This is the Face of Optimal Health

This is the Face of Optimal Health

People hear about Olga, before they’ve seen her, and understand her to be a kind of superhero – which she is. And they expect her to look like Betty White.

I’m sorry: even Betty White doesn’t look like Betty White. People wrinkle.

Olga has some wrinkles. But she’s still incredibly youthful looking. Look at her face. Look at it. It’s not wrinkle-free. But as close to wrinkle-free as a 95-year-old who has spent much of her life outside is ever going to be.

Truly, when you think about it, someone who grew up on a farm and spent a big chunk of that century in the sunshine should look like Spanish Banks at low tide. She should be positively fissured. That she looks the way she does – like a 65-year-old or so — I find amazing. I mean, I’ve got more frown lines than Olga does. My kids try to calculate my age by my wrinkles, like counting the rings of a tree.

I think we wear our outlook to life on our faces. You can tell the kind of person Olga is, the delight she takes in life, the way she leans into experiences that leave their mark on her inside and out, it’s all there on her face.

Olga is aging like Clint Eastwood. Instead of fighting the years, she’s tapping aging itself as a source of drama. The drama is the difference between the potential old people still have and the limits they think they have.

When people see Olga run, they’re sometimes surprised, by the way I and others have built her up, that she’s not faster.

Look: she’s 94. The fact is, she runs. No “chicken steps” here, as she puts it. She runs. She runs without stiffness and without pain. When you can do that at 94, you are, mechanically, in a class of your own.

Add to that her energy levels, and how strong she is emotionally, spiritually, and I think we have something here that you want to document and send into deep space as a snapshot of this species at its best.

That’s why she’s so fascinating. It’s not the sporting medals: it’s the whole package. This is what optimal health looks like.

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