By Diedre Johnson
Cameron Diaz will talk coyly about her marriage to musician Benji Madden but she really wants you to know that you can live longer if you take care of your genes. The 43-year-old actress is promoting The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time, an information guide to help females to “Embrace the process of aging”. She spoke very openly before an audience of mostly females at Live Talks Los Angeles says the idea was a result of promoting a film a few years ago.
“Right when I was about to turn 40, I was doing press for a film and I was getting a lot of questions about what it was like to turn 40. ‘Aren’t you scared to turn 40?’ ‘How do you feel?’ I started going, ‘I feel great, thanks. I can’t wait to turn 40. I never had a problem with aging.’
Then I started realizing that ‘Oh, what you are telling me is that I should be afraid to turn 40 and the death of my career is imminent now because I am not 25 any longer and everybody knows that. There’s no hiding it any longer. I’m looking older. People know how long I’ve been around. And basically what people are saying is that you’re no longer viable.’” At first, Diaz admits she was insulted.
“My way of being is sort of like f… you. Oh really, you want to know how I feel about aging. Let me write a book and I’ll let you know, but deep down inside what it really did was hurt. It hurt a little bit and I thought, ‘Maybe I should be scared’. Maybe this is scary and I thought that was really unfair because I feel really vital. Then I started to think, ‘How dare you tell me what I’m supposed to feel’.
Then when (writing partner) Sandra (Bark) and I did the research, I thought, ‘Wait a second, they should have been asking me how are your bones. How is your heart feeling? Did you have a checkup? These are the things they should have been asking me because aging is a real thing and aging is by nature, by definition, it’s a decline.
The science is–as we get older–we do start to decline and very specifically in all these areas; our brain, our heart, our bones, our hormones and it’s definitely something to know about, to understand so you can get ahead of it.
It’s what you have to do because health becomes a cliff. It’s like you’re just driving and looking in the rear view mirror you’re going off that cliff. You’ve got to keep your eyes on the road and the journey ahead of you and you have to be prepared for the turns.”
Diaz and Bark spoke to top gerontologists studying aging at various US aging research institutions. The book explores how genes are affected by stress at a cellular level and how food, exercise, sleep, stress release and loving relationships delay it.
The actress certainly ticked off the last one on that list by marrying Madden in January of 2015 and admits life with him is sweet. “Life is completely different after you get married, that’s for sure.
It’s amazing. It’s one of five pillars of well-being. I’m in a loving, connected, loving supportive relationship so I can check that one off.”