March 25, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Captains of Industry

This week's beauty is Ted Page. If I had to say one thing about Ted it is that he is a very funny guy. He is also a wonderful story teller and has a great voice. Ted is co-founder of Captains of Industry a strategic marketing and communications agency in Boston with expertise in branding, renewable energy, video production, and viral marketing.

Without further ado I bring you our beauty of the week and his tips for aging gracefully.

"Hi. My name is Ted Page, but everybody calls me Mr. Beauty. Why? Because for some inexplicable reason, this older version of me stands out as someone who could offer advice on how to age with grace. I think the real reason I’m standing out more these days is because of my pattern baldness, which reflects the suns rays and shines like a beacon for those seeking advice.

In truth, I think growing older is a lot like falling backwards from an airplane into a void – not that that’s a bad thing. It’s just that there is a certain lack of control in the aging process and the knowledge that no matter how many organic vegetables I eat, I’m heading to the same place as the folks who eat chicken from a bucket. I’ll likely live longer, but the destination is the same. That said, while there is an inevitability to growing old, I have found that there are some things that have kept me feeling and looking a bit younger than I actually am at 51.

First, lying. I met two people at a trade show who both independently swore I was 39 years old. So, I immediately spoke with one of my younger employees and asked him, if I was 39 years old, what kind of music and movies would I like? The answer: Michael Jackson, and Tron. For weeks, I swore that Michael was the BEST. And Tron was a formative movie-going experience for me. I even changed my Facebook profile with the bogus date. A friend (damn them) called me out immediately. So I changed my Facebook birthdate to 1922. Now all the Google ads they stick on my Facebook page have headlines like, “Don’t go to a nursing home!” and “The New England Bucket List.” This gives me a delightful peek into what the future holds. Laughing is very therapeutic and good for your body. There’s a whole branch of yoga, in fact, that gets people to laugh uproariously in group sessions. Which leads to my next tip:

Hot yoga. You look at people who do yoga all the time, and it’s hard to tell how old they are. That’s a place I’d love to get to. The yoga studio I go to in Watertown heats up the room to about 100 degrees, then puts you through 90 minutes of intense workout. It’s intense. I’m gradually getting into shape after a year – but I have to admit that once I hit 40 or so, my body reminded me of a Pop N’ Fresh dough container that had already popped; getting the dough back in was nearly impossible. I’m six foot six inches tall and make for a very large Pop N’ Fresh container. Nobody wants to put their yoga mat next to mine for fear I will fall on them like a tree.

Scotch. It’s not just a beverage, it’s a preservative. A lot of people get really hung up on eating and drinking only whole foods, mostly fruits and vegetables, and drinking purified water. And they take vitamin supplements. And avoid being in the sun. All those things may be a good thing, but the sheer obsession with always doing the right thing can wear on the spirit. It can be unhealthy to always worry about healthiness. Whereas Scotch makes no pretentious health claims, and is in fact deadly in large quantities. But sitting by a lake with a glass of Scotch on a summer day, or reclining by the fire in winter with my friend Mr. Dewars, makes me feel good. That counts for something.

Being who you are. I went through a very bad hair period, when I was getting a bald spot and my wife accused me of doing a “comb over.” I ended up getting a buzz cut, and – ironically – for the first time in my life people complemented me on my haircut. Why didn’t anyone ever compliment my haircut when I had hair? The reason may be that when you stop trying to cover something up and you just are who you are, warts and all, people respect that. They say, “Look. He’s not a comb-over douche.” It’s probably the same reason people sleep with midgets who don’t wear high heels.

Turn off the crap. I was amazed recently when I went to a conference, and everyone “listening” to a lecture was looking down at their phone, tweeting and texting. This is billed as progress. All I can see is people who are so incredibly distracted they’re not really experiencing anything fully and powerfully. We’ve gotten so used to having devices attached to our heads so we can answer phone calls, that I think there’s a real danger of becoming deaf to reality. While a certain level of connectivity goes with work life as part of the package, I do make a point of shutting it all down on a regular basis. It’s relaxing. It’s good. I wish everybody did it more often because there would be a hell of lot less road rage and arguments and stress.

Sing. I sing renditions of Pennies from Heaven or other old jazz when I’m walking through Boston. If people think I’m odd, fuck ‘em. But I actually don't’ think they do. I think they want to sing, too, but are worried it will make them look strange. If everybody was singing, though, it would seem entirely the norm. This is something to shoot for that I know will never happen, like getting all the dough back into the Pop N’ Fresh container.

Celebrate. When I look at my face, or my wife’s face, there are lines. We raised two children who are now 21 and 24, both now living in New York. I figure we earned the lines. The time my then 3 year old son, Nicholas, threw up down my wife’s dress on a day she was rushing for an important business meeting (that led to a facial line for sure). Or the time my daughter’s boyfriend gave her a ring that was a little too small, and her finger started to swell when she couldn’t get it off, and I ended up in the hospital emergency room with her at 2:00 am with a doctor and his bolt cutter. That was at least line or two on my face. A thousand other moments, a thousand lines. I’ll take them all. They’re scribbles on my wall, like the markings we made on the door jamb showing the kids at different heights and ages. Why would I ever want them erased?

That’s all the beauty tips I can muster for now. I hope this helps you on your journey."

Thanks Ted!

Below is Ted's video where he pledges that he will eat his boxer shorts if he doesn't land a new solar account. But guess what? He didn't have to eat them :-)