A Pediatrician’s guide to staying young forever
As a renowned and distinguished pediatrician with more than 25 years of experience, Dr. Shilpa Aroskar has seen it all—sudden unexpected deaths, pain and sufferings. Being a frontline warrior battling the pandemic, this versatile doctor had every reason to lose out on hope, on laughter, on the little joys of life over the last few months. But with an ever-jubilant attitude and calling herself a SEENAGER (senior teenager), she lays down some “secrets” on how to stay eternally young—at mind, body and soul.
Starting With an Anecdote
Shilpa was in her consulting room, seeing patients. “Monsoon Maladies” was in full swing like a seasonal sale for physicians. Her clinic was flooded with ailing and wailing children. It was taking a toll on her beauty sleep, meal timings, exercise routine and she looked haggard. Under eye dark circles, puffy eyes, crow lines at corner, laugh lines mocking at her and 50 shades of grey in her hair postponed to “dye” another day.
She was examining a 1-year-old patient, the father whom she had treated as a child. Suddenly, he unexpectedly said, “Doc, you look just the same like you did 20 years back, except some greys in your hair! What is your secret for looking young and maintaining yourself?” This was a melody to Shilpa’s ears amidst the maladies. Her heart leapt like that of a teenager and the colour of her cheeks returned. It was her “Santoor” moment! (We all remember the Santoor soap advertisement where a daughter suddenly comes and the visitor is taken aback that the youthful lady is a mother).
Like a Bollywood celebrity, she almost flaunted a long list of youth elixirs—papaya, walnuts, coconut water, yoga, meditation, eight hours of sleep and more and more—none of which she actually inculcated in her life. Monkey glands, goats testicles, fermented donkey milk all have been investigated over the centuries by those pursuing the elusive elixir of eternal youth. Some of the world’s finest scientific minds are devoted to exploring every gene and cell in our bodies to pause ageing. Silicon Valley billionaires like Amazon Jeff Bezos are funding in “rejuvenation science”.
Age Is Just a Number
When a person hits half century in age, common questions they are bombarded with are how they feel, what their plan is, whether they have any resolution for the second half.. Questions like these from colleagues and relatives reverberated like a gunshots to Shilpa’s ears as well and tugged at her heart. To top it up, she heavily felt the pressure to “perform” after 50 (perform in career and life) as others usually expect. She truly didn’t understand all these interrogations, because she still felt like an 18-year-old, whose which still fluttered at the sight of hunks. Also her brain had a childlike curiosity towards things, always wanting to learn and absorb like a sponge. Inside every old person is a young person, probably wondering what the hell happened!
What people often fail to realise is that it is not about how old you are, but how young you feel. It is also about how much exuberance you have for life and the zest to do things. If you are living like a dead person, carrying on your daily ratatouille without joy or passion then even at 30, you are like a 60-year-old.
So how do we stay young? Being a pediatrician, she spends her maximum time with children and that helps to keep the child in her alive. As we grow older, we lose our ability to enjoy small things in life. We run on life’s treadmill, chasing materialistic pleasures; we judge more trust less; we worry and hurry, frown more laugh less. All these are scientifically proven to add more wrinkles to our face and age us early. Our face is a reflection of our inner state of mind. Blissful heart and a peaceful mind add glow to one’s face.
Health is Wealth Indeed
A healthy lifestyle definitely improves our longevity. These are few of Shilpa’s beauty secrets which are affordable and available easily.
- Health: You are what you eat. One can grow from “flabulous” to fabulous with maintaining a balanced diet and not giving in to cravings. The three whites you should use miserly are salt, sugar and maida. Let your plate be colourful with greens, orange, and red. Use farm (fruits and vegetables) not pharma (pills). More feelings and fewer fillings in samosas, before it’s too late and tummy returns.
- Hydrate yourself throughout the day. And not with any liquid of your choice, but just water.
- Exercise daily. Our joints get stiffer and muscles taut so needs to be lubricated well by regular stretches, brisk walk or yoga. Any form of exercise is good, but be mindful of building it as a daily routine, just like brushing your teeth.
- Mental health is very important: Our body is so beautifully designed that the waste and toxins are regularly flushed by the kidneys. But what can you do about the emotional toxins that get accumulated, like anger, jealousy, hatred, insecurity? Inculcate in yourself the sense of gratitude and forgiveness and practice some simple daily rituals to keep flushing out all negativities.
Relationships Are Key
For Shilpa, her friends are everything from a stress buster to a life support. She always ensures to make time from her busy schedule to meet with her bunch of friends every fortnight. Needless to say, it is a crazy bunch of old pals with the same mind-set, or perhaps, the same ‘mental disorder’ as they call it. They still behave like they did in college, laugh at the same old jokes till their faces hurt. They help each other navigate life’s burdens by sharing and caring. And this definitely makes them feel young. With age, some get wisdom and some wisecracks.
Building relationships are key to our happiness. Harmony at home and peace at work place keep diabetes, hypertension, and heart attacks at bay. Expectations are weeds and relationships are seeds. Water them with love and forgiveness. Fill up your emotional bank account and never be in debt.
Growing Old Happens, But Growing Up Is Optional
Live like a child; be crazy, laugh at your own stupidity, let go of ego, don’t wait for approval from others. Just be you! Walk away from situations or people who make you unhappy but don’t waste time at this age to explain or prove yourself to others. You don’t have a curfew, you have a license to drive, you own a car, can go to a bar, no acne, almost everything we all wanted as a teenager we have finally got at this age. And we are less bothered about what others think of us.
And do take your daily dose of Vitamins – Vit A-ffection, Vit B-onding, Vit C-aring, Vit D-edication and Vit E-nriching yourself with experiences.
Inject laughter not Botox.
Use fillers of positivity not Hyaluronic acid.
Plug the pores of worry and radiate with joy.
Love your “real” face, imperfect yet honest, and not the one with filters on Facebook. Ultimately, the secret to eternal youth, for her, is an immense love for the precious gift called LIFE. If there is one important thing that the pandemic also has taught us in the last two years, it is that our health is our real wealth. For Shilpa, she is determined to stay an 18-year-old till she dies. After all, as Satchel Paige very wisely puts it, age is a question of mind over matter, if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.
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