Recently I read about an amazing woman, Deborah Szekely, and I wanted to share her with you…..
Heading towards her 91st birthday, Deborah glows with an energy that one rarely finds in someone half her age. She does Pilates three times a week and trains three times a week with a Navy Seal. She is an 90 year-old woman who is not only very wise but who also could do more push ups than most 50 year-olds. When she said “I know that eventually I will get old,” I knew I needed to pay attention.
A Brief History
Deborah Szekely is the Brooklyn-born daughter of immigrant parents. Her father was in the garment business and her mother was a nurse and vice-president of a NYC vegetarian society. She lived on a beach in Tahiti as a child before moving back to the U.S. and married Edmond Szekely in 1939, a renowned health researcher, philosopher and author well-known for his theories of mind/body/spirit balance and living the longer healthier life.
In 1940, they rented land in a then-remote mountain-ringed valley in Mexico and founded a “health camp” focused on exercise and healthy eating called Rancho La Puerta. The first guests arrived in June 1940, and the rest is a remarkable history of serving hundreds of thousands of guests in the past 70 years – and changing untold lives in the process. Today, the resort, still in its original location, has evolved into a premiere luxury spa and has garnered accolades such as the 2010 Travel + Leisure magazine Readers’ Poll “World’s Best Destination Spa” award. In 1960, working alone, Deborah established another spa, the Golden Door in Escondido, California – long considered one of the preeminent spa experiences in the world.
Ten Life Principles of Deborah Szekely
Get healthy! It’s never too late to decide to be healthy. “Disease is not required. It is, to a great degree, a matter of choice. Our habit of diet, exercise and attitude can determine the quality of our lives. What good is it to live to be 100 if we don’t have the energy, health and vitality to enjoy it? It’s never too late to start becoming healthy and it’s so simple. When you start, just eat 20 percent less than normal and the excess pounds will go away. Eat slowly and eat local, seasonal and organic whenever possible.”
Start it. Even if you don’t know what’s next, take the first step. Once you get going with a project you’ll figure out what’s next. “We didn’t know what we were building, we just did what needed to be done each day.” Seventy years later, those days have added up to create one of the world’s premier health spas and resorts. And, it all started from taking the first step.
Take time for yourself. “Make time for you. Go outside in the morning and connect to Nature’s energy. Listen. Feel it. Problems will still be there but you get to share them in a different way.” When we connect to something bigger than us and take the time to go inside, we’ll find the answers we seek.
Start your day with the right attitude. “Each morning when you wake, connect with your body. Spend a moment wiggling and say ‘Good Morning’. Expect it to be a good day and it will be.” Our attitude determines our outcome.
Exercise and get moving! “At 90, I exercise six days a week. I still have a lot to do in my life! You can get as old as you’re willing to be. When you turn 60, exercise is doubly important, when you turn 70, even more. I have to exercise even more, not less, when I reach 95. I know that eventually I’ll get old, but for me, going on 91 is no different from 61!“
Smidgens add up. Many times we’ll have ‘just a smidgen’ of this or ‘just a smidgen’ of that … but those smidgens add up. If you eat fast food only twice a week, that adds up to more than 100 times a year, or almost 10,000 times if you live to be 100! Be aware of the long-term, cumulative effects of your choices, even if it’s ‘only a smidgen.’
Let your faith be bigger than your problems. “Everyone has problems. All you can do is your very best and that usually suffices — just do your best. I’m confident when I know I’ve done my best — it’s going to work out. The key is to look beyond the day and beyond the problem, by focusing on that future day.”
Life is about thirds. Life can be divided into three main sections. “The first third, from 0-30 is your youth. The second third is your adolescence, when we grow up to become a person. The third third of life, from 60 to 90 is the pinnacle of life, the years where we have the most freedom and choices — but you must be healthy!” (now that she’s in her 90th year and wholly un-fettered by age, she has to revisit – and perhaps re-number – the entire concept!)
Climb mountains! “Life is best lived when you have a goal, have a passion and find things that you believe in. These passions can change, just like when you climb a mountain, the horizon always changes. The higher you climb up the mountain the more you can see. As you summit the peak you might see another mountain top. Follow where your passion will lead you. Find the things you believe in and get addicted to mountain climbing.”
Give back. Being of service to others makes life more complete. “There’s just so much to do and I’m in a position to help make a difference … As an ‘Elder’, I believe that wisdom is experience plus judgment. I believe the elders are in a position to make a difference.”
“Eureka!,” says Deborah. “It’s one of my favorite words. It means, ‘I found it!’”
I know I’m inspired….you too? Let’s go ‘be a Deborah’ today, and ‘find it!’
Suite 215 | 4211 Fairfax Corner East Ave., Fairfax, VA 22030 | Phone: 703-222-0122
contributions to today’s blog courtesy of: Sentinel News and Gail Lynne Goodwin