My mother always used to say, “Take it easel Geisel, you’ve got a long way to slide.” It has taken most of my life to figure out just what she meant by that coded statement.

A lot of health issues hit me when I reached the half century mark. I felt fairly beat up back then, and that was over 26 years ago. Now. I look back at those years and think of them as pretty much my banner years.

If I had really understood how long I would need to use this old body of mine, I would have taken better care of it. Now I am trying to treat the old body with more tender loving care, because it may have a long time yet to go.

Book lists recently show I am not the only one searching for elixirs to aid, not only in longevity but keeping healthy and happy. Think of this column as your Cliff Notes on two of the trending books on the topic.

One is a comprehensive, medically-based book by Peter Attia M.D., titled “Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity.”’s description of this book describes it as “a new approach to preventing chronic disease and extending long-term health, from a visionary physician and leading longevity expert.”

Unfortunately, it is human nature to seek ways to cure instead of prevent. Yes, prevention is indeed worth more than a pound of cure. Some things seem too basic, but they are none-the-less true.

Bishop Desmond Tutu once said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.”

Just focus on good nutrition since the first point made is on diet. You are what you eat. Begin by deciding not take that second serving, then build from there. Orson Welles once famously said, “My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people attending.”

Even the longest journey starts out with the first step. Walk a short way, then try to go a little further. Exercise! Carl Sagan advised, “Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity, as by ignorance, particularly our ignorance about ourselves.”

Knowledge is power. Learn the warning signs of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and diabetes. Post them on your fridge, your body will thank you. And that is never truer than when you are dealing with your own health. Ignorance can be deadly.

We need to get enough sleep. A car will not run without gas, a body cannot run without sleep. In the popular book, “The Well Lived Life,” by Gladys McGarey, M.D., the 102-year-old author claims to know six secrets to health and happiness at any age. She hooked me with that promise.

McGarey suggests the trick is based on a simple shift in our perspective; that healing comes from within. She adds, “To be truly alive, we must find the life force found within ourselves, and then direct our energy towards it.”

Your energy source is joy, or what to you is joy. When life gets tough, do not drag your feet. Seek to become more curious about life and engage. Living well is not for shrinking violets.

McGarey claims that a secret ingredient, which she refers to as juice, is really our own life energy and it is our own individual reason for living. She suggests asking ourselves Why am I here?

Life is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle and finding the next piece. Without motion or action, our mind and body can feel stuck. Life itself is always in motion, so when she tells us to align with our life force, she means we must always look for our flow within us.

A basic rule, and one hard to process, is to move through pain. This is the real-life version of what does not break us, makes us stronger. We all tend to hold onto things we need to set free.

Holding onto our burdens may not break our backs, but it sure can break our spirit. Love makes us stronger; fear makes us weaker. She admonishes us to avoid the negative.

Want to live longer and better? Work overtime to see the positives in your life, and then use them as your own personal superpowers.

Diana J. Ingram

Diana Ingram has been a columnist for Los Banos newspapers for four decades.