The Best Aging Secret: Make Time Your Friend
Years ago, I was riding in a car with a woman who had been labeled by the media as one of the most beautiful women in the world. She had everything, since talent and wealth were also hers, but her health tended to be fragile.
"How can I help you?" I asked her.
She looked embarrassed and didn't want to answer. For the next few miles, she gazed wistfully out the window as the passing countryside. Then she blurted out, "How I wish I could be young again."
I didn't hear vanity in her words but a helpless wish, the kind any of us might have when we don't think it can be granted.
Such a statement might sound ridiculous unless you understand that aging does not have to be purely a function of time. The clock seems to be ticking off the hours, days and years. Given enough time, the ocean will wear away the shore. But human beings are privileged. Unlike a rock, which cannot defend itself against wind and water, or a machine, whose parts wear out over time, humans have a relationship with time.
And like all relationships, yours can be good or bad.
What's your relationship with time like?
It isn't time's fault. All the damaging effects of running out of time—high blood pressure, imbalanced hormones, digestive problems, insomnia, increased susceptibility to disease, increased likelihood of anxiety and depression disorders—reverse themselves when your relationship with time turns from bad to good. When you make time your friend, hundreds of billions of cells will silently thank you, because a healthy body must run on time. Unseen by you, hundreds of biological cycles are being coordinated inside your body. The most basic life rhythms, like breathing and your heartbeat, are actually clocks that bring dozens of other rhythms into sync with them. In a fascinating way, your body has learned how to master time even as you struggle with it.
Aging can be seen, not as time taking its revenge, but time out of joint. When your bodily clocks are perfectly coordinated, the processes that keep every cell vibrant and functioning with perfect efficiency—in other words, the processes we see in a young cell—can be maintained for decades. Even when a cell grows old and dies, that doesn't cause life's rhythms to grow old. It's invisible slippage at the level of time that is the real culprit in again.
Here's a guide to the simple things you may often overlook when you neglect to make time the ally of your body.
Keep regular hours. Eat and sleep on a regular schedule.
Your ultimate goal, living as if you have all the time in the world, is functional immortality. It happens to be how every cell in your body is already living. Immortality comes naturally; giving in to time requires effort. As mundane as these points may seem, especially those early on in the list, they can be used to shift your awareness. It's not the mechanical doing that makes a difference but settling into life's rhythm naturally and with ease.