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How a brush with death inspired a new lifestyle
Alan Carpenter: Hiker, writer
BY PETER BOWES | WEDNESDAY AUGUST 17, 2022
It could all end in a heartbeat. Sometimes life itself, with its unpredictable path, can be the biggest motivator to change us for the better. Take Alan Carpenter. He was a fit 66-year-old, enjoying a hike on the US Pacific Crest, when his life suddenly imploded. A dramatic fall led to a stay in hospital and a long period of recuperation. It also prompted him to reassess his state of health – not only physical, but his mental and emotional wellbeing. It led to years of research, analyzing lifestyle interventions and longevity hacks, in search of positive long-term habits. He wrote a book about it; Choose Better, Live Better: Nine Healthy Choices that Nurture Body, Mind, and Spirit and in this LLAMA podcast interview Alan shares a graphic account of the moment everything changed and why he embarked on a quest to rejuvenate his life.
Connect with Alan Carpenter: About | Website | Blog | Book: Choose Better, Live Better: Nine Healthy Choices that Nurture Body, Mind, and Spirit
Read a transcript
- This episode is brought to you in association with Clinique La Prairie, the award-winning spa-clinic – and pioneering health and wellness destination – nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. Combining preventative medicine with bespoke lifestyle and nutrition plans, Clinique La Prairie offers a holistic approach to living fuller, healthier and longer lives.
“If someone had asked me, do you think cultivating social connections would be a good idea, I’d say hm, I don’t know. Probably not. But I learned that it is a huge deal. There are people that think this is the biggest thing of all. Bigger than exercise. Bigger than eating. Bigger than sleeping.”Alan Carpenter
Topics covered in this interview include:
- A life-threatening accident in the wilderness
- A realization that life can not be taken for granted
- Scouring the literature and developing a new healthy-living mindset
- Eating better and kicking the ice cream habit
- Learning self-restraint in the kitchen
- Nurturing social connections
- Diffusing chronic stress and the art of forgiveness
- The power of purposeful living
- Giving and volunteering to energize the aging process
This interview with Alan Carpenter was recorded on June 30, 2022 and transcribed using Sonix AI. Please check against audio recording for absolute accuracy.
Peter Bowes: Now we all have our reasons for wanting to pursue interventions that promote our own longevity. They are many and varied and we are often inspired by the experiences of others. In this episode, we’re going to hear about the life changing journey that led Alan Carpenter to find ways to rejuvenate his life after a dramatic accident. Alan, welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast.
Alan Carpenter: Well, thank you, Peter. It’s wonderful to be here today.
DoNotAge.org is offering listeners to LLAMA a 10% discount on its range of products – NAD boosters, Sirtuin activators, senolytics and more.Use the code LLAMA at checkout. Any health queries can be answered by emailing the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Affiliation disclosure: This podcast receives a small commission when you use the code LLAMA for purchases at DoNotAge.org – it helps to cover production costs and ensures that our interviews remain free for all to listen.
Peter Bowes: Great pleasure to talk to you. It was a fall, wasn’t it, during a hike, that dramatic accident that I refer to?
Alan Carpenter: That’s right, yes. Entirely my fault and my own stupidity, by the way.
Peter Bowes: How serious was it and where were you?
Alan Carpenter: Well, in one sense, it wasn’t all that serious, although I didn’t know it at the time. I was in central California on the Pacific Crest Trail, about 30 trail miles south of South Lake Tahoe. I was in the Mokelumne wilderness, and one fine morning I went around the north, facing side of Mount Raymond in that wilderness, very steep. And I came to a stretch of trail that was invisible for about 20 feet. It was covered with a smooth, hard layer of ice. And as I stood there wondering, now, what do I do? Because I had sent my items home that could allow me to get across safely like my ice axe and my spikes. My mind was hijacked by the prospect of stuffing my face at the All You Can Eat buffet at Harrah’s Casino only 30 miles up the trail. It just sounds completely witless. And it was. But what I did was I started to walk across that stretch of icy trail. I made two steps and slipped and rocketed about a hundred feet down this icy gully and slammed into a boulder. I was so lucky I could easily have been killed had I had my head leading with my head. But fortunately, I led into that boulder with my right side. So I fractured some ribs, messed up my one of my lungs, took a lot of skin off of my arms and legs. But really, I was so lucky I didn’t sustain somehow any joint injuries. I could have ripped my leg joint, my knee, my ankles, my elbows, my shoulders. But I didn’t. I can’t account for my good fortune. It was amazing.
