As Groucho Marx once said, “Anyone can get old — all you have to do is to live long enough. 🙂
But living long enough is not enough, apparently.
It’s a good idea to savor life, one well lived. This from an article published recently by Brian Kozlowksi which appeared In AARP, October/November 2020. (Credit for images below cited in this article.)
At 94, the world’s longest reigning monarch still follows the 10 rules for staying vital, says the author of a new book, Long Live the Queen. Her book lists twenty-three.
- Recharge your willpower
Elizabeth II’s self-control appears limitless because she takes time to replenish it — grasping, as research shows, that willpower is akin to a battery that requires routine recharging. Teatime is that crucial interval for the queen: a sacred break in her hectic day when she rests for a quiet hour with a fragrant pot of Earl Grey or Darjeeling, and something sugary. [She’s also been known to enjoy daily shots of gin and tonic too.]
2. Stick to a schedule
From her first day as queen [and even as a girl], Elizabeth has calmed her mind by following a strict daily regimen, ending each day by writing in her journal.
3. Develop your sense of purpose
The queen lives for something larger than herself — her country. Studies show having a dedicated cause helps immunity and reduces one’s risk of Alzheimer’s.
4. Serve others
The patron of hundreds of charities, Elizabeth II believes that giving herself to good causes can do “as much as anything … to help me put my own worries into perspective.” Her reward: an infusion of an anti-inflammatory hormone.
5. Sweeten the self-talk
“I find that I can often put things out of my mind which are disagreeable,” the queen once said. So-called purposeful repressors — people who consciously dial down negative mind chatter — benefit from a kind of psychological armor. As Elizabeth II observed at one point, “The trouble with gloom is that it feeds upon itself.”
6. Brush aside vanity
From the beginning of her reign, the queen has made a deliberate effort to practice what behavioral psychologists call self-distancing. She can, with a complete lack of vanity, comb through a daily onslaught of personal stories in the tabloids and still remain a detached and, frequently, amused spectator.
Michelle Obama in Becoming:
“I could not have known it in the moment, but I was committing what would be deemed an epic faux pas. I’d touched the Queen of England, which I’d soon learn was apparently not done. Our interaction at the reception was caught on camera, and in the coming days it would be reproduced in media reports all over the world . . . I daresay the Queen was okay with it, too, because when I touched her, she only pulled closer, resting a gloved hand lightly the small of my back.” (318)
7. Never stop playing
Elizabeth II still takes time, almost every day, to play as she loved to as a child (specifically, with horses). Doing so has kept her muscles active and her mind remarkably agile, thanks to play’s unique ability to suspend the brain in a youthful, flexible state.
8. Keep the faith
The queen attends church every Sunday and prays every night before bed, grounding rites that have been an essential component of her iconic resilience. Whatever worries the world throws at her, she believes there is a higher throne on which to lay them.
9. Be open to change
At an age when many find it hard to accept altered conditions, Elizabeth II has never stopped learning and adapting. “Change has become a constant,” she remarked in 2002. “The way we embrace it defines our future.”
10. Cherish your crowning years
Elizabeth II smiles more nowadays and is more warmly approachable than ever. All of this supports the scientific phenomenon known as the U-bend of life–the discovery that the world’s happiest people tend to be those who are in their 80s and beyond.
Jack London, American author
Inscription on an historic monument commemorating the life of this famous American author, Jack London, author of the famed novels White Fang and The Call of the Wild.
He died at age 40.
I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than that it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of a [wo]man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
Welcome here! Your thoughts on aging, or your own experience of others you believe have aged well.
Good morning, Marian! Good advice from the queen. 😀 Both of my grandfathers and my mom lived into their nineties–my mom lived the longest, finally felled by Covid. They were all so different. I’m not sure that I could say there was something they all did–though I imagine that having some sense of purpose or routine helps.
Good genes may be a factor, Merril. And I suppose sense of purpose figures in, especially to enjoy the life one is given. Thanks again for being the early bird this morning! 🙂
Hi Marian, Elizabeth is an amazing woman who has definitely grown in her role as queen. Perhaps growing up during WWII made her more mature and gave her a sense of perspective and, of course, patriotism. An interesting article.
The book just published boasts 23 points, not just the 10 I posted here. Yes, I am curious about the others.
And I agree, she and Winston Churchill, then Prime Minister, must have had interesting chats during the War. She seems unflappable even in the most dire circumstances. However, the year Diana died and a fire erupted in Windsor Castle, I remember her expressing the fact that “it has been a challenging year.” It’s good to have a steady presence in such a position, probably one reason the monarchy has survived for so long. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Robbie!
