I started to think about living a very long life. What would it require?
“133 years old” is the aspirational age I choseafter reading Dan Sullivan, and his ideas of how to extend our lives by first setting a goal. You are supposed to select a number beyond the current life expectancy that you want to live to, and then make a choice about how you will spend those extra years.
Then I came across Dr. Jeffery Gladden’s Apex Longevity clinic, which aims to reverse engineer your health so that you can be the robust state of a 33-year-old for all of those remaining years.
So I set about to get myself healthier in my new commitment to living an extraordinarily long life.
I stopped drinking entirely. With the exception of an annual bender with my wife and friends at New Orleans Jazz Fest.
And I started doing more yoga, eating more vegetables.
I even crawl on the floor with my trainer so that at some future date when my sons mature enough to have their own families, I’ll be able to crawl on the floor with my grandkids.
What I’m trying to tell you is, I did very human things to offset death. Things both normal and bizarre in order to make me feel hopeful of living until 133.
And the truth is I was pretty healthy until 8pm every single day.
But at 8pm, I wanted crackers and cookies.
Don’t we all? No?
On a recent business trip to Dallas, I stopped in on Dr. Gladden’s clinic and decided to do some testing.
And then, about 6 weeks ago, I got a call from one of the doctors that scared the shit out of me.
Let me just say this: when you invest in the act of going to a longevity clinic you automatically think you’ve got the system beat. Just by showing up and charging the credit card you’ve received insurance against the inevitable.
So the lead doctor from the clinic – after I’ve come and gone and I’m safely back in Columbus, Ohio – calls me and says: “I’ve got your results, and it’s not good.”
He might have even used the word “crisis”, but I instantly went deep inside to my daydreaming inner child. A very quiet place.
It’s a technique I learned to use in fearful or uncomfortable situations. I literally stop hearing the person, or anything else in the world, and yet, I can give all the head-nods, and “uh-huh‘s” necessary to get to the end.
After a very long pause in which I was far, far away, I finally whispered unconsciously, “What does that mean, ‘not good’?”
To which he says, “You need an echogram and a CAT scan, you are not in immediate danger, but I’d like it done in the next few days.”
Which is it?!? The next few days or I’m not in immediate danger?
Is this because of the cookies?
From daydreamer mode, I immediately went into my second most familiar default: the catastrophic, I’m-about-to-die mode.
I scheduled the CAT scan and started hugging my wife so much I’m sure it was annoying. And I kissed my kids with a severity that probably confused them.
In those few short days between the call and the test, either at the dinner table, or as I was drifting asleep, everything would turn cinematic, and I would think:
Is this it? Is this the last moment of my life?
Heart attack now?
What about now?
I would blink, surprised I was still alive. Without a single flutter in my chest.
Then, the test itself. Itself, a test of mortality. I went into the bright white tube thinking I don’t know what they are going to find. All of this just as I’m getting my groove with life.
I think you probably know where this is headed.
I did not go straight into surgery. In fact, there was zero evidence that I was going to have a catastrophic ending.
I was going to live, in fact. They found pretty much nothing wrong with me, a bit of plaque that if cookies and crackers continue to be the preferred diet, I’d likely have an issue about 20 years down the road.
So what was this week-long experience about?
I determined that it was a nudge from the Universe.
How do you want to shift right now?
The Universe asked me. It could all be over tomorrow, but if it’s not, how do you want to live?
Well, in that case, I have a long-winded response back to the Universe:
- I will cherish what I have with great regard for exactly what it is.
- I will live in the center of warm love for all the people in my life, and not in the rush of needing to do things.
- Be of service now. Not later – now.
- Commit to helping those around me have access to the love I am so privileged to have.
- Be here to help people free themselves from unnecessary suffering (do this for myself, too).
am here to play, have fun, and be less afraid, worried and annoyed. How
I choose to be with life is far more important than what I choose to do
with life. ELF, as my friend Joe Polish preaches: Easy, Lucrative, Fun.
So I’ve committed myself to shifting my work, to writing more, sharing myself more openly on this and other platforms, and to telling the truth about how I’m doing.
And I am opening up time in my schedule to work one-on-one with people. Many people have served as my transformational teacher/coach/guide, and to give back, I’ve got to start doing this for others.
Go directly toward that which fills your soul.
I’ve always gone the round about way to my greatest goals and passions, instead of moving directly toward my desires. And so I ended up ‘helping people’ through building buildings, or satisfying my creative itch through the design of those buildings. Instead of just helping people and doing art.
Even helping others can be a bit of an escape from the real work we are here to do. So I will continue to look at myself, embrace the resistance, see it as the way through the suffering to freedom. And recognize that everything is so perfect and beautiful exactly as it is. The ‘I am’ that is my essence, the one aligned with my soul, let it shine.
Being good to my body.
The cookies and crackers have got to go. The running has to come back. The bosu ball instead of the couch. Those things that keep both the mind and the body healthy.
The Ultimate Gift to My Health? Forgiveness.
I will live longer, but not just because of the 70 supplements I’m now taking daily, but because of the big giant ball of forgiveness and love that I’ve embraced in my body. Deep in my body, so deep that it wants to love all of the pieces of me and everyone around me.
Going to the longevity clinic worked, btw. Not as insurance against death, but it taught me to reconcile my goal with my reality. Living a long life is what I was looking for, and the truth is, I’ve since learned what I need to do.
I’ve mostly learned that living a long life is a nice idea, a good
goal, but if you aren’t awake, free or loving enough to really enjoy it, why
would you aspire?
For me, I had to get scared enough in order to really understand how to extend my life. Whether it works or not, I had to get to a deeper why about what it means to be alive.