“Bam. Clank. Clank. Bam.”

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At 307 South Bridge Street in Victoria, Texas when I was a kid, during Fall mornings I woke up to the sound of hammer on steel coming from almost two houses away. “Bam! Clank! Clank. Bam.” Mr. George Conti the blacksmith hammered on iron in the back of his brother Joe’s Hardware store. Conti’s hardware. George was a tall, narrow statue of man with a long Ichabod Crane face. Fire illuminated his smudged face, great smiling teeth and brightened the edges of his dark circular goggles.

Day after day he danced over that furnace in the middle of a barn like room. Thousands of pieces of shiny bits of coal strewn across the floor. Mr. Conti pounded away at iron. Bending it. Shaping it. A new cattle brand for a local would appear right before your eyes. Farm equipment restored. Or a gate mended stronger than ever. Striking when the iron was hot and pliable. Cooling it in the water trough where it harden solid again. The best thing about it for me? Watching this great quick smoke fill the air and disappear, followed by a rugged perfume of burning coal smoke, hot sizzling metal, grease and oil. I’m sure it wasn’t great for your lungs, but I do remember how oddly comforting it all smelled.

Fire it up again.
Mr. Conti’s work is a metaphor for aging today. Now comes the opportunity to strike when the iron is hot. Time to create new ideas, stories, plans and actions to reshape aging. Given these actions Boomers will see purpose, unearth a new value of self worth that’s stronger than any steel.

Take heart, skillful storytellers are appearing to tell the tale of how to construct a shinier future. Not with corny wishes nor stories typed through rose colored crappy glasses. But with real ideas to utilize older individuals in a positive light. Everywhere we look now on the subject of aging is a lopsided, out of balance, end of world storylines. Yes it’s time to strike with the fire that’s hot. Things are just heating up. Join in, start designing your age. Send the old ideas to blazes. Your fiery new ideas are welcomed here. tuck@designyourage.com

Time to do it again

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Time to make it happen again.

When did freedom of religion become the reverse meaning to discriminate ?

Why did people go silent when poor people were blocked from voting? And poor people that worked hard now have become the enemy?

How did we get even more politicians to become corrupt to
ensure the outcome to extreme right or extreme left causes?

Why were gun crazies allowed to make it bad for responsible gun owners?

When did people start believing that business would treat us more fairly than a government that was not perfect but had rules to protect us ?
And have those protections carefully erased?

When did the poisoning of our food, land, air and water become disguised again
as the price of good business? And I have watched as family and friends have gotten Cancer or become ill become as a result.

When did TV and Internet News figure out they could make even more money by pumping up the fear and produce a divided states of America ?

When did Universities and Colleges lose touch by not keeping up and providing degrees that would ultimately help our young people get jobs that would have a sustainable wage?

All of that hate and fear wasn’t how we saw the future when I was a kid.
It was going to be a brighter future.

We are still a gifted nation of great people with winning ideas and compassionate
hearts. Where most importantly the majority of Americans are WILLING to work together to find answers. But that picture isn’t give the time of day on our internet or TV screen.

When you were 18, you were going to change the world. Then you had to go to college. Get a job. You got married. Had kids and a mortgage. Now is your time again.
The world doesn’t have time for you to wait any longer. You can make it happen.


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“Houston we have a problem. New York we have a problem.Cleveland,Birmingham we have a problem.” The list of cities and towns with this problem goes across America. The problem is we see no value in older people. No value in Boomers either. Achieving this Moonshot is about revealing evidence that there is financial, and social value to being older. And Boomers are coming back to make sure this happens. I can hear their rockets firing from way over here. Retiring = Death. In more ways than one.

A Sneak Peek.
Recently a friend retired from an organization that calls her back for special projects. “Tuck, I’m helping the company’s franchisees sell their businesses and making the succession transition easier. They don’t have anyone around anymore that has the experience.” This brain drain she tells me will come more and more apparent. Look at the studies and evidence from Kaufman Group to Wharton College that note individuals over 55 are almost twice as likely to launch high growth startups. And have sustained success.