Peter Bowes: It does sound amazing. And that’s what led to something of a light bulb moment for you, an epiphany that led to you developing a new lifestyle for your future well-being.
Alan Carpenter: Yes, that’s right. It didn’t happen right away. Well, the first order of business was to was to figure out how not to die. And I determined I was going to live. I wasn’t quite sure how to do that, but fortunately, I managed to keep my wits about me. And it was in part, I think, due to my Boy Scout training many, many decades ago and subsequent training and water safety instructor, life saving skills, first aid, CPR and all that sort of stuff. So I was able to keep my head. I noticed that I had a hole in my lower part of my right leg and all this blood was just spurting out of there. I thought, Hmm, that’s not good. I wonder how many quarts I’m losing. And I sat there and realized I’m losing about a pint every 5 minutes. I maybe. And I’d better do something about this. So I had an old bandana in my pocket and I stuffed it in the hole and it worked. And then I decided, okay, I can’t stay where I am because I was just so banged up and. Hurting and dispirited. I have to get out of this icy gully, and crawl back up to the trail. It was exceedingly steep, full of loose round volcanic rocks. And unfortunately, because of the skin that I’d lost on the trip down, I had to press my bloody forearms and elbows and shins and knees into the rocks and oh, that just hurts so much. But somehow I was able to keep going just an inch at a time, an an inch at a time. It took me about, oh, I don’t know, an hour to crawl 100 feet. And I finally made it up to to the trail and collapsed, thinking, well, some hiker is going to come along right away and we’ll get help. But nobody showed up. I kept lying there and finally I, I my mind cleared a little bit. I realized if I would crawl back on the trail for about, know, I don’t know, 80 feet, I could look over a little tiny ridge and maybe I could see something that was I don’t know what I expected to see, but I did that. I crawled over there and looked and I could see a long way out to the east. I thought there might be a cell phone tower out there somewhere. I don’t know why there would have been. I was in a wilderness area in the middle of nowhere. I hadn’t had a cell phone signal for a week, but I thought, well, what do I have to lose? So I pulled out my cell phone. It turned out that I hit on my right side. The cell phone was in my left side breast pocket. I pulled it out. It wasn’t damaged. I had no idea how that happened. I had just the tiniest bit of charge and I had two bars of service. Oh, I started to cry. So I pulled myself together and I punched in 911 and a woman answered the phone and the tears just streamed down my face when I heard her sweet voice. Well, it happened about. Oh, I guess it must have been an hour later that Matt and Joe flew out in their helicopter and somehow plucked me off that mountainside and ferried me to the renowned medical center in Reno, Nevada, where I spent five fun filled days being patched up for the ribs and lung problems and cleaning out all the cuts and such. And the doctor, Scott, on the day I was discharged, came up to me and said, ‘Alan, you’re going to go home and spend 8 to 10 weeks recovering.’ Well, but Scott, I can’t go back to the trail. ‘No, you could get pneumonia and die.’ Oh, man, what a killjoy. So it turns out my wife flew out from Boulder, Colorado, and we went home. And I sat on the couch for about a week and whined and complained and felt sorry for myself. Somehow I don’t know how this happened, but somehow it dawned on me that I had taken my life for granted.
Peter Bowes: Well, that’s the story we’re going to tell today. A couple of quick questions. How old were you when this happened?
Alan Carpenter: 65 or 66, one or the other.
Peter Bowes: And you’d been a lifelong exerciser, hiker, climber up until that point?
