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Are you wondering where I’ve been for the last several weeks? Maybe not. In this era of email and information overload, you probably didn’t even notice I’d gone missing!  If you’re remotely interested, I was preparing for, enjoying, and recovering from a Big Birthday – a really big one. The one where most people retire (which I’m not) and go on Medicare (which I did).  Yep. I’m now 65.

To celebrate this milestone, my sweetie and I – along with my son and daughter-in-law — took a trip to Europe. Our stops included some of my favorite cities, including London, Paris, Rome, and Venice. I’m still thinking it was all a beautiful dream! There was lots of planning and preparation, not to mention the trip itself, which was fun, inspiring, and memorable.

Then, upon our return, came the inevitable jet lag and adrenal letdown.

I’m finally caught up on sleep and getting back to “normal.”  Actually a “new normal.”  I feel different, but in a good way.

With that, here’s an important question:

How do you stay (or plan to stay) “young?”  And by that, I mean how do you plan to stay healthy, active, and vibrant and eke the most out of your time here on earth?  Have you thought about this?  As you can imagine, it’s been on my mind.

Here are my answers (to date):

  1. Get and stay intentionally connected. If you’ve read or heard anything about the 80-year Harvard Study of Adult Development, you know that nurturing and enjoying quality relationships is THE #1 secret to a long, healthy, happy, satisfying, and vibrant life. This is true whether you are an introvert, extrovert, ambivert, shy, or in any way challenged with socializing. It’s also true no matter what your age. We humans need community to thrive, and we are hardwired to connect. Somehow in recent decades we’ve lost our way here. Time to change that!
  2. “Don’t let the old man (or lady) in.”  These are the words of Clint Eastwood, who is currently 93 years old. Eastwood has had an amazing life and career and is probably the hottest 93 year old on the planet. He was 90 when he did his most recent movie in 2021. Per Eastwood, age is just a number and you can’t give in to the nonsense that life is “over” at this age or that age. Or that you are too old to [fill in the blank]. And for Pete’s sake, stop grumbling like an old coot. If you’re blessed to keep living, keep doing whatever you enjoy doing for as long as you can. Try new things, too.
  3. Stay curious. I was blessed to have parents who were avid readers. They also travelled when they could, had hobbies and interests, and continually made and got together with new friends (while also keeping in touch with the old). They were continually curious. So, as a result of my DNA or their good example, I’m curious, too. What a blessing!  We stop being “young” when we stop being interested.
  4. Keep moving. I’ve given up my exciting (and somewhat brief) stint as a triathlete and distance cycler. (That was in my 50s). But I still walk a couple of miles most mornings and get to the gym several times a week to do weights, cardio, stretching, and spine strengthening. What’s more, I enjoy and am continually inspired and amused by my gym pals. There’s that social factor again.
  5. Embrace the benefits of age. Okay, so I can no longer wear a Size 4. Or a 6 for that matter. I have more wrinkles than I had 10 years ago.  And my bedtime is that of a second grader. But I tell you what: I keep discovering new gifts that come with this stage of life. For example, there are A LOT of things I no longer care or worry about (e.g., designer brand anything, going to the latest trendy restaurants, having my home renovated so it’s totally “up-to-date,” and for sure anything to do with the Kardashians). I’m also cherishing many fun and active friendships that have spanned decades and am having juicy phone conversations with these folks almost every afternoon. Conversely, I’m also not afraid to strike up random conversations with total strangers. As a result, I have met some extremely interesting and accomplished people who continue to enrich my view of the world.

I’m sure this list will keep growing!  What about you?  What wisdom, gifts, and strategies are you embracing and enjoying with each birthday?  I’m curious and interested!  Meanwhile…

If you’re ready to sharpen your conversation and connection skills so you can build relationships that help keep you young and vibrant, please check out my books, The Intentional Networker and More Than Just Talk: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Enjoy Better Conversations. Both are award-winners, fun to read, and available on online book retailer sites as well as at BookPeople in Austin. Most importantly, both are filled with strategies and tips for helping you connect with greater authenticity, ease, graciousness, and confidence.

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