Those are all good life lessons. I find the “Serve Others” to be a path to happiness, for sure. I remember reading somewhere that Sophia Loren said the secret to looking young was to always spring up out of a chair. I’ve kept that in mind ever since. Darned if it isn’t true.
I like that, Arlene. I believe you’re right about the secret to looking young!
Yes, Arlene, I too believe that serving others (being generous) leads to happiness.
I did smile when you mention Sophia Loren’s secret to looking younger. Springing up out a chair also exercises the hip flexors, the muscles we use doing squats in Pilates.
Maybe you know: The actress has come out with a new movie this year on Netflix: The Life Ahead. She has been winning awards since the early 1960s. You have to admire her persistence. Of course, it’s mostly due to springing up out of a chair – haha! 🙂
Nice examples to follow. I think as the longest living monarch ever, QE2 has served her country very well.
Yes, Fatima, she takes her calling in life very seriously, very admirable. However, I think she get perturbed when her children and grand-children make bad choices. Who can blame her though?
Thanks for your comment!
I admire our Queen immensely and think she is a great role model which other heads of states/countries may benefit from by following her example by showing the dignity and calm she projects in public life… My own mother is 90 and still cooks/cleans… like our Queen she has lived a life of routine which has stood her in good stead…. Be well and stay safe, Marian 🙏
Carol, your comment reminds me of the mugs and other souvenirs imprinted with the emblem of the monarchy: “Keep calm and carry on,” certainly a great motto to follow.
Kudos to your Mum who still cooks and cleans, the secret of enjoying life and health at her age. Once I recall the Queen Mother saying, “Keep going. When you stop, you’re done.” I believe my Aunt Ruthie was quoting Queen Mary when she said that, and in her own way followed an active lifestyle. Thanks for adding to the conversation here! 🙂
I always enjoy the conversations on here… I myself write in my diary each day something I have done for years… 😀
Thank you . . . and good for YOU and good diary-keeping, Carol!
Do you think she sleeps with a hat on her head? (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
She is a bright star. A role model for decades. Long live the Queen!
Speaking of stars – there will be a meteor shower this Sunday night featuring colored shooting stars.
Here, here! To heavenly & earthly stars.
Colored, shooting STARS. How is it that I haven’t heard of this. Maybe I have my hat on too tightly. It’s COLD in Florida, in the mid-40s at night until the warm-up.
Thanks, sister, for enlightening me and all readers this week. 🙂
Interesting and great tips for healthy living no matter what age, Marian. Thinking about that journal Elizabeth has kept every day … wow, that would be worth a fortune if ever published!
Her journals are a gold mine indeed. I wonder if she has left instructions about them to her staff/family/the powers that be. They would certainly be more interesting than the diary of Samuel Pepys, but maybe rivaling the Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe, especially in the short term.
Thanks for your observation, Susan. 🙂
Two things (at least) have kept my 96-year-old mum going especially in this very difficult year. She grades lessons completed by prisoners in the Gospel Echoes Home Bible Study program. She has learned much about life in prison as they convey it, as well as answering difficult faith questions.
The other thing is her every-morning (except maybe Sunday?) exercise routine. Some she follows on closed circuit TV, others were on her lists from various times of rehab. She also tries to walk daily–either up and down the long halls of her retirement building, or outside, weather willing. And maybe at play … good genes!
What an example of the value of physical and mental activity. I wonder if the prisoners have any idea about the age of your mother. They certainly benefit from her faith-based wisdom. And we both know the benefit of exercise, walking and doing Pilates in my case. You live in the country and can maybe take advantage of hiking trails.
Thanks for offering inspiration here, Melodie!
I think mom has told some of the correspondents, if they write a lot, or if it is applicable. She’s not supposed to reveal her name or location etc. of course.
My Aunt Ruthie corresponded with prisoners in the same way, but I think she divulged her name to one, which had us worried for awhile. So intent she was on trying to be generous and thinking the best of people.
A lovely post, Marian. Great advice from a remarkable woman. She has an amazing collection of hats! And she’s incredibly blessed to be her age and still sharp.
L. Marie, the only time I’ve seen the Queen without a hat is when she is in the country, often at Balmoral, riding a horse and wearing a bandanna, like my mother used to do. Thanks for stopping by with a comment today! 🙂
I so agree with this regiment of the Queen. I practice almost all of them myself and it revives me every evening. I take my tea time at 4 p.m. and I look forward to it.
All the best.
Hi, Pat, I appreciate your echoing the practice the Queen preaches in her own life. I’m drinking English breakfast tea now, and it’s still morning in Florida. Hurrah for tea time, anytime. Thanks! 🙂
Marian — I enjoyed reading the Queen’s rules. They’ve served her well! I equally enjoyed the Jack London quote you included at the end. Yes!
