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Living a Passionate Life

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Dr. Walter Bortz, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Stanford University, in Stanford, Calif., and author of Dare to Be 100 (Simon & Schuster; 1996), found that elderly patients who were active led more fulfilling, healthier lives than patients who weren't. Although Bortz doesn't know of any hard data confirming that stamp collectors, for instance, live longer, he is confident that this is true. "People who stay involved have a tendency to live longer, as they have more reasons to get out of bed in the morning," Bortz says. "Their interests stimulate their brains and this gets their bodies moving." He asserts that the brain, just like the muscles in our bodies, needs exercise — especially once aging begins and movement slows.

To prove his point, in April 2002 he and his wife ran in pursuit of their passion: They became the first married couple over 70 ever to finish the Boston Marathon. "It doesn't matter what you do as long as you find something that intrigues you," he says. At any age, hobbies can help keep your body young. And, just as important, they can help keep you feeling young at heart.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, counseling psychologist and author of 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace (Hay House; 2002), outlines steps for those who want to become more passionate or engaged in life. "First, don't die with your music still in you," he says. "If you've been longing to climb mountains or learn French, now is the time to follow your desires." Living a passionate life may require looking beyond your established routine to find an interest that speaks to you. Begin to take responsibility for where you are in your life, and to let go of any blame or resentment. "We are all products of our own making," Dyer says. "Harboring blame and resentment only lowers one’s energy level." Dyer also suggests moving out of the "world of material and form" and into a "world of wonder and creative energy." When you take time to notice something as simple as your own heartbeat, you may also discover a renewed zest for living. And restoring the wonder of life can lead to new inspiration. Last, Dyer proposes that we accept the maxim that "we are what we do" — so surrender to your heart's desires. Focus your thoughts on what you intend to create in your life and the possibility of achieving your desire opens up. Only when you begin to pursue your passions and live your life purposefully do dormant talents begin to emerge — inspiring you and everyone around you.

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