("90 Lessons to Learn from a 90 Year Old," by David Leddick, Miami Beach, White Lake Press, 2020, available on Amazon)
First off, a full disclosure: I am acquainted with the author, David Leddick, and have had the pleasure of lunching with him. Additionally, I am also friendly with his niece Sarah Leddick.
David Leddick is one of an estimated 94,000 people, more or less in the United States who have reached the grand age of 90. Quite a club to be part of, yes?
And Leddick has weathered age much better than most, in the opinion of this reviewer, and seems to be very much at peace with himself as he shares his hard-earned life's lessons with his readers and chats about his growing into the person he has become.
He could be the poster male for the adage that "age is simply a number." It's difficult to believe, however, that this prolific author, Navy veteran, dancer, and advertising professional is a nonagenarian. Most people would not believe it. His mind and body are alive, functioning and he's at the top of his game. His book is a treat to read. Often frank and quite profound, these are the lessons he has chosen to share with us youngsters as we age.
Leddick has learned a great deal from his time on Earth, and he shares his thoughts and experiences frankly. This is not simply another self-help book, not by any means. The "lessons" range from the philosophical to the interesting to what could indeed be described as "tips." But you always know from whence he comes and where he stands on a myriad of issues. You might not agree with his opinions, but you certainly respect his honesty and forthrightness in setting them down in print. He is nothing if not candid, and those are traits in rare supply these days.
What tips/observations/philosophical musings/and, yes, just plain old pieces of advice struck home with me?
#27 Paying Equal Attention To Your Mind And Your Body – he has a "Must" imperative in that statement – is spot on. As human beings we have both minds and bodies and both need to be taken care of … Leddick does yoga and walks his dogs three times a day. He also gets a lot of sleep … but never has to nap. He reads, he writes, he produces plays. Bottom line: He is active. Behooves us all to never stop being active.
The first time I met him, he told me that he never washes his face. He has great skin. #7 goes into his skin routine. He also recommends putting tea bags under one's eyes in #6 to get rid of under-eye bags. #5 was a new one for me … but I am going to try it: Homeoplasmine. This is a homeopathic salve for minor facial imperfections and available online. I mean, what can one lose? As Leddick puts it, "this is not a paid endorsement … and the only product I will recommend to you in my ninety pieces of advice." (He amends this by also touting Listerine, though, in #20. Again, he says it works for him but might not for everyone.)
Of course, genetics determine how and how well the body ages but it is fascinating to see what else he speculates can make us the best we can be at any age. What about liver? See #50 … he likes eating liver and thinks it may be a factor in his good health … as taking Vitamin C every day might be, expressed in #18.
All this is fun to read but his overall philosophy of life is what drives this little compendium home. I love, for instance, what he has to say about avoiding confrontation (#29) and having a pleasant expression on one's face at all times: #20 Keep A Pleasant Expression On Your Face. It Pulls It Up. Couple this with #2: You Must Always Try To Look Good. To this end, he also recommends cosmetic surgery. #8: Cosmetic Surgery Is Necessary To Keep Your Face And Neck Heading Upward On A Long-Term Basis. He is, again, being honest as to what has worked for him.
I'm also very fond of his exhortation to make one's bed! #64 … But, really, there is so much here to read and to consider. He discusses Courage (#30); Regrets (#33); Lovers and Sex (various of these Lessons); and even the public health crisis we are all now having to cope with the best we can: Surviving The Isolation Of A Pandemic (#24).
"90 Lessons" presents a good deal of musings and gentle exhortations and this review can, at best, only be a skimming of his many, many thoughts on life and death. This reviewer does guarantee, however, that readers will find more than a few "lessons" that will be meaningful to him or her. You absolutely will find something here to absorb and take to your heart and mind. You go, David! And thank you for sharing with readers your most intimate thoughts.