On the morning of Oct. 13, William Shatner, who became an icon as Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek, boldly went where no man at the age of 90 has ever gone before as he was launched in a Blue Origin rocket out of Earth’s atmosphere.
If anyone saw footage of him in press conferences, or in training, or just ascending the multiple levels of stairs to enter the space capsule, he looked like someone in their 60s or 70s. How is it that someone his age can be so spry and actually be launched into space?
Well, there is a common thread with him and many other iconic figures who are well into their “senior” years but seem to be eternally young: They have all achieved balance in their lives among finances, health, and lifestyles lived with passion and purpose.
For example, Mick Jagger, 78, has just launched a global 50th anniversary tour with the Rolling Stones. Paul McCartney is 79 and continues to put out records and tour the world, playing shows that can last up to four hours.
Clint Eastwood is 90 and just directed and starred in his latest movie; he has now been in more than 60 movies over his career. Helen Mirren is an Academy Award-winning actress who, at age 76, is still making movies, with exciting things to come out in 2022.
What do they all have in common? First of all, none of them needs the money. They are pursuing their passions and determined to keep going full steam ahead for as long as they can.
They all operate with a mindset that age is just a number and that living with purpose, a positive attitude, and the ability to adapt to the constantly changing conditions of life can keep them much younger than their years.
These stars and many others now talk about how they have made changes in their lives to eat healthier, exercise more, spend more time with their loved ones, and remain active, pursuing their passions. They have also been smart about their money.
There are two forms of age — chronological and physical — and they are not always the same.
A person like William Shatner has the chronological age of 90, but his physical age is much younger. In fact, there are epigenetic tests people can use that can show them their actual physical age is different from their chronological age.
And the good news is it’s never too late to start making changes that will improve a person’s health (and their finances). Based on how a person lives, they can even modify these differences with smart lifestyle choices. If someone quits smoking, starts working out, improves their diet, and reduces stress in their life, they can set the clock back on their physical age.
It has been proven over and over that aging is not a one-way ticket to poor health, loneliness, boredom, and a declining quality of life. The ability to adapt to the inevitability of changes in almost all areas of life is one of the most important ingredients to aging with success.
Living a life making smart investments in financial, physical, and lifestyle health will culminate in a well-balanced retirement. A person doesn’t need to be a star to make the right choices that will let them live like one. If Mick Jagger can rock the stage at 78, and William Shatner can literally fly among the stars at age 90, then there are lessons we can all learn about how to live a long, healthy, and meaningful life well into retirement.
Voyagers have looked to the stars to navigate their way for eons, and people can look to these stars as examples of what is possible as they navigate their way through the years.
Chris Orestis, known as the “Retirement Genius,” is a nationally recognized healthcare expert and senior advocate. He has 25 years’ experience in the insurance and long-term care industries and is the author of Help on the Way and A Survival Guide to Aging.