Written by Lydia Kostopoulos, Curator of Project Nof1 Healthy Aging Protocols interview series
From zero proof alcohol, to the proliferation of wellness retreats and red-light therapy lamps, the market is responding to changing social preferences which are trending towards healthy living and by extension healthy aging. This societal change is happening in parallel with the increase in life expectancy and aging demographics wanting to live their best life at all ages and Project Nof1 is looking to capture the stories of personal healthy aging protocols.
Health is Wealth
The mark of prosperity is notably shifting towards the idea that “health is wealth”. If in the 1950s the mark of prosperity was tangible items such as a house, car and appliances in the kitchen, today it is the intangible such as digital presence, health and community affiliations. In fact, this social change has been noted by brand specialists such as the Concept Bureau who coined the term “conspicuous commitment” to describe this growing trend of intangible wealth around the motto ‘health is wealth’.
However, just like interior design and fashion preferences – healthy aging practices vary from person to person. And just like MTV Cribs started showing the interiors of celebrity homes, and social media pulled the curtain behind the interior of our lives, Project Nof1 aims to showcase the different ways people have designed and live their healthy aging protocols. This article puts a spotlight on the key highlights and lessons from the first series of interviews.
Our life story informs our health story
While it is intuitive that our life experience would inform our perspectives on health and healthy aging, I was still surprised by how much this was going to come out in the Project Nof1 interview series. One of the interviewees (Dolf Berle) talked about how his father’s disciplined example of how he dealt with diabetes was instrumental in how he understood and perceived the effort needed to maintain one’s health. For him healthy aging was something that needed to continuously be worked on each day. When Director of the Arts & Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University, Susan Magsaman, shared her story of her aesthetical healthy aging protocol, it was intuitive and informed by the neuro-aesthetical work of her career. She researches and promotes the use of arts for health and it is natural that this work would find its way into her healthy aging protocol where dancing is a daily ritual and making art collages is part of her meditative practices. My healthy aging methodology is no different as my graduate and doctoral research methods studies have laid the ground work for how I approach my healthy aging protocol, research, analysis, debate, hypothesis and experimentation.
We have a lot to learn from each other
Just like good ideas are hard to create in a vacuum, healthy aging protocols thrive with the exchange of ideas and sharing of different practices. We have so much to learn from the life experiences and wisdom of others and their communities across all aspects of life and healthy aging protocols and lifestyle practices are no exception. Behind these healthy aging protocols is a way of thinking and approaching life that can be very useful in reimagining and updating our own strategies for healthy aging and approach to our healthy aging lifestyles. From health tech entrepreneur, Hélène Guillaume Pabis’s spreadsheets that help her identify what is working for her and what isn’t so she can pivot towards a more fulfilling life, to psychotherapist Angela Ivy Leong’s perspectives on the utility of ketamine assisted therapy, it is valuable to see how others are intentionally and proactively striving for a life well lived. As many in the longevity science field say – it is not about adding more years to one’s life, but more life to one’s years.
Healthy aging protocols can provide structure
Another highlight from the healthy aging stories was the structure that these protocols bring to the lives of those who have them. Events management businessman, Jordan Kallman shared his daily ritual of going through his curated spreadsheet to check in with himself and set himself up for the day with grounded focus and clarity. Behavior and mental health counselor Christina Warrilow’s protocol emotionally grounds her through her community identity, introspection and grounding yoga practices. These are elements she engages with everyday that give her resilience and purpose in her everyday life. Regardless of whether the healthy aging protocol can be seen peppered through or dictating one’s calendar, or whether the protocol is a mental way of moving through life, these protocols provide structure and for those interviewed this structure grounded them in their sense of self, self determination and agency in their lives.
Double clicking on health aging
There is so much to be discovered on individual healthy aging protocols. One question that lingers from this first set of interviews is from Susan Magsamen who said “why do we stop dancing after we get older?” This question could be applied to so many of the things we enjoyed in our childhood, teenage years and young adulthood that we stopped doing – why?
As the first set of interviews was being finalized, a news headline from the World Health Organization came out saying they have deemed loneliness and social isolation as a global public health crisis. To respond to this crisis they have created a Commission on Social Connection tasked to investigate this issue and find mitigation strategies and solutions.
Meaningful social connection has been recognized as a critical component of healthy aging and so the next set of Project Nof1 interviews on healthy aging protocols will focus on stories from people who have meaningful social connection to share their methods and strategies of how they build, maintain, cultivate and nourish meaningful communities, relationships and connections. Stay tuned!
Lydia Kostopoulos is the curator of the Project Nof1 Interview Series on Healthy Aging Protocols and founder of the Abundance Studio consultancy which sponsors this interview series. She is very passionate about the technological advancements in the field of longevity sciences and believes that the fourth industrial revolution is not only changing industries but society as a whole. She sees aging as one of many social changes and aims to use the Project Nof1 interview series to capture some of these changes of how we are socially changing our perspectives and practices around aging.
She had an interest in medicine since a young age and attended a specialized medical high school program. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened the first week of her first year in college and she decided to focus on the pressing security issues. This led her to explore the continuously changing character of warfare and how emerging technologies plays a big role for nation state and asymmetric actors and namely in the context of special operations missions.
Two decades after 9/11 she noticed other issues start to have an impact on national security, namely climate change, water security and changing demographics shifting towards an older population. She is now directing her focus to these issues namely through her strategic advisory and innovation work under Abundance Studio and the Project Nof1 series for her public health related interests.