Have you ever heard of super aging? Super Aging is all about the lifestyle choices of people who are mentally or physically capable of performing as if they were decades younger. I want to be a super ager! Don’t you?
Mindset and optimism play a huge role! According to a 2019 Boston University study, researchers who tracked 70,000 men and women for 30 years and 10 years, respectively, “found that the most optimistic men and women demonstrated an 11-15% longer lifespan! They also had far greater odds of reaching 85 years old, compared to the least optimistic group.”
Want to know all about how to live the super ager lifestyle? Today I’m sharing an interview with Jeff Cory, the author of a new book called Super Aging: Outsmart the Effects of Conventional Aging and Live Like You Are Decades Younger. Jeff is one of the warmest, most personable men I’ve ever met, and he’s seen the super aging mindset play out in the lives of thousands of seniors for over 30 years. (Not to mention, he embraces it himself!)
In my work, I’ve read many books about life as an empty nester, life beyond midlife, and aging. So please do not take it lightly when I tell you that Super Aging is the very best. It’s upbeat, practical, and comprehensive. Bob loved it as much as I did! As my 80-something dad put it, “this book is a master class on discovering the essential elements to achieving your best life now and in the future.”
Jeff Cory is the Founding Executive Director of The Legacy Foundation at Shell Point, where he has served as a financial, estate, and philanthropic advisor for nearly three decades. (Shell Point is a nationally recognized retirement resort community, and with almost 2,500 residents, it’s one of America’s largest.) He is one of America’s foremost fundraisers for senior causes, having raised over $100 million in his career for charities to improve the quality and length of life for older adults. Jeff and his wife Hina are empty nesters and live in Naples, Florida. They have four grown children.
What is Super Aging, and how would you define a “super ager?”
Super Aging is a new way of looking at conventional aging. It’s about employing a fresh way of thinking and a new mindset about what it means to grow older. Instead of being fearful and apprehensive about aging, there are things we can do and habits we can create to make aging, and particularly our retirement years, more enjoyable, fulfilling, healthy, purposeful, and full of meaning.
A super ager is a person who truly believes that age is only a number; that we have within us the ability and power through our life choices, attitudes, and habits to live an extraordinary life. They believe that they can live a life free from the conventional limitations and beliefs about aging that can be so destructive. Super agers embrace a holistic lifestyle that puts no limits on their quality of life.
What is the Super Aging Framework? Are any of the elements more important than the others?
I view that the Super Aging Framework provides the pillars to create the highest quality of life during your later years. It starts with mindset — moving from fear about the aging process to a sense of purpose and empowerment. The Framework includes critical elements of life, like health and wellness, relationships, finances, finding purpose and meaning, mastering your emotions, and finding home and community.
People can begin the super aging process today — wherever they are in their life journey — whether they’re 35 or 85 years old. The point is to start creating healthy, life-affirming habits now. The sooner, the better!
If I had to choose one element of the Framework that is most critical, I would have to say it’s mindset. Healthy aging is about seeing the next phase of your life as a new beginning full of opportunity and growth. It’s about being positive, resilient, and embracing this time in life, even when times get tough and life isn’t perfect.
Is there one key element that people often overlook? In other words, is there a common mistake you see people make as they start addressing this phase of their lives?
We talk about “retirement readiness” in the book. It’s most often associated with financial preparedness, but it’s much more. I believe that many people neglect to plan appropriately for life after work and career, raising kids, and life before retirement. Certainly, to enjoy the super aging lifestyle, you need to know if you have enough money to retire. Does your plan include living to age 100 or beyond? Have you considered and planned for the unexpected?
Beyond a financial plan aspects, people should answer the questions,
- What’s going to motivate me to get out of bed every morning?
- Have I scheduled purposeful and meaningful activities into my life?
- How will I continue to grow my relationship with others and make new friends?
- Now that I have “time” in my life, what will I do to make the most of it?
Here at Empty Nest Blessed, we talk a lot about the importance of having a sense of purpose as you age. Many empty nesters struggle with that, and you address it so well in your book. Could you share some tips on how to go about finding a sense of purpose in your later years?
I like to say that super agers are innovators and influencers. As empty nesters, we can reimagine our lives, dream, and do things we never had the time or opportunity to complete.
I believe discovering our purpose and significance in life as we age can be one of the most challenging things. It comes down to answering a few questions.
- What is the “why” of my existence?
- Who do I want my life to impact?
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What am I really good at doing?
- Who could benefit from my time. talents, and treasure if I chose to invest in them today?
You’ll find the doors open to new possibilities when you answer these questions! Maybe you’ll find purpose and meaning in a volunteer opportunity, a new business idea, or as a mentor or friend to someone in need. Purpose does need to be “big” by worldly standards — it just needs to be meaningful to you.
In Super Aging, you talk about the importance of flexibility in aging. As an empty nester, I feel like I’m actually LESS flexible than I was when I had kids at home! Can you tell us more?
Living a flexible lifestyle means accepting that life is not always going to be perfect, but we can find richness, blessing, and courage to face all of life — the good, bad, and the ugly. When you remain flexible, you don’t let your fears overcome you; you don’t allow stress to control you; you gain a perspective of life focused on who and what is most meaningful and important in the moment.
Life does have a way of throwing us the occasional “curveball!” Having a flexible mindset says, “I can do this! I may need to make some adjustments to my plans, but I will make the most of my life and this moment.”
In your book, you share some “perks” of aging that no one ever really talks about. I loved that! Would you please share some of those with us?
It’s easy to buy into the negative stereotypes you’re bombarded with regarding aging. But, there are actually some amazing “perks” super agers have to look forward to! As you age, you tend to become happier with life and yourself. No longer is there the grind of the 9-5 job; life can become more balanced and stress-free. You enjoy the gift of time — enjoying new hobbies, exercise, travel, practicing your faith and reflecting on your spiritual life, enjoying time with loved ones and friends, rest, and sharing your wisdom with others.
Many thanks to author Jeff Cory for taking the time to meet with me and share his revolutionary approach to aging! His book has been a game-changer for me, and I know you’ll love it too! We recorded our interview for the Empty Nest Blessed YouTube channel, and in it, we covered some different things than we did in this written interview! You can watch it below.
We can age better today than our parents and grandparents did. Here’s to vitality, resilience, and freedom as we embrace aging with joy and purpose!