Saturday, January 06, 2007

Enjoy the next prime of your life!
Daily Press
Patt Abrahamson

ESCANABA — Art Linkletter isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet. Together with Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, they spawned a new, exciting book: “How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life,” published in July.

Art Linkletter is 94 years young. He was born in Canada where, as an orphan, he was adopted by a Baptist evangelist minister. Shortly, thereafter, the family moved to Massachusetts and eventually ended up in California. Art graduated from San Diego State College in 1934.

Most will remember his long running shows: House Party (25 years) and People are Funny (19 years). His has written 23 books. Among them are Old Age isn’t for Sissies and Kids Say the Darndest Things, one of the top 14 best sellers in American publishing history.

After reading his newest book I am convinced that it is a must read for every senior. Personally, I couldn’t put the book down. Not only is there ways to improve your health and stay fit, keep your memory from fading, enjoy sex through your senior years and keep a vibrant spiritual life, but there is humor abound.

For example: A husband and wife, both 60 years old, were celebrating their 35th anniversary. During their party, a fairy appeared to congratulate them and grant them each one wish. The wife wanted to travel around the world.

The fairy waved her wand and — poof! — the wife had tickets in her hand for a world cruise. Next the fairy asked the husband what he wanted. He said, “I wish I had a wife 30 years younger than me.”

So the fairy picked up her wand and — poof! — the husband was 90.

Art Linkletter and his wife Lois of 70 years have had their share of tragedy in their lives. In 1969 their daughter, under the influence of LSD, jumped to her death from her sixth-story apartment. They have also lost a son and have dealt with a life-threatening illness of another child.

Those were tumultuous years for the Linkletters. They had to go on, and they were able to overcome the heartache. Art went on to become a professional lecturer on drug abuse, positive thinking and gerontology. He schedules 75 lectures a year. That’s incredible, considering his age.

Art says, “Don’t ask me if I am going to retire. Retire to what? I love what I am doing because I think it matters. And I think this book can matter to anyone who is getting into the later years. Don’t stop living and learning.”

As I mentioned the book is filled with wonderful information and a good dose of humor.

You know you are getting older…

...When happy hour is a nap.

...When your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.

...When your idea of weight lifting is standing up.

The architects of the book believe that age 60 is the new 40, the new middle-age — and age 80 is the new 60. And I have to agree. Our grandparents seemed older than the grandparents of today. Today’s more youthful grandmothers might wear jeans, sport a tattoo (ugh), run a marathon, start a business, write a best seller, mountain climb, sing, dance and entertain and the list goes on and on.

It’s not exactly the stereotypical grandmother of yesterday when grandmothers looked tired and older than their years, wore house dresses covered with an apron, a hair net and for the most part did not work outside the home—nor did they have washers, dryers and the myriad comforts of today that make life easier.

There are many myths and misconceptions about how we age — is it determined by lifestyle or genetics? On the chapter that addresses this question the final score may surprise you: Lifestyle 70, and genes 30. But think about the diseases we bring on ourselves by what we put into our bodies.

The list is lengthy. Dietary choices, obesity, smoking and alcohol are culprits that cut years off of our life expectancy—not to mention the quality of life and energy sucked out of us from poor choices. Exercise also plays a huge part in delaying our destiny with the Grim Reaper.

I love the humor in the book:

Two old men had been best friends for years. They both lived to their early 90s when one of them fell deathly ill. His friend visits him on his deathbed, and they’re reminiscing about their long relationship when the friend asks, “Listen, when you die, do me a favor. I want to know if there is baseball in heaven.”

The dying man said, “We’ve been friends for years, this I will do for you.” And then he dies. A couple of days later, his surviving friend is sleeping when he hears his friend’s voice. The voice says, “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that there’s baseball in heaven.”

“What’s the bad news?”

“You’re pitching Wednesday.”

Did I mention how great laughter is for our well-being?

Three elderly men are at the doctor’s office for a memory test. The doctor asks the first man, “What is three times three?” “274” is his reply. The doctor rolls his eyes and looks up at the ceiling and says to the second man, “It’s your turn. What is three times three?” “Tuesday,” replies the second man.

The doctor shakes his head sadly then asks the third man, “OK, your turn. What’s three times three?” “Nine,” says the third man. “That’s great,” said the doctor. “How did you get that?” “Simple,” he says, “just subtract 274 from Tuesday.”

You’ve got to love this one!

A reporter was interviewing a 104-year-old woman: “And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?” the reporter asked.

She replied: “No peer pressure.”

Art says, “Get ready for the next prime of your life! Make the “rest of your life the best years of your life.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE — Patt Abrahamson, Escanaba, is a free lance writer and published author of “Brain-Injury: A Family Tragedy.” She can be reached at

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