“There’s only one way to live a long life, and that is to age. And there’s only one way to age – with a smile. If you can laugh at yourself, you’ll never cease to be amused. After all, you’re only old once.”
So began a special presentation at Morningside of Fullerton, a continuing care retirement community in Fullerton, Calif., on the importance of humor as we grow older by best-selling author and humorist Dr. Richard Lederer. Lederer spoke recently to more than 150 residents and guests at the community.
During his “Laugh for Your Life – The Gift of Age” presentation, Lederer shared tips on how to accept the aging process and even how to laugh at it. Author of more than 40 books about humor, language and history, Lederer contributes to numerous newspapers and has appeared in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest , People, “Larry King Show,” “The Osgood Files,” Today Show” and “CNN Primetime.”
Lederer’s presentation was based on his newest book “The Gift of Age” which includes such topics as “Why It’s Great to be Chronologically Endowed,” “Distinguished But Not Extinguished,” “Grandkids Say the Darnedest Things” and “Jest for the Health of It.” The presentation also included a sprinkling of facts such as one out of eight people currently living in the United States is 65 or older and that Americans grow happier as they age. Most people are happiest in their sixties on through their eighties, Lederer said.
“Studies show that being with your peers and having that human interaction on a daily basis contribute substantially to your overall sense of well-being,” Lederer said. “When you live in a community with people your own age, you have shared experiences. You enjoy the same music, movies, activities and other aspects of a healthy social life. Plus, you’re all going through the aging process together and it really helps if you can laugh about it with others who can relate.”
According to Bob Niemann, a resident of Morningside, who attended the presentation with his wife, Doris, the presentation was uplifting and entertaining.
“Richard’s use of puns and trivia to illustrate the lighter side of getting older was something I hadn’t heard before,” Bob Niemann said. “As an expert on the English language, he was able to string words and phrases together in a totally new way that made light of the aging process, yet was inspiring as well. You really had to pay attention to grasp everything he had to say.”
Lederer shared numerous words of wisdom and witticisms on how to look at life with a twinkle in your eye, including “It’s better to be over the hill than under the hill,” “It’s not til you’re going downhill that you really pick up speed” and “Keep your regrets to a minimum and your joyful memories to a maximum.”
Good advice for anyone at any age.