Friday, January 4, 2013

12 Ways to Live a Better Life

Jason over at Barefoot Running University has posted his responses to a fantastic article by Cornell gerontologist, Karl A. Pillemer, which recently appeared in the Washington Post, "12 Ways to Live a Better Life." The article, based on his book 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, incorporates data from interviews with over 1000 people over the age of 65 to impart their time earned wisdom to us. 

May we live better in light to their advice!

  1. Marry someone you like. I married my best friend and fall in love with her more deeply with every day.
  2. Act now if you need your body for the next 100 years. Check! This is what this blog is all about. I've lost 50 pounds in the past year, and Rachel and I just started the Whole 30 (my second time through). I have to confess, though, that I do not lift enough heavy things, and ultrarunning itself lends itself to overtraining and chronic cardio, which can be quite unhealthy. To that end, I've started a functional fitness program through Kemme Fitness and am adjusting my training plans to listen to my body, not race as many ultras each year, and so on.
  3. Stay connected. I'm working on this one and enjoying the greater connectedness, to wife, friends, and family. I will also be volunteering at some races in the near future to maintain friendships that I've forged on the trails.
  4. Be able to look everyone in the eye. I am trying to live transparently, rather than hiding behind a facade. Wearing masks is so common, but I'm trying to own my feelings and express them in appropriate contexts—especially to Rachel. 
  5. Say yes to opportunities. This is sometimes really hard for me. While I really love change (really), I find it hard to stick my neck out there and "go for it" on taking trips or putting that task on hold to go have spontaneous fun.
  6. Send flowers to the living. I fail at this completely. I communicate my love for others readily, just not through flowers.
  7. Travel more. See #5. I'd love to travel more with Rachel, go on running trips, and other vacations (Europe, Asia, etc), but find it really hard to "get away." Also, I'm a grad student and money is at a premium.
  8. With adult children, YOU usually need to compromise. N/A just yet.
  9. Share time with your children. N/A just yet.
  10. Find freedom. I really want to cultivate this is my work life. When I get a job a school (pay attention, future employers!), I'm really only interested in a job that lets me be myself intellectually and theologically without exceptions. This is a major issue in my field at the moment; I really can't compromise on this. I also find immense freedom in running and the solitude it brings. Nothing beats being on the trail for hours with no other company than the wildlife. Oddly, I've also found this in running barefoot or in primal footwear (huaraches and mocassins). Completely apart from that running book, there is something primal and spiritual about running (especially on trails) with barely anything on your feet.
  11. Take advantage of the time you have. I am really trying to embrace this concept in my daily life; I'm trying to "number my days." More on this as it develops.
  12. Wasting time worrying about growing old. Sounds good. I'm only 29 (for a few more months), so this one hasn't really bothered me just yet.
Here's a video promo of the book, which I just ordered on Amazon:


  1. This is neat, Mike! Thanks for sharing. About #6 - I don't need flowers. You show me love in other tangible ways that I appreciate even more than flowers... like cooking for me daily (multiple times daily!) and other ways that I shouldn't mention on this blog. ;) I love you!

  2. Thanks so much, babe. That's really kind of you. (and I'm blushing!)