The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Longevity
I met up with an old friend last night for a couple of beers. We spent half the time watching the Yankees game and the other half discussing our surgeries. This is what happens when boomers age.
We’re all aging and in the toxic environment we live in, shit can happen to us at any time. That’s why we need to be mindful of our choices while we’re aging. Sometimes random bad things happen, like getting hit by a bus, but uncontrollable events aside, we can get a firm grip on how we live and our destiny. Think about the folks you know who are approaching, or are already over fifty. Some look amazing and some look like your parents. Part of this is due to genes, but a lot of it has to do with their lifestyle choices and how they relate to their mind, body and spirit.
I married at fifty and become a father a few years later. As a result I quickly became increasingly mindful about how I was taking care of myself. I want to enjoy as many years as possible with my wife, who is sixteen years younger than me, and my son. And, I have no doubt that I can accomplish this if I do my research and adjust my lifestyle choices going forward. But it’s never that simple. Shit happens. Since I married and became a dad, I’ve had two robotic surgeries on my kidneys and contracted pneumonia. The good news is I have been deemed all clear on the kidney front, and through a deep Ayurvedic medical protocol I also reduced my body’s toxicity by one hundred percent. That means the chances of a recurrence are now even more miniscule than what my western doctors told me. Because of my research and introduction to eastern Ayurvedic medicine I made some changes. Among other things, I take lots of supplements, and overall I’ve gotten into better alignment with my mind, body, spirit, and my truth. Of course I’ll need to stay consistent and remain on this positive lifestyle path, but the benefits so far have been substantial and I feel great. Regardless of my chronological age, I’m a happy, healthy guy.
So what have I learned about aging better that can I share with the world of Guy’s Guys to help them live their very best life? I’ve done my homework, experienced a lot, and even stared into the abyss, so I’m confident I can add value to you if you consider some of the tips in what I’m calling The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Longevity. Here they are in no particular order. Drum roll please…
1. Manage your anger – This is a tough one, especially for me. I’m not the kind of Guy’s Guy who suffers fools lightly. The advertising industry where I worked for decades is filled with very intelligent and creative people, but it can also be a snake pit filled unnecessarily selfish, ego-driven behavior. Many people who work in advertising spend way too much of their time plotting to get ahead at any expense. On the creative side, you’ve got lots of brilliant people who come up with some incredible ideas, and most of them are fun to work with. But as in any business, you’ve also got to work with some major asswipes who, due to their fear-based behavior, act like they are far more talented than they really are. And because the entire industry is predicated on the production and sale of actual products, it’s all too easy for people to fly off the handle when they get frustrated or angry. There’s a lot of stress, and over time it takes its toll. All of the uncertainty about losing an account, which always happens, makes it a highly stressful industry that can chew people up and spit them out quickly. That’s one of the reasons that advertising remains a young-skewing business.
I’ve always believed in focusing on helping clients position and sell their products. That’s it. I become president of one agency and my motto was that as long as the work gets done, there was no reason to sweat. If it sells it sells. If not, we all get canned. So fortunately I didn’t let the business age me too quickly. As my mother says, “this too shall pass” and no truer words were ever stated about the ad business. People come and go all the time so there is no reason to get too pissed off. When someone you work with or a client becomes impossible to deal with, remember that the worm can turn very quickly in this industry.
Taking the issue of anger beyond just work and the ad business, there are still constant challenges that quickly fill our daily anger quotient. In a city like New York, we experience the very best and worst of people almost every day. Since it’s such a fast-paced city, it’s easy to let our emotions get away from us. So when we’re stuck in a crowded subway car filled with manspreading, loud music, dancing kids doing Showtime, or simply rude behavior. It’s important not to let it get to you. If we snap, we may find ourselves in a conflict with a stranger that can turn out badly.
All of the stress from work and simply living in a big city accelerates our aging. So when the going gets shitty and people behave badly, we need to do our best to shake it off and keep moving. But, we can’t keep all our negative emotions bottled up inside. That’s just one more thing that shortens our lifespan. So we have to find ways of letting off steam.
I don’t like carrying around bitterness and anger. I am authentic, honest, and possess keen bullshit radar detection abilities. So people who know me usually pause before bullshitting or lying to me—they know I will call them on it. Is this the right technique for you? You have to find your own way of dealing with the nonsense so you don’t burn up inside. I know I have a temper, so I remain mindful of it at all times. Although I call bullshit, I fly off the hook less and less these days because I know that stress kills.
