Massage & Bodywork

MARCH | APRIL 2022

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m p.co m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 59 an adobe exterior and a Japanese-style roof. So, I did a Japanese-style garden." It was that simple design element that propelled Golden Door, and when the spa had to move years later to accommodate a new highway coming through, the Zen garden theme followed suit and remains a primary design element at today's Golden Door location. "We called it a spa and fitness resort," Szekely explains of their new venture, which would become a destination for the Hollywood elite. "Escondido is just a little over an hour from Hollywood, so that if the studio called, the actors could go back. They also could bring their voice coach down. Remember, there was no competition, there was nothing that would exercise them five hours a day and feed them low-calorie, health-nut food, and everyone in Hollywood wanted to drop a few pounds." All of which made Golden Door the perfect oasis and a huge success. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RETIREMENT The achievements on Szekely's resume are long and impressive. In addition to a run for Congress, she managed a federal agency (the Inter-American Foundation), served as a delegate for UNESCO, and was selected to the President's Council for Physical Fitness by Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and Ford, serving in that role for almost 25 years. She founded Eureka Communities and the New American Museum, and launched a Wellness Warrior website 10 years ago as a health resource. Today, her days remain full. "I'm working on two books, I have a puppy dog that needs water and walking, and I have a lovely social life—I go to concerts. Right now, there is a concert series every Saturday, and so Wednesday and Thursday I'm at the Ranch, and Friday I have friends for dinner, and Saturday I have the concerts and I don't know . . . the week just flows." And with her 100th birthday celebration coming up in May 2022, retirement is not a word she's ever embraced. "I say I'm retired from the daily grind, but I'm not retired from life at all." A CENTURY OF WISDOM You can't let a vibrant spirit like Szekely leave the conversation without asking what has fed her longevity. "The main thing is self-care—I walk an hour a day, I'm religious about that. I like being young at 99, and so I have to commit myself to being young at 99—it doesn't just happen." And she believes strongly in the "siempre mejor" or "always better" way to frame life. "My husband brought that motto to our lives. I wish we could say it as a society, but we can say it as an individual—I'm always better. And that is the goal to achieve." She believes being physically fit gives you the stamina to handle the hard things much easier. "It's even more important in difficult times to be healthy, meaning you watch what you eat, and watch how you act and how you think and what you think about. I do not welcome negative thoughts. When I have them, I say, 'Go away, I'm not going in that direction.' You can change your direction. You can't do much about all these horrible things that are waiting out there, and you don't know which ones are going to come up and which are not. All you can do is know that you, yourself, will be physically fit and in good boxing shape." And her biggest self-revelation? "I found years ago that everything I fretted and worried about never happened, and I think that was the most important discovery I made. I stopped worrying. You do your best, and God does the rest. That's all you can do. But at all times, you do your best and you do it honestly and with pride. And passion." Karrie Osborn is senior editor at Massage & Bodywork magazine. Health and healing have always been at the heart of the Rancho La Puerta philosophy.

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