So, I am the founder of “Younger by the Days”. These words are quite provocative when put together. We age by the minute, for sure, there is no doubt about that. But how are we aging? What is our mindset? What is our relationship to our past, present and future? Do we want to erase the ravages of time on our skin, or are we more interested in what is happening inside our minds and bodies as time goes by? Maybe both…
In fact I am really interested in “time” and I had 2 major eye-opening experiences that took place at very different moments of my life.
A yoga experience in Paris that changed my perception of the relation between time and aging
A long time ago on my yoga mat at the Eva Ruchpaul Institute, whilst practicing, I experienced time suspending and space opening. It is a delightful feeling, when a second becomes an hour or more. Usually time runs too fast. We never have enough of it… we are always running after it, often very unsuccessfully. This experience of time and space opening, that I have learned to repeat, has changed my perception and understanding of time and aging. I will come back to that later in another post.
Qi Gong in China: when are we going to die?
The second experience was on top of a mountain in China: I was participating in an Instructor’s Seminar and the Qi Gong Master asked us this puzzling question: “When do you think you are going to die? At what age?” Wow! What a question!
What about running a marathon at 80?
My first answer was going to be “in a few years”, because at that time I thought I was going to die at 60. Although I had another scenario in mind that would lead me up to 80: one day out of pure defiance and revolt against recurrent cartilage problems in my spine and knees (and after the surgeon told me that I would never run again) I decided that I would run my first marathon when I turned 80. And believe me, I am not a runner. Sometimes crazy ideas can come to your mind and you do not really know where they are coming from. But I got quite a good inner smile out of it…
A healthy longevity
However, I regarded 80 as my realistic limit because I was frightened to become like my mother, who suffered like hell bedridden for years before dying. She lived way into her 90s but nobody could envy her longevity.
The answers from the other students in the Qi Gong seminar varied from “a few months” to “98”. Sadly, the one who answered ‘a few months” was fighting a terminal illness. “98” was the highest of all the answers because of good genes in the family.
So clearly we do have, more or less consciously, a representation of our end.
The Chinese Master then delivered his understanding of longevity: he confidently pronounced that the human body is made to live at least until 150 if we know how to take care of it. To cut the story short, I finally decided that I would live until 130! It might seem silly but whilst I was regaining health and experiencing my own rejuvenation after 60, I started to take the whole issue more seriously.
Longevity: a change of attitude in the present
Although remaining quite aware that I might die tomorrow, extending my vision of my possible lifespan – much beyond what I had been subconsciously thinking – has had serious consequences on my day-to-day life. It has allowed me to create a business and start a new professional life when most people treat retirement as their last phase, a time for slowing down and aging as quietly as possible, often withdrawing from the world instead of taking retirement as an opportunity to expand and create.
Every day can be day 1: when opening to the future can make the present moment more intense and satisfying
As a consequence of this new perspective and by reopening my future, I have allowed myself to live in the present more fully, day by day, and to be constructive in my ongoing transformation. It has allowed me to have a totally different attitude towards aging, illness and retirement. It has allowed me to escape this depressing slow procession towards the grave and instead reopen the doors towards a longer, fuller and active life. Even if it is for one second, it is worthwhile. I have discovered unknown geysers of vitality.
I’ve rediscovered that every day can be day 1.
I reconnected with the young girl inside me, full of energy and laughter. I also realized that I will need more money if I am going to live longer.
The 130 CLUB
Now I want to create the 130 CLUB… You can guess what it’s all about! I don’t want to end up alone on my island! So I need buddies, oldies and youngsters alike to join in! You are all welcome!
No need to take it too seriously, but yes, do you want to join me in the 130 CLUB?
If you do, leave me a message on this website, on the contact page.
Of course the only condition of joining this unusual club is accepting to change our attitude towards life and aging, to continuously transform, learn, research, discover and share!
We are all aging, and what if it was going to be a pleasant experience rather than a traumatic one?
Moving beyond our miseries, aches and pains, it could be fun!
It is not me on the photo… It is Julia Hawkins with a marathon record at age 103. She started running when 100! So, the “crazy” idea I had to start running a marathon at the age of 80 is not so crazy after all!