I am 62 years old. Two factors have motivated me throughout most of my adult life. The frst has been my desire to sort through all the confusion and find the truth. The second has been my desire to serve other people. Through a unique set of circumstances, at the tender age of 49, I became interested in exploring my fear of death and the meaning of becoming an elder. Over 13 years later, I hope my pursuits have paid off. This book is a product of these pursuits. Specifically, over the last five years I have researched, shared, and refined my understanding of successful aging. It has become a passionate hobby of mine, almost to the point of obsession. I have lived this book.
I am in a unique position to write a book about winning at aging. I've been in clinical practice as a doctor of chiropractic for 30 years. I have been a health and wellness coach to many of my patients. I was trained to be a scientist and I learned how to critically read scientific literature while obtaining my masters degree in biology. My pre-med studies included the unlikely combination of a major in psychology and a minor in chemistry. I have continued to study and be interested in these fields ever since. I have been a "health nut" for 40 years and I do pretty much whatever I believe will enhance my health. I have been on a spiritual quest most of my life, as both my parents were agnostics and I wanted answers to life's mysterious questions. I have sat in countless circles with women and men of all ages, mostly with older men. We have pondered questions such as, what does it mean to be an elder in our modern world, and how can our experience be relevant to the youth of today who face a world of problems and challenges? I even have a fantasy that this book will spark interest in a new field of research, beyond traditional gerontology and successful aging.
I have discovered an empowering and revolutionary story. I've taken the best from neuroscience, psychological science, and from complimentary and anti-aging medicine. I've combined this with the wisdom of the elders, which teaches us to embrace the ripening process that aging brings. I neither want to surrender to the deterioration nor deny the unique experience and wisdom that the years can bring. I want to feel young and vital for as long as possible, while reaping the rewards that a long and well-lived life can bring. If you want to have it all like I do, and like most baby boomers, then this book is for you. Let's maximize the youth of our body and brain, while at the same time maximizing the wisdom of our mind and spirit. Let's minimize aging and maximize sage-ing.
How do we win a game where the ultimate end is our death? If nothing else, this irony proves that Mother Nature has a sense of humor. Speaking of Mother Nature, let's discern and utilize some of her secrets to trick Father Time, at least for a few good years. One trick that I have employed, as you will soon find out, is starting our journey of winning at aging at the top of a metaphorical mountain. &ere are several advantages to this. The obvious one is that it's usually easier to travel downhill than uphill. Seriously though, the main reason is to answer the question, "Why bother?" Why bother to do what it takes to be healthy and happy? Why bother to look inside and resolve our internal conflicts? Why bother to get out of bed in the morning? If we don't begin or continue a spiritual inquiry, then winning at aging becomes an uphill slog. If we even get an inkling as to why we are here and where we want to go, then we can travel down this mountain in style.
I will be your faithful guide along this journey of discovery. I will be your translator of the latest scienti)c research and I can be your interpreter of the vitally important messages that this research is telling us. I will also be your coach, that friendly voice whispering encouragement in your ear when you become discouraged. I will not be your critic or judge, as I believe there is already too much of that, especially coming from inside us.
Are we cursed or blessed to live in such interesting (some would say turbulent) times? This book is my offering to you, a life raft to guide you through to more peaceful waters. May you find your truth, the gold within your shadow. May you live it now!
JOHN M. KALB