Laurie, I was astonished at how much author London accomplished by age 40.
You’re right, my friend, neither of us is going to rot or rust out. We are going to send out sparks to the very end. I admire your attempting a series in a new genre. Here’s to a meteor shower of productivity! 🙂
Thanks Marian. I really enjoyed this. I’m not sure I could keep up with all of it! I loved #8 the most – our worries indeed do have “a higher throne on which to lay them.”. 🙂
My sentiments exactly. I remember Mother singing in the kitchen: “Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there.” Thanks for the reminder, Jenn! 🙂
I am very proud of our Queen Marian and I think that many of her ten suggestions tally with me .
There used to be and advert in the 70s advertising a well know chocolate bar called ‘Mars ‘ and their suggestion was ;
Work , Rest and Play and that is my philosophy for life .
Mine too, Cherry. Sunday is supposed to be my day of rest, but replying to your comments always seems like “play.” Thanks for joining in here! oxo 🙂
Cheers! Queen Elizabeth gives us a fine example to follow!
I’m glad you enjoyed the inspiration from a wise woman. Thanks for stopping in today, Bette!
Thanks for featuring a person I have always admired. Queen Elizabeth has such backbone and determination! Good for Michelle Obama that she touched her! I have a feeling that Elizabeth would have loved a long, warm hug from Michelle. Two women of great strength and courage embracing each other! The last time Queen Elizabeth came to Canada I took two of my grandchildren to see her. We sat on the grass just below the bridge she walked across. Mostly we just saw her hat, but we still talk about that experience!
I’m glad you shared the anecdote about seeing Queen Elizabeth in Canada. No one else here can boast of such a sighting. And such a memory!
I’m guessing a hat is lighter on the head than constantly wearing a crown – ha! And, yes, I agree the Queen is a woman of courage and dignity — and endurance.. Thanks, Elfrieda! 🙂
Wonderful post, Marian. She certainly must be doing something right. I think I need to pick a few of these and add them to my own routine! Thanks.
Routines become lifelong habits as the Queen seems to suggest. I’m glad this post offered inspiration for you, Janet. Thank you! 🙂
She is an amazing person and has a good sense of humour too. My great-aunt Barbara lived to be 95 and was as sharp as a tack. She followed many of these life lessons.
I believe we both want to emulate the Queen – and your charming great-aunt Barbara who enjoyed a long life and a sharp mind into her nineties. 🙂
Sweet and helpful. I like how well she deals with the pressures of her world and for so long. And I like her way of handling negative self-talk. I could learn a few tips from the Queen. And yes to afternoon tea and time to play. Be well and be safe.
For me, too, her lessons are either reminders or goads for change. Thanks for the comment, Elaine – and the good wishes for health and safety. 🙂
I prefer the Queen’s perspective over Jack London’s, perhaps because I am in the over 80 cohort!
I was astonished to read that Jack London’s novels were written before he even reached middle age. I’m happy to hear that we are approaching the U-Bend, happy into our eighties. Like you, I believe my vote goes to the Queen’s insights too.
Thanks for joining in here, Verna!
She is a great role model. I love her composure and the way she let stress slip away behind her back.
Welcome, Valentina. I notice from your website that your like to spread lightheartedness and joy, one of my goals as well. And I like the way you phrase the Queen’s composure, letting stress slip away behind her back. Lovely! 🙂
Wonderful share Marian. Aren’t they just an amazing couple! And such great advice on life too. She’s living proof it works. Oh, and I love my Earl Grey tea every night too. I’d love to share tea with her. 🙂 x
The Queen, you and me for a tete a tete with tea. My, oh my! I like Earl Grey as well, but recently Darjeeling has captured my fancy. Thanks for the insight – and the fanciful thought, Debby!
Yes! Let’s go! Lol. I also like Darjeeling. But my nightly go to is Earl the pearl. 🙂
The Queen seems to be beloved everywhere. She has one of those faces that promotes trust. My advice to anyone who is retired is similar to the Queen’s views. Find something that gives you a purpose as we all need something to live for in life. I think looking for ways to help one’s community is an ideal pursuit.
Pete, I notice that you have taken the good advice here to heart and are flourishing in your “Third Act.” Finishing strong is as important as a good start, maybe even more so. I especially like your insight which I do agree with: “She has one of those faces that promotes trust.”
Thanks for adding you ideas to the round-table here. 🙂
I saw this article also, and you did a great job sharing it with us and adding more “two cents” (with lots of sense). I will say that I have a bit of a different impression of the Queen by watching the Netflix production of THE CROWN. Have you seen it? I think the advice here is right on. And I love Jack London’s quote.
