Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus

3 Simple Ways to Change How We Age

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Enjoy life, it goes fast.

We hear that over and over again from our elders.

And deep in our hearts we know it's true. That's why we go looking for the magical cures and the energizing treatments that can extend youth and vitality forever.

Yet what if it were simpler than finding a powerful pill or a fountain of youth sprung in a hidden forest? What if the secret was right before us all along?

1. Take care of yourself like you'll live to be 100

We are a society of instant fixers. We want all of life's problems solved in two hours. Yes, the media has created a world of short attention spans, giving people the idea that everything can be solved with a pill and a smile.

But good health doesn't work that way. To age gracefully means taking charge.

When my father died of a massive heart attack at 54, it changed me in a lot of ways.

I started asking questions. I started looking for solutions. After all, I didn't want to follow in his footsteps if I could avoid it. Even at the age of 28 I knew 54 was way too young.

So I changed my lifestyle, the way I eat, the things that I do. I start every day with one question in mind:

"Would I do this to remain healthy at 100 years old?"

I set my sights early on to live 100 years. But I don't want to be in a nursing home; I want to be hiking and climbing mountains. Of course there is no guarantee, but I know through research what I do today impacts my tomorrows. The food I put in my body controls how healthy I'll be next decade. The lifestyle I live controls my stress levels indefinitely.

Once you realize what you do today has power over all the days of your future, you begin to treat each day in a new way.

2. Do nothing every day

It's easy to get caught up in the flow of things. Work. School. Commutes. Kids. Activities. Stress.

Yet if you don't have time for yourself, you're probably just too busy.

I remember back when I was little and would spend time at my grandmother's house. Hours were spent gathering around the dining room table talking, laughing, playing games, and doing a whole lot of nothing.

When was the last time you did a whole lot of nothing?

We're afraid of doing nothing. Nothing makes us bored. Nothing brings fear. Because if there is nothing to do, there must be something to do. What are we missing?

Nothing shows weakness. It shows we're not being productive in society. Or does it?

Maybe it allows us to just be. Maybe it allows us to think. Maybe it stirs up the creative juices deep down inside of us. Maybe it allows us to be who we are meant to be... and be even better.

3. Plan to live an extraordinary life

Are you a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person? Either way it's true.

There's a difference between existing and being.

Existing is reactionary; we take life as it is thrown at us. We don't make plans; we react to things as they happen. Things happen to us instead of us planning to make what we desire come true. This is where stress lives. This is what makes us age quicker than our time.

Being allows us to live in the now, to be present and active in what we do each day. Being gives us the fortuity to know what we want and make plans to get it. It allows us to think before doing, and set goals to accomplish each thing we desire. This is what keeps us younger than our true age. This is what keeps us going even during the worst of times.

Because if you know that a brighter future is just around the corner, you're more likely to work towards the dream rather than sit back and allow the worst to happen. You're more likely to stick to the path rather than sitting off on the side of the road.

Aging? It happens no matter what. It's how you approach it that ultimately determines your true path in life. What is your true age?