What You Can Learn from a 93-Year-Old

Meet Deborah Szekely (pronounced SAY-Kay), the co-founder of the Rancho La Puerta (named 2013′s #1 World’s Best Destination Spa by Travel + Leisure Magazine) and the Golden Door spas. She’s 91 years young, and when she appears at a talk, she’s sprightlier than many women half her age.

After listening to her weekly workshop at the Ranch this is what this editor gleaned.

The only pills she takes are vitamins, a little something for her thyroid and a B12 shot every month. She is living evidence that 91 is the new 60?

Those who know her well say that on the occasion of her 85th birthday, she announced that she intended to only age one year in the next five, and listening to her speak recently it seems she’s accomplished it.

She eats no red meat or chicken and follows a diet “as close to nature as possible.” She does pilates at 8am every morning, and walks on her treadmill every afternoon. Her weight has stayed steady at 118 to 122 pounds for decades.

Szekely ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 1982 but found a new chapter in her life in public service in Washington D.C. In 1984, President Reagan appointed her president of the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), an independent foreign assistance agency of the U.S. government which supports grassroots development by awarding grants directly to the organized poor in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Today her daughter runs Rancho La Puerta, and Szekely spends her days traveling and giving speeches to promote her Wellness Warrior initiative, a plan that aims to raise $10 million dollars by collecting $10 each from one million people. The money will be used to fund lobbying efforts to raise awareness and fight companies aiming to “poison people”—this includes by Pharma, fast-food, farming and agricultural companies that use pesticides and antibiotics.

What You Can Learn
from a 93-year-old

  1. Follow a Mediterranean diet: Lots of olive oil and fresh organic veggies.
  2. Cognitive decline is linked with hearing loss: So, wear a hearing aid if you need one. When you’re busy trying to hear, you’re not busy thinking.
  3. Eat protein at every meal.
  4. Leave the office at work. Take time to allow your mind to wander.
  5. Take a moment to feel blessed
  6. Take periods of silence throughout the day
  7. Put ideas on a suspension line, take some down, look at them, and put them back up—if they’re good, they’ll come back around.
  8. Take ownership of your time.
  9. Have a conversation with your body. Learn how to listen. You can heal yourself of many ailments if you listen. Pain is a message. We’re over-medicated as a country.
  10. Take care of your body or you will become its slave.