You want to be healthy and happy? Talk to an old person. He or she will know how to pull it off. (But first you’d better determine what your guidelines for “old” will be. Bernard Baruch, the businessman who advised Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said, “Old age is always 15 years older than me.”)

Old people are creatures of habit and routine. They rise with the sun and the roosters. They play bingo on Tuesdays at 7. They know that the paperboy pitches the newspaper into the hedges at quarter to six every morning and the mail carrier brings hopes of sweepstakes at half past one each afternoon.

Old people arrive at the airport four hours before their flight. They also eat and sleep according to a military schedule. That all might sound so boring, but it’s healthy. The body knows what to expect and isn’t shocked from a haphazard schedule.

Old people are happy people. They are happy when they win a hand in a bridge game. They are happy when Pat Sajak gives away another car. They are happy when they get a letter from the former neighbor who moved to Sarasota. They are happy when they volunteer at the church or the hospital.

The older you get, the more you don’t take things for granted. You’d be happy, too, if you were 94 and lived to see another day. Make the most of it all. Don’t worry, be happy!

Old people are wise with their money. Grocery stores have triple coupons for seniors on Mondays. McDonald’s has 20 percent off steaming hot coffee for those who are age-eligible. Movie theaters offer half-price with a driver’s license and a birthday circa 1955 and earlier.

Old people are never in a hurry and stressed out in traffic. They can’t be when they drive 20 a 40 zone. I just wish they wouldn’t showcase their safe and excellent driving skills right in front of me when I’m trying to get to work. They don’t need to hurry. They leave plenty of time to get to where they are going.

You can improve your health and blood pressure readings by affording yourself enough time to get to work, school, and to meet the boyfriend’s parents for dinner. Be like Grandma and Grandpa and leave early and get there early. You will be more relaxed and your body will thank you for it.

Old people plan ahead and are proactive, and this leads to less stress and less grinding of the teeth. The oil is changed at 2,999 miles, every time. Christmas gifts are purchased and wrapped in August and are placed in the hall closet for safekeeping. Birthday cards arrive two weeks before each of the grandkids’ festive days.

Planning is everything. Just ask FEMA, George W. Bush, and the residents of New Orleans if you don’t believe me.

I will be smiling from ear to ear when I mature to be a ripe yellow banana someday. Stay healthy, and you too can enjoy the fruits of longevity.

Go hug an old person and then ask them to tell you a story. Then watch them talk like a politician at a debate without a time limit. You can learn a lot from watching and listening. With age comes wisdom. Drink up some of that wisdom now, and bottle the rest for those rainy days. That delicious aftertaste is health and well-being.

This article about being well is brought to you by that guy who knows that wellness can be fleeting — now you see it, now you don’t. That guy of masterful magic is Ron Blake and he can be seen disappearing at

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