Alan Carpenter: No, when I was a kid, I was interested in the out-of-doors, although I grew up mostly in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, on the prairie, where there were no hills, there were no rocks, no opportunities really for doing much outside. But I got interested in the Boy Scouts and we did outdoor stuff there. We actually went up to the provincial park in Ontario for a hundred mile canoe trips. Oh, that was really cool. We went out to the Boy Scout Ranch in Philmont, New Mexico, and went for hikes. But when I became an adult, I for some reason I just stopped doing a lot of that stuff. I’m not sure why, but I did. And it wasn’t as though that I was drinking all the time and being stupid 24 hours a day. It’s just that I didn’t make my health a priority. Yeah, I was kind of, you know, coasting along and things were okay and I wasn’t getting sick much. But it really wasn’t until I had that accident that it really dawned on me that I had taken my life for granted and being outdoors and doing all this stuff I love to do. Wow, I’d better start taking care of better care of myself. So I continue to do these things. So I started doing the background work to find out, okay, what do I need to do?
Peter Bowes: And lifestyle issues aside, how have you spent your life in terms of your career? What have you been doing?
Alan Carpenter: I own a small ecological consulting business and I’ve done that for what, about 25 years now? When I started this long distance hiking obsession, I realized that I couldn’t do a lot of my consulting work because my busy time is from about April into September, which is prime hiking and long distance biking season. I decided I’d cut back on my paid work, which I did, and now I’m pretty much not doing that anymore because I didn’t want I was old enough. I thought, Well, I don’t really need to work anymore. I’ve saved money over the years and now I’m officially retired regarding Social Security and all that stuff. I’m not going to let work get in the way of having a good time. So that’s what really motivated me so strongly. What do I need to do after that accident to get back on my feet, literally and figuratively, so I can continue to do these hikes and these bike trips and just to be active and engaging with life generally.
Peter Bowes: So what was the first move, having realized that there was something you you had to do, you had to appreciate your own health and well-being more than you had done for probably much of your life. So what was the first course of action?
Alan Carpenter: Well, the first thing I did was deputize my wife, Betsy, to go to the Boulder Public Library and get books that I somehow found out about, probably searching online. So she started giving me books. I really didn’t have too much else to do besides some physical therapy exercises. So I read. It didn’t take me long to realize that this business that we think of as physical activity or exercise is gigantic. It’s not just some old little old thing that we ought to do if we have time every now and again one or two days a week. It’s really to our everlasting benefit to make that an integral part of our life. I thought, Oh, okay, well, I couldn’t do that immediately, but I realized how important that was. And I started doing that at a very low level and then ramped up. I kept reading and then it didn’t take me too long to figure out that this business of eating fruits and vegetables and all that good stuff, laying off the soda pops, it’s huge. Not just kind of nice, but it’s huge. I realized if I wanted to get back on the trail the following summer and make it all the rest of the way to Canada. 1599 miles. I’d better start eating better. So I just started doing that and it just went on from there.
Peter Bowes: Well, the subtitle of your book is Nine Healthy Choices That Nurture, Body, Mind and Spirit. Keep Moving well it’s obvious that you wanted to keep moving. And I think we all understand that if we move every day, almost every minute of every day, apart from when we’re sleeping, probably it’s going to help us in terms of our bigger movements as we’re out and about and enjoying the world. Next on your list, we’ve got eat better? And I think that is, as far as I’m concerned, is probably number one, exercise is pretty high up there, but diet and getting it right is absolutely paramount. So what changes did you make?
Alan Carpenter: Oh, lots of them. Lots of them. One regarding food. One of the things I did was start eating more vegetables. Here’s a great example. Kale is one of the best things we can eat. But I didn’t like kale, and one day I happened to mention my friend Kim, who’s a big gardener like I am, that I didn’t like kale. And she said, Well, Alan, you just don’t know how to fix it so that it tastes good. And I said, Well, okay, what do I do? Well, she said, okay, get out the pan and put in some garlic and some olive oil and then chop up the kale and put it in there and cook it a little bit, cover it and then put a little balsamic vinegar over that. You like it? So I went home and did that and it’s great. So now my wife and I grow kale in our garden and we eat it all the time. I had kale for dinner last night, among other things.