The Challenge: Value in Being Older.
Right now we have no set standards of why older people are of any value ?
Our societal declaration in advertising and media communicates to women in their 40’s that they are almost toast. Gray haired is colored in by a lot of worried men in their 50’s. Since the 1960’s the accelerator of thought has been floor boarded that Youth is the gold standard. So how do we show worth in older individuals?

Victory Plans
There are 3 fronts of attack to answer this Moonshot of Value for being older.
1)Self Awareness- People have to understand and believe that they are worth value to society and business. 2) Society has to recognize the value. 3) Business has to see overwhelming value. There are a lot of moving parts here.

As an advertising guy I see part of it coming as a robust public service campaign. Cities across the U.S. were finally successful with their communication campaigns against trash and litter. From “Pitch it in the basket” to “Don’t Mess With Texas” and the “Truth” campaign was spot on in diminishing the attractiveness of cigarette smoking. An “Age Value” campaign with smarts, clever execution, and real evidence needs to go forth.

Why It’s Better Now.
Some scientists are engaged in the fight. You’ll find my book Design Your Age offers some tools of showing how people are more valuable, but we can always use more bang for the boomer here. Meet Dr. Nancy Morrow Howell a brilliant, Gerontologist and Professor at the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at Washington University in St Louis. Nancy is looking at communication, guidelines to help older adults and getting a wide spectrum of ages to team together on solutions. The same goes for the work of Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes with the Institute of Aging at Boston College. Or the work of Mick Smyer, Former Provost at Bucknell University and others. Their work and classes are building newly recognized foundations of value.

Help me and email me why it’s better now. Tell me what is better now that you are older. Email me at tuck@designyourage.com I’d like your words, your iphone video or your skype call. I’m going to film it. Help me plant this flag. This Moonshot isn’t about hanging your bare bottom out a car window. It’s about reaching for something higher. Showing how value for older people is truly out of this world good.

Pssst….I’ve got that secret anti-aging stuff for you.



Dealer: Psssssstttt. I’ve got a new, secret anti-aging gift here for you.

Mary : Really ? Good quality ? With Adult or Pre-Natal Stem Cells ?

Dealer: Pre- Pre-Natal. Guaranteed to grow your Telomeres. Fueled by cellular hypodermination. Repairing. Rejuvenating. Re-cleansing. You’ll be a Telomere donor after this stuff.

Mary: Dear Lord, I could outlive my children.

Dealer: I’m not sure, unless you get some for them too.

Mary: And how much is it ?

Dealer: I can get you in on the ground floor with multiple down streams.
And this first delivery…well it’s free.

Recently a friend invited me to attend a little party as there were individuals who would might be very interested to hear about my new book, Design Your Age. As we walked into this beautiful large home in Austin, Texas we could see women encircling the dining room table. A special “ageless” crème was being applied to their faces. The women were asking each other, “Does this side of my face look better? What about here ?”

Get in on the ground floor.
“Oh God” I thought to myself. “It’s a multi-level marketing sales party.” But then I became fascinated to see the anti-aging pitch. Everyone was asked to the living room and watch a special DVD presentation. On screen a woman roughly in her late 30’s in tailored workout gear delivered a passionate speech to the viewing audience. To paraphrase. “You’re getting older. You might no longer be the trophy and your husband might get another trophy. And if he has been playing a little loose with your joint investments here’s a good way for you to stay young and make a stronger independent income. The dialogue was scripted to mine anxieties of the women in the room while offering a miraculous, yet common sense solution.

The Tease.
The camera began to reveal the immortalizing wonder
products. CGI film techniques were employed to make them magically appear. Filling the room was an emotionally driven sound track and voice over with a litany of superlatives that would make Steve Jobs break out in the biggest smile. Lots of RE’s…..Repairing. Restructuring. Revitalizing. Restorative.

