Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
June 13, 2016
Just yesterday I was speaking with some friends about how my life has changed, now that I am considered a senior citizen. For those who don’t know, I am 69 years old – not as old as many of my friends but definitely older than most.
There is great satisfaction in getting older, but not in getting old.
First, I want to make a personal distinction: getting older to me is the chronological aging process; getting old to me is the decrease in the quality of life from chronic degenerative diseases. I wrote about this in a previous blog. I’m getting older; I’m not getting old!
After thinking about the question, I realized that there are many changes, and most of them are exciting. You see, I am starting my 4th year of my new life of primal eating and primal lifestyle choices. I have said this before, and I will keep saying this, “I am healthier today than I have ever been in my life.” I am a work in progress.
Getting older for me is awakening some positive changes in my life both personally and professionally. It is opening a thrilling and innovative world.
Personally, getting older means understanding what really matters in life. Getting older means not being so judgmental of others. It means reflecting and learning from all of those past experiences. It means that personal beauty is not as important as health and quality of life. Getting older means spending quality time with loved ones is more stimulating than spending money on some material purchase.
Professionally, getting older means understanding better what my patients are going through emotionally, medically, and physically – not just dentally. It means asking open-ended questions to learn much more about them beyond their mouths. It means listening to their life issues more fully.
Getting older is a maturing process. I can’t tell you when it happened for me or when it will happen for you. You just know it when it appears.
A big change for me was that I have become more philosophical. Outwardly, sunsets and sunrises are more beautiful; a rainbow has more intensity; the sounds of nocturnal creatures are more melodic. Inwardly, my thoughts have turned more pensive and contemplative.
Another change for me was that I feel more comfortable in my own skin. It used to be I was concerned with what others wanted me to do or what others wanted me to say or what others wanted me to be. Getting older has allowed me to be a better person within so that I am a better person without.
As I am getting older, I also am seeing more potential for me to grow:
- I have written a book, Hunger for Health, which will be published in the near future.
- I have begun an organic cosmetic company with three other open-minded people. Our company will be manufacturing organic tooth polishes, an organic denture adhesive, and other organic body creams that will be distributed globally. These products are unique; they are healthy enough to eat.
- I have been appointed to the faculty of The College of Integrative Medicine. Along with this appointment, I have been contracted by the College to write the first periodontal integrative module, which has been incorporated into the College’s extensive certified study program.
All this is happening as I have emerged as a senior citizen. Yes, I am getting older, but I am getting better. My new world is opening up in a reinvigorating way.