Peter Bowes: It’s interesting you should mention kale first, because Kale is often cited a little whimsically by some people who are perhaps those who are skeptical of those of us who try to eat a good diet. That kale is that sort of typical example that raises a few eyebrows.
Alan Carpenter: Oh, indeed, yes. Well, mine included way back when. I think one of the most important things we can do is to figure out how to prepare food that’s really healthy for us as well. Enjoy it, not just tolerate it, but enjoy it. Because if we enjoy it, we’re going to tend to eat more of it. It’s really simple in that regard.
Peter Bowes: This is the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. Our guest is Alan Carpenter, the author of Choose Better, Live Better nine Healthy Choices That Nurture Body, Mind and Spirit. We’re talking about food and your diet. Alan, did you make any big dietary changes? And by that I mean, were you a meat eater who decided to become a vegetarian or a vegan or perhaps a pescatarian where you eat vegetables and maybe dairy and some fish? Did you change your diet to that extent?
Alan Carpenter: I made lots of small changes, which I think added up to a big deal. Like, for example, I was a big time ice cream eater and it used to be that every night I’d have a big bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce and peanuts on top. I don’t know how many calories were in there, but it was a lot. And at some point…
Peter Bowes: It sounds good.
Alan Carpenter: …it just dawned on me. You know, Alan, that’s probably not in my long term self-interest, but for a while I just loved it so much. I got What do I do? So finally I read somewhere that when we start eating something, the first bite gives us the big hit in our reward center in our brain. The second bite a little less. And by about the fourth bite, we’re just shoveling it in. I decided, okay, here’s what I’ll do. If there’s ice cream in the freezer, I will have one bite per day, In the evening. I will take the carton of ice cream out. Have one bite. I’ll stand there by the freezer and just savor it. It’s so good and wonderful. And put the spoon down and I’m good. And that really helped me. I realized, yes, I’m getting the big hit and it is so wonderful. I love ice cream. And I also realized if I exercise some measure of self-restraint, I’ll be better off in the long run. And all sorts of other things, too. Little bits of stuff, not just some wholesale immediate change, but little changes over time. Really add up to big benefits.
Peter Bowes: Do you count calories?
Alan Carpenter: No. No. Well, the only time I count calories is if I’m going on a long distance hike and I just need to pack enough food. I count on about 4500 calories a day in order to. So I don’t lose too much weight between opportunities to go into town and stuff my face. But ordinarily, no, I don’t. I pay just the most minor amount of attention to calories.
Peter Bowes: And before you made these changes, did you clearly you had been under the care of a doctor because of your injuries. But did you talk to your doctor about these lifestyle changes? It’s something I always suggest that people absolutely should do if they’re considering changing their diet or changing their exercise regime, especially if it’s to something that’s more vigorous. What did you do?
Alan Carpenter: I really didn’t have talks with a doctor so the doctor could tell me about what I should do. I actually my conversation with my doctor were more, here’s what I am going to do. And I have this evidence that I’ve read from all these scientific studies. Plus I don’t have and haven’t had, as far as I know, any underlying health problems. So I’ve always been, quote unquote, healthy, more so now than I think I was 20 or 30 years ago. I’m not aware that, like, I don’t take any medications or anything like that, so I like to sort of do my own thing. And so I felt I did my background work and I know more about health and well-being in the preventive sense than my doctor does. I was not looking for my doctor for guidance. Exactly. If I had diabetes, say, or if I had some heart problem or something like that, it would be a whole different story. But I’ve never had any stuff like that, so I felt, well, I’m probably okay. Plus, I’ve gone on these long distance hikes and bike trips and never had any sort of really serious internal problems except, you know, when I was had my accident, so I felt like I’d be okay doing what I was doing.
