Thoughts on Turning 80: Age is an Attitude, Not a Number!

I still believe, ‘The Best Is Yet to Come!’

I’m celebrating my 80th birthday this week and also the 30th anniversary of the founding of Murad Skincare, the company I launched at 50—an age that many people are beginning to think about retirement, not ambitious new endeavors. But I’ve never been one to follow the herd, nor accept the conventional wisdom—most of which is cautionary. I encourage my patients to do the same: Follow your passion, regardless of the naysayers! There’s a reason that your unique seed of inspiration has been planted inside of you. YOU must be the one to water it and make it grow.

In my case, the company I founded at age 50 has become one of the world’s most successful skincare companies…because we had the science to confirm that our products really work. (They have to; I put my name on them!) Yet, proud as I am of our company’s success, my underlying purpose has never been to achieve wealth or fame, but to make people healthier and happier. That’s why I coined the phrase “Modern Wellness.” I hope that “The Father of Modern Wellness” will be the contribution for which I am most remembered.

Now that I’m reaching “elderhood,” people often ask me for the secrets to my health, happiness, and longevity. If you’re a patient or friend, you’ve heard me repeat them hundreds of times. For example:

Eat your water!

Food is medicine!

Embrace your inner toddler!

80% of health resides in the brain! and

Be imperfect, live longer…because age is an attitude, not a number!

Although I’ve made my share of mistakes—and even skirted financial disaster—I continue to believe that “The best is yet to come!” I’ve found it to be true, time and time again, that when you expect the best, you very often get it. So, as I celebrate my 80th birthday I’m planning to release a new book, Seven Secrets to a Healthier and Happier Life, which represents the distillation of eight decades of living, learning, and helping my patients live happier, healthier lives. (I “secretly” believe there will be eight—or maybe even nine or 10—secrets eventually, I just haven’t lived them yet!)

Although the book won’t be released until later this year, the “Seven Secrets” (spoiler alert!) include:

Happiness resides within. Despite what advertisers and social media might have you believe, happiness is an inside job. As so many successful people have discovered, the big house, luxury car, “trophy wife,” and other culturally prescribed status symbols don’t necessarily confer happiness, which is unique to each individual and must be individually pursued.

Honor yourself. Most people are unaware of their enormous personal worth and potential. They heap praise on famous actors, star athletes, powerful politicians, rich businessmen, or members of some distant royal family, but seldom, if ever, themselves. Yet a strong sense of personal worthiness is key to health, happiness, and success in business, sports, personal relationships, or any other meaningful pursuit. Until you feel worthy of success, you won’t experience it. Until you feel worthy of love, you are unlikely to receive it. We are all worthy and we should remind ourselves of that every single day.

Why have a bad day when you can have a good day? Certainly, we all face challenges, disappointments, and even tragedies, yet too often there is good in our lives that we overlook. I learned this lesson from my father, who had to flee Iraq when I was a child and supported our large family on minimum wage as a messenger in Manhattan. One day he was mugged in the subway on the way home from work. Somebody took the few dollars he had on him, beat him up, chipped his teeth, and broke his glasses. He barely managed to drag himself home and up the steps to our tiny apartment. My mother and the rest of us were frantic, because he really was in terrible shape. Even so, what he said to us was this: “Don’t worry about it; my left leg still works!” No matter what life dished out to him, he was determined to focus on the positive. I feel grateful to have learned that lesson from him at an early age!

Beware of creating your own stress. Life is stressful enough without us adding to it! I have a number of sayings related to this: “If it’s not a big deal, don’t make a big deal of it.” Don’t let social media and constant digital connectivity run your life. “Practice living ‘eyes up’”—e.g., enjoying the world around you, not the virtual world on your screen. Learn to say no to constant virtual connectivity in favor of real-time physical connectivity. You’ll find that it’s a wonderful stress-reliever!

Be imperfect; live longer. Like the previous insight, this secret reminds us that perfection is an illusion. None of us is perfect; we’re each uniquely imperfect. Celebrate your own imperfections. Ironically, people who accept themselves are likely to continue to develop and grow. Perfectionism, on the other hand, ensures failure—because no one is perfect! And the frustration, disappointment, and stress we feel from failing to live up to an impossible standard makes us unhappy and unhealthy.

One key can open many doors. Rather than treat the symptoms of our unhappiness or “dis-ease,” it’s important to search deeply within ourselves to identify and address the root cause. Once we do, a whole host of symptoms may “magically” disappear. For example, one of my patients—in the book, I call her Deborah—was very unhappy. I’d given her a set of my Insight cards in the hope of helping her, but she’d thrown them out—except one. “Forgive yourself,” it said. That card she kept where she would see it from time to time, until one day she realized she could not afford to wait for others to forgive her; she would have to forgive herself! That single realization freed her to make other changes that transformed her life. That one key opened many doors.

Give Yourself Permission to be Healthy, Happy, and Successful. We all want to be happy, to feel attractive, accomplished, successful, and fulfilled, but often there is something in the way, something holding us back. In nearly every case the obstacle is the same: we feel as if we have not earned the right to be happy, as if need permission. Years ago, it occurred to me that there is an easy way out of this predicament. We can give ourselves permission to be happy, to be successful, to fulfill our dreams, to achieve or acquire whatever we want or need!

So, whatever age you are, make it your best age yet. Anticipate that the best is yet to come—and set about making that the truth of your life!

(To read more about why I believe “The Best Is Yet to Come,” purchase the book on Amazon.)


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