Aging well with Sandra Day O'Connor

Image of Sandra Day O'ConnorFormer U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who sat on the bench of the nation’s highest court for a quarter of a century, no doubt remains one of the wisest minds in all the land. In 1981, she became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court; and until she stepped down in 2006, O’Connor issued opinions that were increasingly known for their grace, strength and moderation — in the face of some of the most contentious political issues of that era.

Her voice is no less powerful at Stanford, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1950; two years later, she graduated from Stanford Law School.

In 2010, in response to questions from BeWell, O’Connor offered some thoughts on growing old and aging well.

The biggest misconception about aging:

"Society tends to think that old people are frail and crotchety. In fact, a healthy older person can often be much more interesting to be around than a young person.”

The secret to living a long, healthy life:

“It seems clear to me that to live a long and healthy life, one must eat wisely and consume what I would describe as a Mediterranean diet. Avoid fat and sugars. And, it is clear to me that one needs to exercise frequently throughout one’s life span. These things can help us live longer and better.”

What she would do differently:

“If I could make one change in my lifestyle, it would be to make sure always that I had sufficient exercise — even in my 70’s and 80’s.”

A positive aspect of growing older:

“The best thing about growing older is that one is no longer afraid to speak one’s mind. As we age, we no longer worry about what others may think.”

A few parting words of wisdom:

“One constant in life is to keep working at work worth doing."

Interview conducted by Julie Croteau

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