Live your life without regard to the critics

You won’t find her listed in most literary anthologies, and there would be plenty of critics to sneer at her writing.
But that really doesn’t matter. Because Dame Barbara Cartland was the people’s author, much as her step-granddaughter, Lady Di, was the people’s princess.
And critics aside, Cartland forever will be remembered as the most prolific and one of the most loved writers of the 20th century.
When Cartland died recently just two months short of her 99th birthday, she had authored an astounding 723 books–books that had sold one billion copies in 36 languages.
Among them hundreds of feel-good, pink, and frilly romance novels. All with happy endings. And it was those books that earned her the title “Queen of Romance.”
But it was another little-known side of Barbara Cartland that won her the distinction of Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1991.
Throughout her life, Cartland was a champion for the poor and downtrodden, as well as a great believer in everyone’s right at every age to find and enjoy energy-giving health.
It’s hard to imagine a person as versatile as Dame Barbara Cartland. She was famous for wearing pink chiffon clothing and yet organized the first woman-only motor race at the famed Brooklands circuit.
For many years, including into her late 90s, she wrote a well-researched historical novel every two weeks. Yet she had time to travel widely, meet with heads of state, visit almost daily with representatives of the media, lecture to various groups, and pursue her favourite causes.
She was appalled at the status of gypsies in England and campaigned for permanent gypsy sites. The first such site was named Barbaraville in her honour.
Cartland was equally appalled at the status of older adults in England and around the world. She believed in fitness for the elderly and refused to think of beauty as belonging solely to young people. At age 82, she wrote a book called “Getting Older, Growing Younger.”
She first studied herbal medicine in the early 1930s, and continued to study and research through several decades. Among her numerous books on health is “The Magic of Honey,” written in 1970–a book that doubled the sale of honey in Great Britain and around the world.
Cartland credited her healthful and productive longevity to a careful regimen of good food, vitamins, and positive thinking.
“You are what you eat” and “You become what you think about,” said Cartland. And when she died, Cartland’s son said, “Her glamour, style, and vitality can never be repeated.”
That statement may be true but it doesn’t mean we can’t try.
Certainly there are a lot of factors that contributed to Dame Barbara Cartland’s vital aging. Working hard, eating healthy foods, taking vitamins, relating to family and friends, thinking positive, and caring about the needs of other people.
But probably none of those would really have helped if she had listened to the critics. People around the world were made happy by her books, and the fact the literary critics were inclined to sneer didn’t matter to her one bit.
So what about you? Are you ever tempted to defer to the naysayers? If so, why not stop listening to the ever-present critics and start doing the things you’ve always wanted to do right now.
It just could be the first step toward vital aging.

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