My mom lived until she was 96 and until dementia hit her at 89, she lived life like she was a huge roaring flame. Even in deep dementia, I saw her spark within her once in a while, until Covid snuffed it all out. But… you know what? Her energy never died – I feel her joie de vivre all around me. xo
Yes, Pam, I wondered who was going to mention Netflix “The Crown.” I do agree there is a dark side to the monarchy: the need to uphold tradition at all costs, which pressured Prince Charles into his disastrous marriage to Diana + the sad, restricted life of Margaret Rose, mostly due to birth order, among other examples.
I love that you refer to your mother’s life as a “huge roaring flame.” She obviously has transferred her spark and energy to you, which shines through in your life and writing. 🙂
Thank you, Marian. My flame is only a spark compared to my mom’s, but I love the warmth and light it gives me. You, my friend, burn just as bright. <3
Wonderful post of 10 of the many rules for life, thanks Marian. Loved them all and they’re good reminders of living a life well. She’s certainly had her annus horribilus (I think that’s how she said it) but there is no doubt that her attitude to life is robust and gets her through. I’ve had a few role models in my life who’ve managed to live into old age with grace, wit and humour.
Susan, thanks for supplying the Latin phrase I was reaching for but could not summon: annus horribilus. She’s lived far beyond that with her “Can-do” attitude. I agree, grace, wit, and humour will get us through! 🙂
What a fun read! Coincidentally, I was sipping a cup of Earl Grey decaf and nibbling on something sweet as I read this.
I was in England during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebration in 1977. I took a train from Great Yarmouth to London and joined the crushing crowds on the streets that were waiting to see the parade pass by. When the Queen and Prince Philip passed by in a golden carriage just a few feet from where I was standing, I felt as though she were my queen, too. She seemed to look at each one of us as she waved her white gloved hand. An awestruck silence fell over the crowd.
It’s good to know that people age 80 and above are typically the happiest. Now I have something to look forward to besides more wrinkles! 😀
Thank you for the queenly comment, Lady Quixote! How stunning that you were able to see Queen Elizabeth in person, if only from a distance.
Here’s to more cups of Earl Grey tea and happy days ahead, Linda Lee. 🙂
All of your followers have added much flavour to your post, Dear.
I tried Sophia Loren’s secret of remaining young, but when I tried to spring up (with my riding hat on–no flowers) my spring-ing energy had a bit of “sprung” to it. I guess I’ll have to practice more.
Ha, ha, my dear! Here’s to honesty in practice. 😀
Thanks, Lady Fi. Do enjoy the holiday season! 🙂
Hi Marian – it’s taken me awhile to get to your post, but I’m so glad I saved it and was able to stop by tonight. Queen Elizabeth seems to be doing everything right to stay vital. I agree with much of what she lists, especially staying positive, sticking to a schedule and making time to recharge and have fun, every day. Thanks for sharing these tips!
I’m glad you arrived here too, Barbara! I see you as a vibrant woman, juggling a full-time job, and making time for reading and maintaining a blog, no easy tasks. Reading and writing give my mind somewhere pleasant to go, away from the negative noise of the news. Thanks for joining the conversation.
And by the way, the light is always on at Plain & Fancy. You are never late! 🙂
Hi Marian – thanks for these words – it’s been a crazy busy fall for me – I’m looking forward to slowing down a bit!
I don’t know how you keep up with it all. The December 16 post will be my last for the new year. I’m giving myself a break, but I also recognize that my readers need some time off from reading/replying on my blog. We get a break on both sides of the screen, Barbara! 🙂
I know what you mean!
Good morning, Marian! My Dad was from Scotland, so I’ve grown up with the Royal Family, so to speak. I love this post …
Hi, Linda. You have seen the Royal Family up close and personal. Thanks for sharing that.
In spite of their very human struggles, the Windsors provide the world with a glimpse of glitz and glamour and a hint at a fairy-tale existence, may of us may fantasize about. 🙂
Such an inspiring and informative post, Marian. The Queen sure lives by fantastic priorities, habits, and dedications. I fully respect her and I like Jack London’s take on life as well. I can’t believe he died that young! Wise words and principles to live by. Change is the only constant. You only live once, so do it wisely. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder!
You’re welcome, Liesbet. The Queen’s life has not been a bed of roses and she has made some mis-steps, especially pressuring her children to make certain choices, but all in all, an admirable figure. 🙂
Thank you for publishing these ten points. Makes you realise she was human after all. Not untouchable as Michelle Abama proves. I do know that one of her greatest regreats was that she did not go earlier to Wales when the Aberfan disaster occured and so many of our little ones were lost.
Thank you for sharing your point of view, Joy–so appreciated! 😀