While endlessly waiting in the dentist’s office, I turn the pages of the ever-popular People magazine, hardly recognizing anyone. Although it is full of the current celebrities, I see that just about all of them are younger than 40. Here is but another sign that we boomers and those beyond are now a part of an older, and more easily forgotten, generation.
Still, I do have a fascination with the famous, with those who have won recognition for being superstars. And if, on those very rare occasions, I happen to be in close proximity to a celebrity, I admit to feeling a bit of a thrill.
My most impressive experience, by far, was “running” into His Holiness the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet. As I approached The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square (hoping to use the bathroom), there he was, standing in the entrance. He was easily recognizable in his bright orange and red robe, hands clasped by his heart, a glorious smile upon his face, and less than 20 feet from me, speaking quietly to one man, with only one “bodyguard” near him. I stood transfixed and in full amazement. The Dalai Lama then walked through the revolving doors, his guard following him, and, as if in a dream, I drifted through the doors and then watched until my guru disappeared around the corner. Although we had not spoken, I was most definitely in an altered state, feeling his huge vibrational force moving through me, a feeling that lasted until the following day, while the gratitude for this surprising encounter remains always.
Famous, accomplished, self-actualized people tend to have my respect and admiration. Although I can in no way compare the homemaking diva Martha Stewart to the Dalai Lama, I do confess to being a fan of this icon.
I know ... it surprised me, too. But then I thought about all Martha has accomplished in her 72 years and how endlessly creative and smart she is. As an entrepreneur, author and TV personality, she has a net worth of who knows ... $300 million? Her successful career even survived her notorious imprisonment, when in 1994, she served a five-month term in a federal correctional facility followed by a two-year period of mandatory supervision.
I especially appreciate her demonstrated resilience. And, she still looks beautiful, hardly aging. She has to be doing something right. Adding to her kudos is her new book, “Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others.” Martha collaborated with a team of specialists in aging, and they came up with “The Ten Golden Rules” for staying physically, mentally and socially fit. Some of it we have heard before ... eat well, stay physically active, get quality sleep, connect with others, wear sunscreen, maintain a healthy weight (notice she does not say be “runway-model thin,” just a healthy size).
But Martha then adds rules you may not have thought about. She says, “Collaborate with a good primary care physician regularly.” This is wise advice, making sure we have one high-quality doctor who know us, follows our health history and can make the proper referrals when necessary. Another of the 10 rules addresses the importance of “finding your passion.” It may be something entirely different from what you were excited about when you were younger, when you poured your energy into raising kids or having a full-time job. Now, as we move into and through retirement years, we can explore our other interests and talents, like writing, teaching, music, art or a sport. Clearly, it helps to feel excited about waking up each day to pursue what we love to do.
Martha shows us her brilliance in this golden rule: “Stop complaining. Change what you can and accept what you cannot.” You may have noticed that the older some people get, the more they find fault with most things (and listening to the complaining does become boring). It definitely takes great vigilance and self-control to watch our complaining, whiney words. A huge part of the positive aging process is learning to accept what “is.”
A golden rule for longevity, she tells us, is to “stay curious,” to have an inquiring mind and keep learning. She sums it all up for me when she says, “When you’re through changing, you’re through.”
What thoroughly won me over in my admiration of Martha Stewart is how open and vulnerable she is in publicly admitting that she is not through finding love and is actively looking for a man, while announcing on “Today” that she recently joined the online dating service Match.com. Her profile states that she is looking for a man who “relishes adventure and new experiences and can teach me new things.” She told us, “I’d like to have breakfast with somebody. I’d like to go to bed with somebody, sleep with somebody.”
It takes confidence and courage to say this out loud. I say, “Good for you, Martha Stewart, and I hope you meet your match.”
Angelena Craig of Newburyport teaches Wellness Workshops, Kripalu Slow Flow Yoga, and “Sit Down and Move” classes to boomers and beyond. Visit her website at www.thenewagingmovement.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.