Peter Bowes: Now, what you’ve talked about so far to many people might seem to be the obvious, and that is focus on your diet. You’re obviously you’re focusing on your your exercise and your movement. One of the things you write about in your book is culturing social connections, perhaps improving those social connections. How did you come to the realization that that was important and you needed to fix something?
Alan Carpenter: This was an entirely through my reading of the scientific literature. Had somebody asked me soon after I was hurt and starting to understand, Well, what do I need to do to get better? If someone had asked me, do you think cultivating social connections would be a good idea, I’d say hm, I don’t know. Probably not. But I learned that it is a huge deal. There are people that think this is the biggest thing. Of all. Bigger than exercise. Bigger than eating. Bigger than sleeping. More and better. It tops the list. It’s gigantic. So now, because of all these studies I’ve read, I believe the gist of these stories. And so that’s part of living a healthy life. Also I think it’s part of living a life that’s more enriched and engaging and meaningful. Meaning in life is gigantic. And part of that meaning comes from our interactions with other people.
Peter Bowes: And in practical terms, what did it mean for you? Did you set about quite literally making new friends?
Alan Carpenter: Not so much. Initially it was by default, actually, and that was thanked thanks to our dog, Amelia J Puppy Dog. It turns out that our dog Amelia, who passed away six years ago, but when I had the accident, she was, you know, part of our family. Amelia got me trained up right away to be on the three walk a day plan. She really liked to walk, and I do, too. So, you know, we were walking and I didn’t realize this was going to happen, but we met all kinds of people in our neighborhood that I’d never met before. And the way it worked was Amelia and I’d be walking along and someone would be coming up toward us. And Amelia was a beautiful dog, a mixture. We think of a golden retriever and a red chow, and the person would come. I would say, Wow, what a beautiful dog. What’s your dog’s name? Amelia J. Puppy dog. Oh, could I give her a pet? Oh, yeah, she’d really like that. And then we. Oh, hi. Who are you? I met so many people. It was just astounding. And the science backs this up that people who have dogs get more exercise and they make more friends in the neighborhood than people who don’t have dogs. That got me started on expanding my network of social connections courtesy of Amelia.
Peter Bowes: I understand exactly what you’re saying, because I have two dogs, and apart from just getting you out in the morning, there are no excuses. When you have animals like that who just look up at you and expect you to open the door and head off for the three or four mile hike. And you want to do it and you want to do it not only for yourself. But for them.
Alan Carpenter: Yes, exactly. That’s right. So basically, the deal was in the morning particularly I’d eat breakfast and open the back door, say Amelia, and she’d just come charging through the door, run to the front door and stand there. And of course, then I would get up her leash and we’d walk out the door and we’d have a great time. It was it was enjoyable, which is a key aspect of making these healthy choices from the standpoint of I realized I felt better after the walk, my wife and I could chat with each other, or sometimes their kids would go along and we could see our neighbors that are newfound friends. What a deal. There were so many wonderful things all lined up together.
Peter Bowes: Exactly. And I think there’s probably a correlation here with something else you write about, which is diffusing chronic stress. Animals and walking together are a great stress reliever. Again, looking back on the life that you have had and your accident, did you focus in on what was causing any stress in your life and set about to rid your lifestyle of those situations?
Alan Carpenter: Not exactly, no. I think my understanding of stress came about when I started reading these articles, in particular a book by a guy named Robert Sapolsky called Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers or something like that. And I realized this is a big deal. So I thought, well, okay, so what am I going to do about it? And part of that is just learning how to deal with situations that are not to my liking in the instant that they happen. And learning to do one of several things, maybe step back literally and figuratively, take a deep breath. And then if the situation is so emotionally charged, to say to whomever it is on the other end, I’m sorry, I just can’t handle this right now, but I promise let me take 5 minutes and collect myself. Then we can talk. Would that be all right with you? That sort of thing. Because I realize this would really help me. Plus, I didn’t like the way I felt if I got all wound up about something. I realized that that probably wasn’t helping me really deal with whatever the situation was. So it was kind of a two for one thing. Okay, I can react better to stressful situations in my life, particularly those that occurred frequently, and then I’ll get more work done and I’ll feel better. Wow. What’s there not to like about that?
