There are few greater feelings than being inspired and motivated. Regardless of what or who it is, or what we do that makes us tick -- it's important to feel positive and enthusiastic about life. So as we venture once again into a new year, let's vow to look for the good news in life and see how much better we may feel as a result.

The attitude of gratitude -- being appreciative for the many blessings we have in our lives is a wonderful way to start. Certainly there will always be changes and challenges along the way, but to move on and forge forward leaving the negative behind has proven to be one of the key components in maintaining well-being late in life.

Working in the field of aging is truly one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I believe I could ever be involved in. Some find it strange perhaps, that at a time in life where losses and decline are inevitable, there could be much good in that. However, what being with seniors, ie. the "wisdom keepers," has taught me (and the research confirms) is that it's what's deep inside us that really matters -- what we think and what we feel can be ageless.

Some may think I'm referring to agelessness as being young. Nope, that's not what I mean. What I'm talking about is being accepting of who we are, with all the changes and challenges we've experienced along the way and knowing that each of these life situations has contributed to who we are today.

People are always fascinated by centenarians -- those living to the age of 100, and are often intrigued with what it takes to live that long. New studies show that while genetics and exercise certainly play a role, a key component routinely being addressed now is their ability to rolll with the punches and handle stress.

Living to 100, just in itself, would likely seem to give you alot of practice at doing this, but I believe it takes one more key ingredient and that is morale -- you've got to feel good about yourself, your fellow man, and life itself -- otherwise it's a losing battle. You've got to have faith and hope that good things will come -- if you believe, you will achieve and all those other cliches can be powerful words when used in the right context.

I'm inspired daily in my work and study on aging. From the actual seniors themselves, to the research and professionals in this field. One of my true professional "heroes" is Adam Milgram, Executive Director of the Sam & Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging at UCSD and editor of Healthwise, their monthly newsletter. We are so lucky to have such an amazing institution and resource in our own backyard, fully dedicated to advancing lifelong health and independence through research, education and patient care.

In his recent colunn, Milgram magnificently addressed his own personal "aging" experience, from the standpoint where many people come from, that he doesn't feel or think his age. It's not that he feels old or young, or even middle-aged -- but rather like an ageless person, where age and aging is just not meaningful.

This is a good thing because it's believed by aging researchers today that it's the psychological age -- how old we feel, that is far more important and influential in determining how our aging years will be, than the chonological age -- how old we actually are.

But where does that come from and how can we all have that feeling? There is no magic pill or potion, but the good news is -- it comes from within. Someplace deep inside each of us -- "an invisible part, not mind or body, but of some finer substance that never ages," as Milgram describes. In short, as Milgram puts it, "it resides in a state of pure being, not becoming. It just "is," and therefore has no age -- it's ageless!"

So it's not about being younger -- it's about finding our "true being," according to Milgram, "which lies deep within, hidden and invisible, but is perhaps the most significant part of us." It is at this place and in this state where instead of getting older and aging, "we actually become ageless -- a person without age" who lives life without worrying about how old they are and instead lives all the days of their life.

Kelly Ferrin is a local gerontologist residing in Carlsbad. She is a certified AARP retirement specialist, motivational speaker, consultant, and author of a nationally released book titled, "What's Age Got To Do With It?" For column ideas contact her at (760)438-2126 or on the internet at ageangel@earthlink.net. Kelly Ferrin, Gerontologist Lifestyles (760)438-2126 web: http://www.ageangel.com

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What's Age Got To Do With It?