Book Excerpt: Joan Collins on Staying Young

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Sensational at 73, Joan Collins looks great and still has the claws for a glamorous catfight.

After a career that's spanned decades, she's slapping her old friend Linda Evans every night in the traveling stage production, "Legends," and is happier than ever with a husband 35 years her junior.

We should all be so lucky.

So how does she do it? She's telling us in her new book, "The Art of Living Well."

More than just a beauty book, it's a guide to living it up in every aspect of your life.

Chapter 1

You're as young as you look

Think young, live young, forget the word "old"

I never give my own age much thought. Whenever I see it printed in a newspaper, I subconsciously think, "that can't be right, it's impossible." You see, I truly believe you are as young as you look and feel. However much some journalists may criticize me, I know that I look, feel, and behave several decades younger than my actual age, and much of that is because I believe you are what you think you are. This is called positive affirmation and it's a really strong tool. Your mind can control the way you feel, and the way you feel is an important factor in determining how you look. If you feel well and happy your face will reflect this, but if you are down in the dumps and having a miserable time, your face will soon show this too. In fact, you get the face you deserve by the time you're forty, and one of the keys to looking and feeling younger is being active. The date on a person's birth certificate may not be the best measure of their age.

"Growing old is something you do if you're lucky"

I don't really believe that age matters or, that in this tremendously ageist society that we in the Western world live in, an individual's worth should be judged by the year in which they were born. Older people are sometimes derided and mocked by those who are younger, and it's often an attempt at weak one-upmanship. Yes, they may be younger but unfortunately, sometimes, they are also overweight, unhappy, and living a less-than-healthy lifestyle. Since hopefully today we're all going to live longer, it's essential that we live healthier, more fulfilling lifestyles whatever our age, and you're never too old to start this.

One of the main secrets to staying young is staying healthy. I've sometimes had to suppress a smile when some young lady, who has obviously not taken care of herself through diet or exercise, says admiringly, "Ooh, I hope I look as good as you do when I'm your age!" Although it's intended to be complimentary, it's actually a back-hander. I find the attitude of certain young people -- i.e., that being young is to be a superior being -- rather pathetic, and certainly short-sighted because being young doesn't last, and the less you take care of your inner and outer self, the sooner you will lose that glorious bloom of youth.

Let's face it, with today's life expectancy of eighty or more years for women in Britain and the States (around seventy-five for men), you will be truly young for less than a third of that time and for most of your life you will be officially classed as middle-aged. (I'm not particularly keen on that word either, but I guess it's the only one available.) Youth, as we tend to think of it, actually lasts a terribly short time. Not counting childhood, aged sixteen to thirty-five, youth is less than twenty years. Not much time, is it?

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