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Welcome to the Revolution From Chris’s perspective . . . The three years since Younger Next Year came out have been an awful lot of fun for Harry and me. Harry still has his day job, saving lives and whatnot, but I have this terrific new job. I travel around the country and have a wonderful time—despite my vast age—speaking to groups and generally beating the drum for this Revolution in Aging we talk about. The nicest part? I get to meet a lot of readers of our books and listen to how we’ve changed their lives. That’s what we both hear, actually, whether it’s from the wife of an old friend at a dinner party in New York . . . or a formerly fat lawyer at a lecture in Tyler, Texas . . . or a newly fit guy who makes me ski with him in Aspen so I can see what he’s done with himself. And always in that language: “You guys changed my life . . . thanks so much.” They love to talk about it. Three strangers in Colorado insist I come see their friend Billy and hear how they “intervened” (made him read the book). “Look at him now!” they say, and Billy grins and pats his tummy. An optometrist and his wife show up at my door in Aspen to get their books signed—and tell their story. A newly handsome CPA outside Philadelphia says his blood pressure and cholesterol have dropped enough so that his doctor has taken him off drugs . . . and, oh, by the way, he lost 20 percent of his body weight. A beautiful old woman from the South says her husband has gone to hell, won’t ski with her anymore, so she puts the dog in the car, drives 860 miles to Wolf Pass, Colorado, and skis her socks off. She’s seventy-one and will I sign her book? Sign it? Is she kidding? She should be on the cover. Believe me, we don’t hear these stories once in a while; we hear them all the time. And the report is always delivered with passion, surprise, and delight. I love it. It’s like having a Newfoundland dog lick your face for twenty minutes every few days. A bit much for Harry, I suspect, but about right for me. And these people are not just readers; they are missionaries: “I’ve read it six times myself, and I’ve given away twenty copies.” “I read it straight through twice and got a copy for my father and my father-in-law.” “I made my husband sit down and read it.” “I’m your biggest fan. I gave away thirty copies.” But that last guy is not our biggest fan. One fellow, a quiet engineer, astonished me by saying that he had given away 200 copies and started a “YNY supper club” for a bunch of friends. Health clubs give away thousands . . . an “unexpected gift” for new members. The president of a huge food company makes his top employees read it. Lots of type A’s—lots of executives of all kinds—hand it out all over the place and talk about it all the time. Quite the little movement. All word-of-mouth, but quite a few mouths by now. And it’s spreading. We hope this paperback edition will make it easier. The way we age now isn’t just dumb; it’s criminal. We are wrecking our own lives, wrecking the lives of those who love us, wrecking the economy. Gotta quit living like dopes. One of the nice things is that the people who come up and say that their lives have changed are so tickled. They are proud as punch because they did it all themselves. And they are often just a tad surprised. Because it was easier and faster than they’d assumed. And because they’d lost a gang of weight along the way, which we had not promised. (We still don’t, though it sure does happen a lot.) But the real pleasure is that they are so damn happy. The great bottom line was summed up by a website comment: “Life is fun again.” There you go . . . life is fun again! And here’s the other part of my terrific new job. I don’t just tell people this is the only way to live. I show them. I ski the steeps and deeps. I do “Ride the Rockies” on my bike . . . six days over the tops with old friends. I row in old-boy races. Hike the hills. Stay in touch. Move! And generally engage in the pleasant business of being functionally the same person I was at fifty. Wish I’d been a better kid at fifty, but hey! . . . this is good enough. Give it a shot. It will change your life. . . . and Harry’s More than five million articles have been published in biomedical journals since we first published Younger Next Year, so you might think the science behind the book would need to be updated. But that just isn’t so. True, you don’t have to drink quite as much water as we recommended, but nothing else has changed at all. (That shouldn’t be such a surprise, since the book is all about taking charge of the biology that has run our bodies for millions and billions of years.) In any case, the science was right three years ago, and it’sright now. If anything, the message of Younger Next Year is turning out to be even more important than we realized. Studies are just beginning to look at the role of exercise in the treatment of disease. People with advanced emphysema and heart disease do much better with exercise. People recovering from cancer do better with exercise. Depression does better with exercise. Furthermore, the science behind emotional biology, which was relatively new when the book was first published, has only gotten more compelling. We are just beginning to tease apart the pathways by which emotion changes our chemistry, even in our very cells, but we do know that exercise changes the cells throughout our bodies at the genetic level. And it’s not just exercise that does this. Caring works the same way. Indeed, the daily expression of DNA in critical pathways turns out to be partially regulated by emotional chemistry. New chemical markers of growth and decay that respond to emotion, connection, and social networks are being discovered, and the results come back over and over again to the rules in the book: Care and Connect and Commit. As I said, it’s not really a surprise that Nature’s rules for our bodies haven’t changed in the last three years. And they aren’t going to change for the next three billion, either. So you can settle down with Younger Next Year with the certainty that it contains real information that’s worth reading every year or so. Underline it, dog-ear it, pencil your own notes in the margin . . . it’s a loyal friend for the road ahead. Our contribution, we think, is to make that road radically better for as long as you’re on it. Americans have achieved such staggering longevity that the real problem is outliving the quality of life, not running out of quantity. It is simply a fact that the average American who hits fifty or sixty in reasonable health is likely to live well into his or her eighties. And given the way things are heading, if you’re in that category, you have to plan against the risk of living well into your nineties. That’s a remarkable new way of looking at it! For all intents and purposes, one of the great risks of our age is living far longer than we can live well. Always remember that the biology of Younger Next Year has no age limits, either up or down. Everything gets slower and more difficult with age, but age alone never makes life bad. I have several patients in their nineties who have had openheart surgery recently, and all are doing beautifully. All were fit and active before, and all remain so afterward. That’s no coincidence. At the younger end of the spectrum, we start to age by the end of our twenties, so once you turn thirty, the quality of your life is up to you. It can and should be great if you decide not to give up but to take charge. Younger Next Year is the road map for taking charge.