only one more week until vacation time. Getting properly hyped to visit a new place with some zero productivity time.

Onward and upward,
David

There are 3 weeks left of summer and let's get on the case with the summer fun list. Is there a band you have always wanted to see? A beach to visit? Some friends you have not seen in too long? Ask yourself: how many summers do you have left and what can you do to make this one memorable? Get out there and vacation hard, really hit it with some gusto, apply your imagination and energy to having a remarkably fun time. If you have vacation days coming and have not made plans, stop right here and do it. Nearest lake, nearest mountain, nearest whatever your vision of vacationing is.

We all plan for long, healthy lives, but the reality is that stuff happens, and usually without much warning. Yes, we have responsibilities, and one of them is to enjoy our lives. We were not put here to just endure. We are here to flourish, to dream big, and revel in life in all its joyous complexities. And in the spirit of walking the talk, I’ll be on the lam the last week of August visiting a new place and partaking in as much of the local fun stuff as I can manage. Bring it on.  

This Saturday the 13th of August at 9:30am PT / 12:30pm ET we will all be meeting on Leapfor a conversation with Sheri Radel Rosenberg about how our style changes over time. Download the Leap app and join us in this conversation. 

Any thoughts on Joan Didion and The White Album? Bring them to the AGEIST Book Club comments. Share the tea. 

This week we celebrate the publishing of Newsletter 300, and 7 years of publishing. We have come a very long way. Thank you all for your support. 

Onward and upward,
David

Isolation is tough, and it is an issue that the last few years have magnified. What if we don't feel particularly lonely — would meeting more people be a positive? Yes, unequivocably, we could all use more human connection. It is one of those things like air, or learning, that one can never have too much of. To meet and connect with new people is exciting, stimulating, and one of the hallmarks of the people we know who live well at any age. It is one of those 'more really is better' situations. 

Coming out of a pandemic, with travel still weird, we think it could be tremendous, especially if there were no barriers to entry — not geography, not cost, not anything — to have a way to meet and connect with others who read AGEIST.  We have wanted to do something like this for some time, to make more of a conversation with us and between all of you. There are the comment sections on the site and of course the legacy social media companies, but these both have issues. Since discovering this new social platform, we have found the conversation-oriented Leaphas solved so many of the negative issues that abound in places like Facebook and Twitter. We think Leap could be the ticket for real conversation and connection with people like us. It is zero risk; all you have to do is download the app and join us in conversation.

This coming Monday the 8th at 9:30am PT, as a start, we have arranged for Anissa Buckley, whom we profiled last week, to host a Leap chat on the topic of diet and menopause. If you are worried about weight gain, or have experienced weight gain, you will want to be here for this conversation. There are real reasons and real solutions that are rarely discussed, and on which Anissa is an expert. Our plan going forward is to have regular Leap chats on topics that we cover at AGEIST with experts we trust, all designed so that as many of you who wish to join will have a place to connect and discuss. This has been a long time coming, and we are very happy to have a place to connect. Looking forward to hearing from all of you on how you like it. 

Join me in this 30-minute interactive video conversation with Anissa where we can all discuss How should I change my diet during menopause? on Monday the 8th at 9:30am PT / 12:30pm ET following this link from your iPhone or iPad.

See you there,
David

We once did a survey and found that among people who read AGEIST, the fear of irrelevance exceeded that of dying. That’s right, the majority of us would rather be dead than be irrelevant. We spend a considerable amount of time here on the first part of that survey: staying alive. So let's spend a few minutes on what all of you have told us is even more important: relevance. What we are about to suggest may come off as some tough love to some of you, but we feel you can handle it. 

If you are in a social situation, and I mean with anyone, including your significant other, if you are telling some story that is more than a couple of years old, there is an excellent chance that you have told it before, and that the person on the receiving end is politely nodding their head, but is actually bored to tears. Don’t do it. Resist the urge to time travel back to some event decades ago. We have friends who do this, and yes, we also nod in acknowledgment, but internally we just feel sorry for them, as they are making themselves irrelevant. They are merely filling up space in a conversation to let people know they still exist but, in reality, they have effectively made themselves invisible. Don’t do it. Especially do not do this in a job interview, a date, or with people you just met. Resist the urge.

Now that we know what not to do, this is the solution: have new experiences, meet new people, intake new information, be modern, and be of your time. This is not the same as imitating youth; this is about us, with all of our years, continuing to expand our world.  It is not that hard. Compared to the effort one needs to put into staying alive and living healthily into advanced age, this is a cakewalk. Have a small new experience or adventure every week. Have a big one every month, and have a life-changing one every year. Get out of that comfort bubble that we all fall into. Make it a point to meet and interact with as many new people as you can. Burning Man? Pickleball with strangers? Circumnavigation of Ireland on a bike? Go see a new band play? Stay up really late in a foreign country? You can do this.