But wait there’s more.
Just then through the front door walked in the host, a fit fellow, roughly around the age of 40. Well polished appearance in a light blue dress jacket. A charismatic ringmaster who went on to underscore the claims. “This is very rare, but I know a lady who makes a million dollars a year.” But the one claim that stopped me dead was .. “Yes this is the only product proven to grow Telomeres and strengthen the Telomere strand.” I was interested in this claim because one of the key engines in aging deals with the age of a cell and its ability to divide is related to structures – telomeres – found at the ends of chromosomes. He further described the patented product as a discovery by a renown age scientist. And the ringmaster’s assistant chimed in by saying most of the products in the room were now been sort of endorsed by Kim Kardashian. “And Kim’s no longer doing botox.” The murmur of “hmmm….oooohhhh” went across the room. Later I discovered the renown age scientist was a very popular plastic surgeon in New Jersey.

All the guests had the best intentions. The seductive suggestion of immortal beauty or the return of it, the flowing wine, the different beautifully packaged supplements, crèmes, lotions, and pills were powerful persuaders. But the claims! I could hear the little man Hervé Villechaize from the Fantasy Island TV show screaming in my thoughts. “The Claims. The Claims”. My friend and I found our way to the front door.

The Claims
“Bunk em. Having longer Telomeres does not mean better health.
And this product does not grow Telomeres.” This was the consensus from some of my age scientists friends actively engaged in true age research. I had gotten my email response the next morning after the party. In the area of Telomeres there are studies indicating that some Telomeres and their mechanics may indeed attract certain types of Cancer. ( 2. R.T. Calado et al., “Telomere diseases,” N Engl J Med, 361:2353-65, 2009.)

Magical Language
“Cellular senescence. Pre-Natal Stem Cells. Telomeres. Autophagy cleaning. Life Extension. Gene expression. New words are streaming out of scientific journals, biology classrooms and the nightly news reports. Each are being carefully cherry picked, massaged and wholly manipulated for audiences. In my trade of advertising they are also called “weasel words”. You don’t exactly tell the truth, you sort of weasel the language to make it seem absolutely true.

Hands Slapped
Who’s the Sheriff in town to protect us from the anti-aging product slingers? The FDA has slapped warnings on companies such as Avon and Lancôme. As recent as this year, a warning went out on StriVectin a product sold in Nordstrom and Bloomingdales who makes pricey anti-aging potions. Their claim its Potent Wrinkle Reducing Treatment ($99 for 1.7 oz.) was “clinically proven to change the anatomy of a wrinkle” and that its Advanced Tightening Neck Cream ($95 for 1.7 oz.) could “restore the elastin fiber architecture… improving resistance to gravity.” We all need new verifiable proof.

Where’s the Truth ?
So how do you know what’s true and what’s crap science? Turn to the research of scientists at Age Research institutes. They are the tried and true revolutionaries hard at work at unlocking the challenges of aging. First to truly end the disastrous diseases of Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Cancer, Diabetes and others that pop up as we reach older age. Getting your information from age institutes is where to find the real gold, the real answers. Check out first AFAR.org. The American Federation of Age Research. Many age research institutes offer up healthy regimes for you to follow, which from time to time I will post here. Be wise, be wary the age hucksters out there. The last quote I remember from ringmaster was not about science but how ‘aging products’ were estimated to generate 191 billion dollars by 2019. The one thing that Anti-Aging Hucksters will make look younger are your pants pockets when they are empty and turned inside out.

Magic Beans of Aging


Magic Beans of Aging.

(Caution: Can cause gas and only work half the time… in your dreams.)

Where’s the magic beans of aging ? “What’s one thing that will keep me younger Tuck ?”

Well you’ve just answered an important part of it in that one question. As corny as it sounds that one thing is YOU. All those original molecules flying and zipping around inside of you along with your own emotional charges hold a key to staying younger. You are of your own design. But still where are those Magic Beans you ask?

