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Feeling Young

I hope that I won’t become one of those older guys whose kids have to take him aside for one of those private conversations. But, sadly, I can imagine exactly how the intervention will go down: “Dad, you look great for your age, but we think it’s time to retire the LuluLemon shorts and shirt and wear something age appropriate.”

We spend our childhood wishing we were older, then we get busy with life - family, work etc. And then all of a sudden we become aware of our age. The trigger is different for all of us. Greying hair, expanding waistline, a loss of step etc. And for many valid reasons we become concerned with our health - fitness, diet, frame of mind. We want to feel young and vibrant.

But we go about it different ways. My mother has an interesting approach. She’s been spending a lot of her time with friends who are older. She’s the ace of her Zumba class and the peppiest member of her Snowbird traveling group. She feels younger, because she actually is younger than those around her. Brilliant. Of course there are logistical limitations to this strategy.

My approach is diametrically opposite. I publish a health and wellness magazine. So, I have to not only “talk the talk” but also “walk the walk” (and yes, that phrase, in and of itself ages me). I take spinning classes and go to boot-camps on average six times a week. While I may not be the oldest person there, I’m definitely at that end of the bell curve.

At Tonic, my staff, and most of our contributors, are younger. Learning their approach to issues on health and wellness impacts my perspective. It makes me think younger, and somehow believe that I am younger: But the danger with my focus on youth is that I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve developed age-conscious anxiety. If I’m watching tv and the commercials are for Viagra, adult diapers, or staircase wheelchair lifts, I switch channels (whether I’m enjoying the show or not). We went to see Birdman this weekend and my appreciation of the film was ever-so slightly diminished by my demographic survey of the audience. Serves me right for going to a 7:15 showing in North York.

Despite my efforts, I find that my feelings of youth are mercurial. I can take pleasure that my 18 year old daughter’s friends like my snarky comments on her Facebook page, (I haven’t been blocked yet!), and I can bust it in spin class...and I can also fall asleep in front of the tv that same night. I don’t know. Maybe I should try Zumba.

While I may not have all the answers to aging and having a healthy, energetic life, our Tonic writers surely do. Rod MacDonald explains why finding balance rather than extreme fitness and dieting is best (p.45), Carlyle Jansen discusses the importance of honesty in your sexual relationship (p. 30), Lisa Cantkier writes about the connection between a healthy gut and a healthy brain (p.28), and Marni Wasserman tells you how to be an excellent plant-based host this holiday season(p.43). As always, if you want to share your thoughts on aging, or anything Tonic related, please feel free to email me at Jamie@tonictoronto.com