Be sure to follow the ‘rules for aging’

Last Wednesday, like every other morning, I got up at 7 a.m. from a restful sleep.
Sipping a cup of coffee in the living room with my family, I checked the Weather Channel. In the middle of winter, the forecast was almost 50 degrees. What a nice day!
Then, after a healthy bowl of oatmeal, I was off to strength training and water exercise classes. As usual, we had lots of fun and laughter while we worked out.
By 10 a.m., I had accomplished my daily wellness list—plenty of sleep, healthy diet, exercise, and social interaction.
Then, I sat down to read Roger Rosenblatt’s little book titled “Rules for Aging.” To my surprise, according to Rosenblatt, I hadn’t even begun to address the really important rules.
I had focused on traditional aging advice, like exercise, diet, and social interaction. Rosenblatt, on the other hand, has written 58 nuggets of homespun wisdom—wisdom that everyone of every age will innately recognize as truth.
Rule #1 is “It doesn’t matter.”
This rule is a favourite of radio host Garrison Keillor, television commentator Jim Lehrer, and Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau. Trudeau says he has been “trying it here at my desk, and it works.”
“It does not matter,” says Rosenblatt, “if you are late, or early . . . if you are having a bad hair day, or a no hair day . . . if you don’t get that promotion, or if you do.”
Think about all the things you worry about. Will they really matter in the long haul?
Another rule that imparts profound wisdom is #23—“Never miss an opportunity to do nothing.”
Don’t make unnecessary phone calls. Don’t do anything mean. Don’t give false compliments. Doing nothing at the right times could make quite a difference in your busyness.
Some of the book’s short essays are “very” short! For example, Rule #53 “Never do it for the money.” This title says it all. The text reads “I mean it.”
And Rule #29 “Envy no one—ever” has only a title and no text at all.
When you feel people are critical of you or plotting against you, read Rule #2: “Nobody is thinking about you.” It will help you to remember that nobody has time enough to think about you.
“They are thinking about themselves—just like you,” says Rosenblatt.
One reviewer said she wishes she would have realized the importance of this rule 40 years ago. Garrison Keillor and Jim Lehrer voiced similar sentiments.
You may feel the same way when you read the book. But don’t worry about the past. Start applying the uncommon wisdom in this book right now—whether you’re 30 or 50 or 90.
The first edition of “Rules for Aging” had this subtitle: “Resist Normal Impulses, Live Longer, Attain Perfection.”
So if you want to live longer, don’t give up the recommendations from your doctor. That advice can help you stay vigorous and physically healthy. But why not add Rosenblatt’s unconventional social rules for aging?
You may not attain perfection following the “Rules for Aging,” but you’ll have a better chance of living a longer and happier life.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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