Alan Patricof, 87, who we profiled a few weeks ago, his whole life is oriented around meeting new people, learning new things, being as utterly modern as possible. Alan is relevant. Alan is one of the most interesting and least boring people I have ever met. The thing about interesting people is that other people want to be around them, which creates a virtuous circle of ongoing social interactions. Be the person that other people want to hang out with, learn from, and be inspired by. 

This may strike you as a lot of bother. We all have the absolute right to live our lives however we see fit. You will never have an argument from us about that. If, however, you are one of the ones who may feel that people are treating you as if you don’t matter, as if you are not worth listening to, the good news is that all that can change. 

Onward and upward,
David

If we want to experience the joy of moving our bodies through space, of playing with others, of creating something new, then perhaps we can spend more time consciously moving our bodies. Movement is life, everything that lives moves, and even plants have internal movement. This does not have to be some glum task that we feel internally scolded in order to undertake. It is what we make it and, being cogent beings, we can apply our magnificent brains to create delightful experiences moving our bodies. 

Thankfully, life is about more than ceaselessly planning our future wellness. We know people like that and, frankly, how boring. Let's engage with the full buffet of life, of which weekend loafing is an excellent amuse-bouche. Yes, just laying about, napping, totally disengaged from any even remotely productive activity is something to savor. If there is one thing I have learned in these past 7 years of AGEIST, it is the value of downtime. Not to the exclusion of fully engaging in life, oh no, but as a way to more fully engage. The greater the upstate the greater the need for the downstate.  More resting leads to more dancing. 

Most any biological function we can think of is about in and out, upstate and downstate. We are often driven to achieve, and this is a wonderful trait not to be diminished.  The drive to do better, to help others, to create is to be encouraged. We also need the converse, which includes vacations — not just a weekend, but real vacations. And of course afternoon naps, long, slow walks and maybe fishing, if that is your jam. 

These are the dog days of summer. Go for it. 

Onward and upward,
David

Every action we take, every interaction with another, has an effect. We matter. We all do. Whatever age, shape, color we are, we have agency in the world. We are not powerless. The simple act of smiling has an effect on another. Who knows what is happening with the person you just smiled at, and you don’t know how your smile will be interpreted but it has a power to influence. How we are perceived is somewhat within our control, as we are 50% of it; the other half is out of our control, and is actually not really our business. Our part is us, doing our best every day to be the best version we can of who we are. Sure, we will feel better for making an effort; just as important, and some would say more so, is that others will notice. The effect we have is like a pebble in a pond. The waves go out, the effect radiates from us. 

This is a responsibility, too. For us of a certain age carry with us leadership, as we are where the younger people will be at some point. They may behave dismissively, but they see us and they are learning. Fun fact: 42% of AGEISTreaders are under 50 and a quarter of them are under 30. Influence is not always about speaking to who you think you are, as others are listening. 

Onward and upward,
David

There are various levels of accomplishment in life: beginner, competent, master, virtuoso, and then genius. The master would be someone who is excellent at what they do, but they are playing by the rules of what they have been taught. This would be most of the people in the NBA, super athletes, far better than any of us could ever hope to be. Then there is the virtuoso, who is able to use masterful skills and then create and effortlessly innovate within them. Michael Jordan in the early 1990s, Joan Didion, Lady Gaga…people who astonish us. They seem to want to let us know that there is good, and then there is the beyond. See Prince playing While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with a dozen other incredible musicians, the way he looks at them then just takes off. He is letting them, and everyone else, know who is next level. Check out the look on their faces; it says everything. The virtuoso let loose. 

Then there are these genius moments, for which we give people a lifetime pass for whatever else they may do: Elton John's Yellow Brick Road, Amy Winehouse's Back in Black, Nick Cage in Leaving Las Vegas, or Jordan in any NBA final. They get a pass to do whatever else they want, however cringe-worthy it may be, because they had that one genius moment. It is so easy to tear down the great ones; we want them to be incredible 24/7 for the rest of time. They are humans, just like us, and we would be best served to appreciate the amazingly moving thing they did for the genius that it was, however transitory, probably never to be repeated.

For us more earth-bound humans, it is still important to aim high, to try to be the best version of ourselves that we can be right now. Not looking back at who we were, but who we are now. This is not a financial or professional quest, it is more in the realm of the divine. We are so lucky to be here, to have become the people that we are today, that to aim for anything less than the best of who we are is not just to disappoint ourselves, but all our teachers, all our mentors, all those who helped us along the way. We will fall short, absolutely, and as we do, we will learn from it if we can always look to what we can level up to, and how we can become a better version of who we are. This is how to play big, how we engage with life to the highest. How can we master the life of who we are; where are the opportunities to have our genius moments, in whatever role we may be at that moment? Life is an incredibly short experience. Let’s aim high, let's be the best we are, and show ourselves, those around us, and those younger than us what is possible. You deserve it.

Onward and upward,
David

 

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