2. Get your rest – As we get older, we need more rest. Duh. But that’s cool because rest is a good thing, amigos. Over the past decade when possible, I’ve added naps to my daily routine and I’ve found them to be tremendously refreshing. I also try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. It’s not that hard to do. If you hit the sack at midnight and get up at seven you’ve got your seven hours. Who needs to watch James Corden anyway? Yoga, tai chi, meditation, hypnosis, and reiki are also good practices that allow us to go inside and slow down our thinking, internal monkey chatter, and breathing. All these practices help to support longevity.
3. Hydrate – Ever wonder why many old people look so wrinkly? Studies have shown that eighty percent of Americans are dehydrated. Then compound that with an aging process that also dries us out when our internal liquids evaporate without proper replenishment. I keep a sixty-four ounce container of water on my table every day and make it my goal to finish it. When I do that, I feel great. I also filter the water with a Zero Water jug, take two to four Dr. Patrick Flanagan’s Mega Hydrate capsules, and add Crystal Energy drops for longevity. The capsules hydrate the cells and release hydrogen ions that chase down the millions of free radicals roaming in our bodies. The drops add to the PH level of the water, making it wetter, healthier, and more hydrating. Google Dr. Patrick Flanagan and you’ll get a real eye-opener of information on his under-the-radar anti-aging technology. The bottom line is hydration grows in importance as we age. Stay lubricated, amigos.
4. Reconfigure your diet – I know it’s not easy to become a vegan or go totally organic, but you will surely reap the benefits if you can align your diet to these tenants as much as possible. I’m a long-term pescatarian, but I consume less and less fish as the years go by and my body craves it less and less as a result. I also no longer eat sushi due to a concern about parasites. I’ve eliminated meat and as much dairy, fried foods, caffeine, and sugar as possible and have a lot more energy now. Dropping meat was the big one. I cut out beef, lamb, and pork while weaning myself off of poultry over two years. My body thanks me and I’ve never looked back. After years of eating fake bacon, sausage, etc., I’ve totally dismissed the possibility of consuming meat ever again. I know that does not work for everyone, but if you can eliminate meat and as much sugar and dairy as possible, you’ll feel a major difference within a few short weeks and will probably add a few years to a healthy life.
5. Don’t smoke, cut back on alcohol – I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go into why smoking is not conducive to aging in general. If you still feel a need to smoke weed for recreational purposes, source the cleanest product available if it’s legal in your state, and use a vape or a bong. And, imbibe in moderation. I still enjoy the occasional glass of wine, a craft beer, or a few sips of high-end tequila, but I know drinking alcohol is not a great habit and it certainly does nothing for your longevity. Yeah, yeah, we’ve all read the claims about some study claiming that a glass of red wine every day is great for you or about that crusty one hundred year old guy who claims drinking whiskey has been his key to longevity. But do you believe it? Your best path is to arm yourself with scientific facts and make your choices base on what feels right for you. Cheers.
6. Keep moving – Over the years, life takes its toll on our bodies and many of us break down from overuse or abuse. How many people do you know who are over fifty years old that are still pounding the pavement on long runs, or take classes at Barry’s Boot Camp? I’ve found that being consistent with my fitness, which means never really falling out of shape, has allowed me to continue enjoying some rigorous workouts and long runs into my fifties and beyond. Am I lucky? Yes. But I’ve also made some of my own luck by taking care of my body, mind and spirit over all these decades. I began doing push-ups every morning during my teens and I still pound out between fifty and seventy-five almost day. Am I bragging? Maybe a little bit, but so what? The point is that with a little luck we can keep rolling with the same fitness routines if we take care of our bodies during our twenties, thirties and forties.
7. Keep on the sunny side of life – You’ve got your anger under control, you’re eating well, getting your rest, meditating, hydrating, exercising, and not smoking, drinking or eating meat. Congratulations! I’m sure you’re feeling pretty darn good. But, the true catalyst to enhance and maximize the wellness factor in the aging process is maintaining a positive attitude. Of course this isn’t always easy in our highly dysfunctional culture. But it’s possible. And you can do it if you put in the effort. Start by adding meditation to your daily routine and periodically unplug from the Internet, the media, and the waves of toxic negativity that permeate our collective consciousness. Remember this. The only thing that truly matters is right now. You are alive. You are reading this post. You are doing a lot better than you give yourself credit for. Relax, amigo. It’s going to be okay. Play your cards right and you can live a long healthy life. Salud!
This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is yogi Kazim Gurbuz who is 95 years old now and looks like a fifty-year old. He claims through proper nutrition and yoga practices we can live to 130. Maybe he’s right. Would you settle for 100? I’ll see you there.