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CELEBRATE LIFE: Age with youthful exuberance

Kathie Lee Gifford turned 60 last week — fighting and kicking the whole way. Here are tips from experts for aging gracefully and with youthful exuberance.
by Heather Warlick Published: August 22, 2013

“How can I age more gracefully?” This is a thought many women, and likely some men, have pondered more than once as they creep toward middle or late-middle age.

So, 60 is the new 40, right? Take a look at Kathie Lee Gifford and you'll believe it. Gifford turned 60 on Friday. Yep, 60. She looks amazing and seems to feel great, or maybe that's the booze working in her favor. (On the fourth hour of “Today,” hosts Kathie Lee & Hoda drink wine and cocktails most every morning.)

The problem is, she took her 60th birthday a little rough.

Last week, during the lead-up to her birthday, Gifford forbade Hoda Kotb to say the word “sixty,” making her take a shot every time she said it. Some of the shots were water; some were vodka.

Viewers on the show were encouraged to share their ways of saying they're turning 60 in less bothersome terms: turning “sexty,” “four decades short of a century” (and from appearing on Willard Scott's list), “three score,” a “sexagenarian,” and “five years away from mandatory Medicare.”

First, let's get real. Gifford is a gorgeous senior, and most of us can't expect to afford to age as well as she can. But, we can make aging less uncomfortable and make stating our age something to be proud of. And we can throw a huge party, like the one “Today” threw for Gifford, to celebrate every birthday.

Here are tips from some local experts for defying your number and aging fantastically.

Accept the rule of life that you can't be a kid forever.

Charlotte Lankard, licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Oklahoma City, who also writes a weekly column for The Oklahoman:

“Getting older is simply different (than being younger), and my own life is fuller, richer and more honest. I no longer waste time pretending and performing.

“An important part of the aging process lies in getting accustomed to being older. Our job is to stay as well as we can, to remain active, to do things that interest us and make life richer for those around us. We have spent our lives ‘doing,' and the challenge is now “What am I when I am not what I used to do?” It is a time of coming home to one's self. And it's a time of ‘being'; not being someone different, but more of who we are — being honest, caring, curious and available, involved, and coming to each day with intention.”

Contact Lankard by email at, online at or by phone at 286-0077.

Maintain and even improve your health.

Danny Cahill, winner of Season 8 of “The Biggest Loser,” of Broken Arrow:

“Health isn't just a luxury, it's a way of life. When I was 460 pounds, I would have given anything to be healthy; well, almost anything. Seems I wouldn't even give myself the time of day! I'd use excuse after excuse as for why I couldn't get healthy — when it would just take some good decisions and 45 minutes a day! I just sat there on my excuses and wouldn't even get out of my chair — because it hurt. Turns out that giving myself the care was exactly what I needed! About 70 percent of the exercise I used to lose 239 pounds was walking. And all walking took was time and persistence.

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by Heather Warlick
Life & Style Editor
Since graduating from University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, Staff Writer Heather Warlick has written stories for The Oklahoman's Life section. Her beats have included science, health, home and garden, family,...
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