So many lotions and potions out there with the instant promise like Magic Beans.
But still even with the Beans, Jack had to climb the beanstalk to get his treasures.
So can you still find treasures at your age ? Yep. I’ve got a list that goes on and of individuals that continue to
create and produce far into their 80’s and 90’s.

You start by remembering the victories you have had in your life. How you came back from setbacks. I have a big list of casualties behind me in getting to finish my book Design Your Age. But those challenges and falls have fueled me to want to help others even more. You have those victories inside you. They are in your well. The well of your own personal history. But we dismiss them.

You might have raised children. Fought back illness. Stepped in to help others when they were a bit lost. That keeps you younger. Don’t regret anything in that hospital bed you might find yourself in later. To all my friends that go on about how they love God. Well show God you love yourself too. You’re no hypocrite. Get out of that chair. Start standing at a stand up desk. Start that strength building. Step away from sugar. Drop a few pounds. Get out and walk a few blocks. You’ll find you’ve got some beans. But they won’t appear unless you design it to be.

Change the negative perceptions of aging. It’s more than possible.

poo fairy2Change the way you see aging now. Other misleading perceptions have been dismissed. Like litter and garbage. For example in the late 1960’s after you drove through the roadside hamburger stand and after you finished the hamburger and fries…you threw it out the car window. Then in the early 70’s we saw the damaging effects of pollution. In the 1980’s advertising campaigns like “Throw in the basket” and “Don’t Mess With Texas” started working and litter eased up. Here I offer the example now “There’s no such thing as a poo fairy.” About cleaning up after your dog. The Keep Britain Tidy campaign.

The same is true for cigarettes. From the inception where Cigarettes like LUCKY STRIKE were endoresed by physicians as a healthy product to the ending of Cigarette TV commercials in 1969. We now know Smoking kills.

Instead of just showing white haired people laughing and dancing. We need to show real people still creating. Individuals who are still innovating, producing new ideas and product. Very very cool individuals well into their numerical age. Tell it fresh. Make it entertaining. It can and will happen. And that’s no poo.

The Journey To Write Your Book – DESIGN YOUR AGE. What’s Best About You Never Ages.

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“No matter what happens on this road I will continue, continue to move forward.” I’d say under my breath a thousand times, to try to convince myself. While writing this book I swear I watched things in my world fall out of the sky and for some reason I couldn’t do a damn thing. That was the hardest part. Made me feel unspeakably selfish. Happened a lotta of times. Yet along this road to write this book friends stood nearby and encouraged me to keep on. By all means I am more than grateful for their patience and understanding. Grateful as well to happenstance. God. And the generous actions of so many. This book Design Your Age at its core is not about vanity. It’s about righting injustice and erasing the virtually deadly way in which many quietly accept some artificial fate of aging that can consume and finish you. Ultimately I hope this book helps YOU see aging in a new way. It’s time anyway and time to make it entertaining.

This isn’t my book. It’s YOUR book. I heard your frustrated voice time and time again. Telling me there’s more to getting older than classifying people with words like Senior. Elderly. Frail. Throw those words out the window. Create new language of “YES” empowerment. This is a new kind of generation that will not tolerate antiquated,useless descriptions and crap assumptions that do not serve humankind.

Let’s look at aging with new lens. Come on you can see it. I’ve got the evidence and the view once you really decide to see.

“How Old Are You ?” What do you say when they ask?


If you are a boomer this question is an invitation to ageism. Equivalent to racism. Too drastic you say? When you tell your age and they reply “You look good for your age.” You have now have accepted that you accept society’s cultural prison of numerical age, declaring your limitations, humiliating yourself.

Their positive reply is like saying “Wow you are smart for being a mentally challenged person.” That’s crap.

So how should you answer? Tell them “I’m 16 inside actually. How old are you?”.
That’s a healthier place to reside in this world.