The Smith Center
Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 | 10:07 p.m.
Audiences were dazzled when gorgeous blonde Susan Anton premiered her hometown concert of songs at the Smith Center two weeks ago. There was a collective intake of breath and wolf whistles when she revealed from the stage that she is 65 years old. Susan, who was television’s “Golden Girl,” is a statuesque beauty standing 6 feet tall and still has model looks along with that big smile and huge mane of hair.
One of the songs she belted out beautifully was Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.” It was so powerful, the audience jumped to their feet with a standing ovation. It triggered the thought that she should explain how she remains forever young, so we invited her to share her tips for staying young and vibrant:
OK, where to start? “Forever Young,” tips on staying youthful and vibrant. I am flattered that my good friend Robin Leach feels I am qualified to share my “tips” on staying young. A compliment I appreciate and welcome. These are just some of the things I have learned over the years that have enriched my life and kept me looking and feeling young.
Let’s start with the facts. I am 65! It’s a number, and that’s all! I cannot tell you the number of times I have been around people who feel inclined to be identified by the number of their years. I hear conversations like, “I’m too old to do this or that.” “I’m not as young as I used to be, better pace myself.” “If only I were younger.”
The first and most important tip I have for staying young is guard your mind. Be mindful of your thoughts. Thoughts follow action. If you think you are old, then guess what? You are. I choose every day to have positive, life-affirming conversations about my life, looks and abilities. Be aware of your thinking. You are not a number. You are a vibrant soul with endless possibilities.
Faith. For me, this is essential for a youthful life. There is nothing that can age you faster than worry, anxiety and fear. I choose every day to turn over all the details of my life to God knowing that He has my back. This frees me up to be in the present with joy, excitement and wonder. When problems and disappointments visit my door, and they do, I turn them over to The Big Guy and stay focused on the answers. When you choose the answer, the problem disappears. They cannot co-exist.
I am a firm believer in staying tapped into your feelings. They will always let you know if you are “in” or “out.” If I am having negative thoughts about myself, my life or a situation or person, I will feel bad. I choose to feel good, so I change the channel, so to speak, and realign my feelings with joy, love, compassion, beauty and kindness. Feeling good shows on your face. If you feel good, those around you are bound to feel good, too. Choose to feel good.
We have a dog. His name is Joe. I cannot tell you how much he impacts my life in a positive way. Joe definitely keeps me young. It is true what they say about dogs: They love you unconditionally, and isn’t that something we all crave? Joe, reminds me every day of the power of love. Whenever I come home, he greets me with absolute enthusiasm. His tail wagging affection and boundless energy let me know I matter. We all want to matter, right?
Joe also insists that I get out and move every day. We start each day with a long walk. Joe is constantly making me aware of the beauty and magic of each day, and the simple things of life we can easily take for granted like the weather, the environment and each another. Joe definitely keeps me looking and feeling young. I encourage you to open your heart and home to a dog.
Say “yes.” Yes to new opportunities, adventures, challenges and people. Be willing to expand your world and venture into new terrain. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The times I have felt my most youthful were the times I said yes to things I had never done. Yes to being on Broadway in “The Will Rogers Follies” where I was required to sing, dance and memorize pages and pages of dialogue, not to mention make dozens of wardrobe changes in seconds.
I was terrified but fully alive. I met people who became some of my most cherished friends today, and I experienced New York City in a new way and fell in love with its fast-paced energy, magnificent buildings and cultural diversity. Try new things. Be open to change, and allow new situations to test you and grow you in new ways. Say yes.
Humor is essential to staying young. Be able to laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously. Laughter can heal just about anything, and if it doesn’t heal it, it sure makes it better. When my husband, Jeff Lester, and I disagree, we have learned that if we take a step back and look at the situation, it’s usually something silly and we start laughing. We instantly reconnect and move on.
I was blessed to know one of the funniest people who ever lived, Dudley Moore. He was a wonderful actor, great musician and lovely man, but his greatest gift was that he was funny and loved to make me and others laugh. I was once asked what makes me feel better, a good laugh or a good cry. I answered that I laugh till I cry. I worked many times with the legendary George Burns. George laughed every day, and he lived to be 100 — so laugh!
Music keeps me young. I love music. As a girl growing up, Mom and Dad always had music playing in the house. I learned to love their music. Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Peggy Lee and many more. I can still see Daddy dancing with Mom in an impromptu moment when their song would come on, “In the Mood.”
They would dance across the living room floor, and in that moment, I didn’t see Mom and Dad. I saw Lou and Wally as they were when the met as college students. In the 1960s, I discovered my music: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and more.
Make sure you keep the music playing. Robin shared with me a story that Dick Clark, the perpetual teenager, told him that he slept with a little speaker playing music under his pillow at night. It worked for Dick Clark, it works for me, and it will work for you. Play music, and play it loudly.
Pick up trash. I know that sounds funny, but it works. I believe that our surroundings, environment and homes are reflective of who we are and what we care about. How we take care of them is how we take care of ourselves. Make things beautiful. When you see something that can be made better by you, it makes a huge difference.
When we take Joe for a walk, I always take a trash bag with me. I am constantly amazed at how much trash is cluttering up our beautiful city. We must treat the planet with respect. When you make a difference, it reflects on your face. You, too, become more beautiful.
No article on staying young would be complete without beauty secrets. I don’t have secrets, but I do have daily rituals. I love to start every day writing in my gratitude journal. I have been doing this for more than 20 years. This morning ritual helps me to get focused, centered and ready for the day.
I exercise at least five times a week. I have discovered an amazing workout. It is done on a Megaformer. It’s like Pilates on steroids. It is the hardest, most complete workout I have come across and takes only 45 minutes. If you want to stay young, you must exercise and stretch. Keep flexible.
I eat a pretty healthy diet. Lots of greens, lean protein and water. I’m also a big believer in indulging from time to time. My weakness? Potato chips! Food that makes you happy is good for you. Just don’t make it a daily habit.
Wash your face in the morning and evening with a gentle exfoliator using the Clarisonic face brush. I moisturize with good old-fashioned baby oil. Coconut oil also is a great way to go. Sunblock is a necessity.
It’s important to have a great dermatologist and regular checkups. I take advantage of great breakthroughs in skin care like Botox and Juvederm. Make sure you go to a licensed professional. It is an art form, and you want the best.
Hair color is important as we age. As our skin tone changes, we need to adjust our hair color to complement our coloring. Make sure you see a specialist. It makes a world of difference. My go-to guy is Michael Boychuck at Color in Caesars Palace. He was there for my Smith Center concert with Robin.
Take advantage of free makeup demonstrations. You don’t need to buy everything, but it might help you discover techniques that will help make the most of the products you already have.
These are some of the things I have discovered in my 65 years that keep me looking and feeling youthful, but none of it matters if you don’t have love. I have been blessed to be married to a wonderful man for the past 23 years.
Yes, he is handsome. Yes, he is five years younger than me, and that keeps me young. But the best quality about Jeff is that he is a good man. He is a kind man. He is a caring man. After many relationships came and went, it would have been easier for me to decide not to get involved again. Breakups are hard. But you must be willing to let love come into your life no matter the consequences.
Take every opportunity to work on yourself knowing that the perfect someone is out there working on themselves, too, and when you are both ready, you will connect. That’s what happened for me. It’s important to love yourself, too.
Have love for others, life and this amazing planet. Get rid of the trash whether it’s in your mind or on the street. Choose to see what is good. Choose to be happy. Choose to be kind. Choose to live each day with gratitude. I believe 100 percent in the law of attraction. What you put into the world is what you get back. So radiate love, my friends.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.