Peter Bowes: And how have your friends and family noticed a change in you? And if they have. What have they said?
Alan Carpenter: Yes, my wife, particularly. And one of the things about me, according to some personal profile that I took some years ago, was I have a strong sense of idealism, which is nice in some ways, but there’s a negative part of that, too. And one of the things that I like to do is be right, and I can be self-righteous, and that usually doesn’t sit well with other people. And I’ve just learned to just sort of calm down, take it easy, acknowledge that I don’t know everything. Other people have valid points of view and just kind of let that go. And one of the key phrases that I’ve learned, would I rather be right or would I rather be happy? And that has done wonders in terms of helping me be a better husband and I’m sure a better father to our two kids.
Peter Bowes: And that’s all part of developing a different mental attitude. You write about having a positive mental attitude. Did you identify aspects of your attitude pre accident that weren’t always positive?
Alan Carpenter: I’m sure I did, but right offhand I can’t remember accepting the whole thing of being self-righteous and wanting to be right all the time.
Peter Bowes: It’s all tied in, isn’t it?
Alan Carpenter: Yes. In some way or another. Yes. Right. And these different healthy lifestyle choices I’ve identified are not tight compartments with no overlap. There’s a lot of overlap between them and of course, overlap between, you know, things that are good for our body, often are good for our mind and spirit as well. But one of the things I realized after I it dawned on me from my readings that having an optimistic lifestyle and also being grateful and being forgiving, I realized, wow, if if I’m just carting around all these grudges and bad feelings about other people or myself, for that matter, that’s really not doing me any good. That’s just kind of stupid. And one of the things I learned some years ago and then forgot was the whole business of. Writing a forgiveness letter to someone who we feel has wronged us. Well, it turns out in my case, it was my now deceased father who left our family when I was five years old. That was something that I as a kid, I didn’t quite know what to do about all of that. I probably internalized some of that is my fault and or feeling bad in some way or another about it. And at one point I wrote a forgiveness letter to my father telling him what I thought, what he did was bad, how it hurt me and my two brothers and my mom and all this stuff. And then I said, You know what? I forgive you. And it is done. I burned the letter and all my bad feelings towards my father disappeared. It was magical. And they haven’t come back. And I’m not. I’m not the only one who’s carting around bad feelings is really not that hard to write a forgiveness letter or some such thing and just get rid of that stuff. And life gets better after that.
Peter Bowes: And it’s not just forgiveness. I hear this from a lot of people. Just the process of writing things down is so helpful. So yes, you might want to forgive something for something in the past. You might want to express your ambitions for the future. You might want to express your goals for the day. Or just sum up what’s happened in the last 24 hours, that there is something almost spiritual in that process and it does lift your frame of mind.
Alan Carpenter: Yes, that’s right. Yes. In the trade, this is called expressive writing developed by a guy named Jamie Pennebaker at the University of Texas. And he’s got a book about that. And 15 minutes a day for several days in a row where I sit down and write about something that’s really on my mind. And and I really let my emotional part of myself come forward and write all this stuff down, not in sort of glowing phrases and all that, but just to write it down in the simple mechanical act of writing rather than tapping on the computer. Research shows it’s really helpful in this regard, and just to get that stuff out there and to come to terms with it in some way or another. We can’t change the past, but we can change how we think about the past and how we feel about the past, similar to the whole business of forgiveness. And if we can do that, we’re going to be better off. We’re going to be happier folks. We’re going to have sunnier days and we’re going to be able to deal with aging a lot better than we otherwise would be able to.
Peter Bowes: Well, on the subject of aging, you write about living with purpose. You were you said 65 when you had your accident. What age are you now and how do you see your future?
