I’m excited, and grateful.
After all, not everyone gets to take a new direction in life in their early 50’s.
Sixteen years ago, I quit my moderately successful corporate career, and learned to write.
I’m still learning.
Along the way I’ve created websites and ghost-written thousands of pieces for clients. Objectively, it looked like my switch from blue-chip to free-spirit was a success.
Yet, something important was missing.
During the lockdowns I realised that my work was practical, yet rarely added real value to anybody. Sure, I could take a topic, break it down into key points and craft a piece which worked with the tone of a client’s website. That paid the bills. It also left me unfulfilled.
This blog post highlights how longevity science piqued my interest – and after a ‘false start’, I feel down the thoroughly enjoyable rabbit hole and eventually created the Age Well Times.
2019: Reading Lifespan – Then Backing Off
David Sinclair’s book ‘Lifespan’ introduced me to longevity and healthy aging.
It was a wake-up call that a frail future is far from inevitable. With two serious health scares in the recent past, this book came at the perfect time. I was open to taking responsibility for my future health and awed by the complexity of cellular biology.
Fresh with my new knowledge, I hit Google and YouTube to find out more.
Instead of helping me move forward into a healthier future, what I found set me back.
I found half-starved fitness gurus, bickering academics and snake oil salespeople. I found that a shot at a longer and healthier life involved giving up just about all of life’s pleasures. And I found that longevity drugs and supplements were not yet backed by clinical data.
Like millions of others, after exploring longevity online, I shrugged my shoulders, and backed off.
Lockdowns: Reflection and New Plans
Nobody enjoyed the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.
The waves of negative, dark thoughts I experienced in those early months still shock me today.
There were positives. Walking the entire coast of Dorset with my mother was an unforgettable experience. And that time for reflection put me on the path to creating the Age Well Times.
Rather than an existential crisis, my lack of contribution to society was a constant niggling thorn in my side.
I needed a new direction, one that would let me sleep at night knowing that I’d made the lives of others better – even if only in a small way.
After reading Nir Barzilai’s Age Later and Dave Asbury’s Super Human, my interest in longevity and healthy aging was rekindled. Instead of seeing the lack of practical next steps as a drawback, I started to wonder whether this was an opportunity. I fell down the rabbit hole, with a new appetite for seeking information, science and contrasting views.
The seed that grew into the Age Well Times was sown.
2021: Refining My Mission
My early ideas for a personal mission sounded directly from a bland, generic self-help book.
Think, ‘help a million people live longer, healthier lives’ or, ‘add ten million years of collective life to the human race.’
Sure, those are worthy goals. They are also cheesy, impossible to measure and vague.
I polled friends and relatives on the topic of healthy ageing and longevity. Some were open, others dismissive.
The dismissive people helped clarify my thinking.
Convincing people that did not want to think about healthy ageing is an impossible task. Instead, the Age Well Times would focus on people that were already open to the idea.
The big question was, how?
2022: Longevity Habits
I ruminated on the Age Well Times for months, unable to define my approach.
It was another book which provided the lightbulb moment.
This was ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. It is a best-seller, and deservedly so. Clear’s approach to building new habits and avoiding damaging ones is simple, yet effective. I quickly went down a habits rabbit hole. Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg is excellent, as is the more academic Good Habits / Bad Habits by Wendy Wood.
My challenge is the perception that a healthy ageing involves massive sacrifice now, for a shot at health for some distant future version of yourself.
These sacrifices include cutting out sugar, wine or working out when you’d rather be relaxing. When you add the ‘might get run over by a bus,’ angle – people unconsciously believe that the results of their sacrifice might never be realised.
The benefits of longevity feel too far away to form strong habits, and willpower never lasts for long.
To build habits which will lead to a longer, healthier life, there need to be short-term benefits as well as a long-term one.
Instead of ‘sacrifice now and possibly live longer,’ my approach would be that you’ll feel great now, and your future self will thank you.
By building longevity habits, I’d offer readers an energy boost, clearer thinking, and a more positive now – plus a healthier future.
Instead of sacrificing all of life’s pleasures in one fell swoop, I’d guide readers through a series of quick wins. They will provide the initial boost, providing a positive feedback loop to build from.
And to do this, I must lead by example.
The habits I have built over the last few years have already transformed by health. Sure, there is still work to do. I’m approaching 2023 not only keen to build new healthy ageing habits, but with a renewed energy and clarity of thinking that will let me get there. Balancing life’s pleasures with a healthy future is vital. I’m not going to suggest readers stop living to exist for longer – everyone has their ‘right balance,’ – the Age Well Times will help you find yours.
Building the Age Well Times
Technology has always been a mystery to me.
Fortunately, I had help.
I reached out to an old contact (thanks Vadim!), who designed and built Age Well Times. In parallel I spent evenings and weekends creating the content.
This brings us to the present day – with the site going live in November 2022.
My next goal is to experiment, seeing what kinds of content are popular. That will shape my ideas for 2023 and beyond.
There will be no paid promotions, adverts, or affiliate links here for a minimum of six months. I don’t want the content or my approach to be biased. Eventually, the Age Well Times will need to pay for the time and effort required to build it.
Follow my blog for updates and insights into how things evolve.
Getting in Touch
Thanks for indulging me with the story of how the Age Well Times came to be.
I’d love to get feedback from anyone keen to explore longevity habits – whatever your starting point.
My email address = firstname.lastname@example.org