My experience has taught me that the key to living a happy, healthy and fit life is to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate our own individual and unique value. This thought occurred to me again in late January when I was interviewed by Kate Delaney for her nationally syndicated radio program on public access radio. She focused on my writing – specifically my book “Healthy Aging & You” – and asked me to discuss the principles and ideas that I considered important “to growing older and not old”. This idea of becoming “more” as we age is one that enlivens and inspires me each day to become the best version of myself that I can possibly be. Through my interview I recognized – finally – that I have learned to “value myself” and this has led me to want to share with you what that means in terms of healthy aging as I now understand it.
The first and most important point I want to make is that we must DECIDE to value ourselves and then allow a learning process to unfold that enables and inspires us to DEFINE what that means for ourselves. For mean the value I have decided for myself is the value that comes with becoming passionate about fitness as age. I value my health above all things including family, money and time because through being healthy I get the opportunity to make my own unique contribution to life – and help as many people as I can while I am still here.
My contribution is the value I create by being committed to my PURPOSE which as I state on my website (healthyhappyfit.com) is to “change one thing in one person’s life today”. As I spoke to Kate and answered her questions I realized I am absolutely CLEAR on what it is I am here to do and WHY I am doing it. My mission is to make a difference in the lives of people of all ages so that they too can access the benefits of a “life well lived”. Each person on the planet has been endowed with unique gifts and through the sharing of those gifts CAN create a life of meaning and fulfillment if they are committed to their vision and purpose.
Creating the best life we can from this perspective of sharing our “natural gifts” and living from our own unique vision that embodies our “best example” of ourselves is the “true” way to health, peace and joy. As I spoke to Kate I realized at 71 that I had arrived at a place of honesty within myself that I had never known before. I was truly “being myself” as I had always envisioned from my earliest days as a boy on Maui who loved his friends, swimming and playing. She commented on my passion and love for my message and said that among the thousands of people she had interviewed I was in her “top 5” all time. That made my heart jump! I KNEW my value lay in my gift of expression and that I was now a legitimate “advocate” for the principles of healthy aging as I had described them in “Healthy Aging & You” just before my 60th birthday.
Creating a life of meaning and value takes time. It is something we “grow into” as we experience the life we are living and cannot be rushed or “manufactured”. It has to be real and created from “within” by the words we use daily (self talk), the thoughts we entertain, the beliefs we hold that inspire us, the choices we make, and finally, the actions we take in support of our daily goals. Where the “rubber meets the road” for me is the training that I do daily – mentally, physically, and spiritually to enhance my vision and purpose. I am inspiring people every day in my fitness programming at the gym where I train because many know me as “the old guy” running and lifting his way to fitness goals that I don’t believe exist anywhere in the country at this time.
For me being the best “example of the change I wish to see in the world” is embodied in my workouts and meditation and daily prayer work. I believe in the “inner journey” of life and not to rely on others to define me. This is MY job. Since that day in June of 1985 when I first heard a speaker say in a presentation to a national speaker’s association audience that “if we don’t know what we stand for, we will fall for anything”. I have made it my personal mission to LEARN what I stand for in life. This understanding and “knowing” came through my interview with Kate and I am hopeful and grateful every day as a result of this insight.
Doing is the final piece to the puzzle of “valuing oneself”. We have to act and create in order to live a life of meaning and contribution. I understand my future is limited and that I will never know how much time I have left in which to share my message BUT I DO KNOW I can act TODAY and that is enough. My workouts are developed from my passion for fitness and my work is derived from this basic “impulse” I have to train and be stronger and faster as I age. Today I am running 6 mile training runs at high intensity and lifting weights and stretching to insure I can PERFORM at the highest levels for my audiences in the future. This is MY REASON FOR BEING now and it suits me.
I can see me “doing” my work for years to come because I valued not only myself over the years but my life as well. This knowledge was always within me and through my spiritual journey I learned how to measure and understand it as a part of my daily life. I am “practicing” the principles of healthy aging every day in my choosing and activities so that my presentations continue to be authentically “real” and meaningful to those I contact in the future. It is in the DOING that we become “fully realized human beings” and my guess is that we ALL want to leave behind something unique that only we could create! This idea makes sense doesn’t it? Get busy “doing” today what you CAN to become the best version of yourself that you can be but remember to “think” first about WHY you are doing what you are doing and remain “connected” to your inner self – the only “true guide” you will ever need.
I have shared three key ideas with you that you can use today to improve your chances of living a life you have always dreamed of experiencing. MY hope is that like me this year through my interview with Kate Delaney, you will want to discover your “true value” and DECIDE to live your life in accordance with that value. Your goals need to include every aspect of your being mentally, spiritually and physically because all three of these principles are required if we are to find our true value in becoming the best version of ourselves.
How and when you decide to act on this challenge is entirely up to you. You create and embody what you choose to BE and this includes the words we use daily, the thoughts we entertain, the beliefs that we hold, the choices we make everyday and finally, the actions we decide to take in support of our purpose. My hope for you is that you find yourself getting excited and becoming as passionate as I feel right now because I know time WILL run out for me too and I DO NOT want to leave this life with any regret – or guilt – over “what could have been” if only I had acted! Travel well.