Alan Carpenter: I’m 75 and two thirds right now. I think purposeful living is gigantic, especially with older folks, because we’re at a point in our life that many of us are not working for a salary or a wage anymore. There are other things that we can do with ourselves because hopefully many of us have enough resources to live on otherwise. So being able to give back to the world is for me and I think for a lot of other people a huge deal because living with purpose helps us create meaning in our lives. It really doesn’t get much more basic than that. If we feel like our life has meaning, we’re going to live a lot better. We’re going to master aging compared to the other situation. So one of the things I do and I think a lot of older people do, is to volunteer for a community organization. I happen to have been a volunteer for about 20 years now, I think,with a group called Wildlands Restoration Volunteers here in Colorado. One of the great things I enjoy about the volunteer projects is consorting with upbeat, positive can do. People that are out there doing these restoration projects because they want to,because they want to give back, they want to feel like they’re doing something useful not not that they aren’t otherwise in their life. But this is, I think, a really important part of our human existence. If we do these things, we feel better. We meet wonderful people, which is part of them making social connections. We feel better about ourselves, not in some egotistical way, but just the fact that we’re doing something useful. And there’s science now behind this that people who live purposeful lives live longer and live better than people who don’t. Again, it’s one of these what’s what’s there not to like about that?
Peter Bowes: I agree with you. And it’s one of the big things that’s come through to me through this podcast where we talk about diet and exercise and other aspects of that affect our physical being. But one of the huge things that I get from many people, including yourself, is this spiritual, mental side, this purposeful, driven life, especially involving other people that helps, especially in the latter stages of your life. So whether that’s in your sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, hundreds, it affects people in different ways, but it’s always a positive impact.
Alan Carpenter: I think. So at least I can speak for myself and what I see in other people. For example, the volunteers that are out on the Wildlands Restoration Volunteers project. I can just see the glint in their eyes, just the way they carry themselves. At the end of the day, where we’ve done something, we look back and this was this was great. We did something useful and people go home with a spring in their step, even though they’re tired and they feel great and not again in an egotistical sense, it’s more just isn’t that great. I met wonderful people. We did something useful. And what’s next?
Peter Bowes: I think it is wonderful. Do you yourself have longevity, aspirations? How do you see the next few decades?
Alan Carpenter: I want to keep doing my long distance hiking and bicycling adventures and my volunteering, my outdoor work, volunteering as long as I can. So according to the Social Security website, I think my expected lifespan is let’s see, I think it’s about 87. So I think I’m good for about 12 more years. So if assuming I don’t die before then, I want those years to be full of all sorts of interesting and wonderful things. Now, I may not be able to hike the Pacific Crest Trail again when I’m 85, but I’ll be able to do things that are meaningful and interesting and wonderful to me. And I think part of being older is to part of it is coming to terms with I’m not 65 anymore, so I need to just be aware of that and act accordingly. I mean, not sit around all the time, but just to come to terms with, I can’t walk, walk 25 miles a day anymore like I used to be able to. And maybe I’m good for 18 or 20. Well, that’s all right.
Peter Bowes: That’s. That’s pretty good.
Alan Carpenter: I’ll keep doing it.
Peter Bowes: Alan, it’s been a real inspiration to talk to you. I wish you all the best with your future endeavors and the book, of course. And wherever you find yourself, trail walking or climbing in the future. Do be careful. But have fun?
Alan Carpenter: Yeah. That’s what my wife and my mom say. Be careful, Alan, because they know on some occasions I haven’t been sufficiently careful.
Peter Bowes: Yeah, maybe you could reframe that as just being adventurous, but yes, I think being careful is is pretty good. Alan, thank you so much.
Alan Carpenter: Well, thank you, Peter. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here and I hope your listeners get something useful out of all this.
Peter Bowes: I hope so too. It’s been a great pleasure. Alan’s book is Choose Better, Live Better. There’s a link in the show notes for this episode where you’ll also find a transcript of this conversation. The LLAMA podcast is a Healthspan Media production. We will be back very soon with another episode. In the meantime, thank you so much for listening.
The Live Long and Master Aging podcast, a HealthSpan Media LLC production, shares ideas but does not offer medical advice. If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.