An older woman with a positive outlook on aging stares into the camera, smiling.
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People often say to look on the bright side of things, and though the phrase may seem trite, it turns out that positive thinking is more powerful than you might think. According to a recent study from the Yale School of Public Health, an optimistic outlook on aging can help older adults with mild cognitive impairment regain normal cognition.

Of those studied, positive thinkers who had adopted positive beliefs about aging from their culture were 30% more likely to recover, seeing improvement as early as two years faster than participants with negative age beliefs. Optimistic thoughts about aging “reduced the stress caused by cognitive challenges, increased self-confidence about cognition, and improved cognitive performance,” per a press release.

“Most people assume there is no recovery from [mild cognitive impairment], but in fact half of those who have it do recover. Little is known about why some recover while others don’t,” said lead author Becca Levy. “That’s why we looked at positive age beliefs, to see if they would help provide an answer.”

For the study, researchers tested 1,716 participants aged 65 and above who had a mild cognitive impairment. Based on a questionnaire, they were split into two groups — those with positive thoughts on aging and those with negative thoughts, such as “The older I get, the more useless I feel.” The researchers then collected data every two years over a period ranging from 2008 to 2020. 

The research also shows that it’s not too late for a person to alter their way of thinking about aging — a positive mindset can be learned in older age: “Our previous research has demonstrated that age beliefs can be modified; therefore, age-belief interventions at the individual and societal levels could increase the number of people who experience cognitive recovery,” Levy said.

Having a more optimistic outlook on life is a practice that one can start at any age, even if you don’t have a cognitive impairment.  Here are five ways to learn to think more positively. 

Dean Mitchell/ iStock

1. Memorize positive words to change your mindset

Sometimes, changing your outlook starts with the language you’re using, so the Berkeley Well-Being Institute recommends trying to memorize positive words. If you struggle at first, you can write the words down on flash cards and stick them in your pocket for easy access. 

2. Write down the positive events in your life

Many psychology experts suggest creating a daily or weekly gratitude journal. The journal can be a place for you to chronicle all of the past and present positive events in your life, as well as plan for the future — some pen and paper could be all it takes to gain perspective. 

3. Set attainable goals and chart your progress

Speaking of plans for the future, setting attainable goals could also help turn your outlook around. Attainable goals are, by their very nature, meant to be achievable, allowing you to score a win that will boost your positivity. They also provide a way to chart your progress (perhaps in that journal you’ve started). 

RELATED: “Add to Your Happiness”: 5 Positive Resolutions for 2023 — and Every Year

4. If you’re feeling sad, try smiling more

Don’t underestimate the power of a smile. Previous research has shown that smiling, even if you don’t feel so cheery on the outside, can reduce your heart rate and lower blood pressure in stressful situations. 

5. Imagine positive outcomes

Researchers have found that imagining positive outcomes or scenarios can help reduce worry. In one 2016 study, the outcomes didn’t even have to be related to the situation at hand — just imagining a positive future helped participants feel better.

From left; Evan Agostini via Getty Images, Denis Makarenko/ Shutterstock, s_bukley/ Shutterstock

Before Bea Arthur was Dorothy Zbornak on Golden Girls, Pat Sajak hosted Wheel of Fortune, and Tom Selleck was Dr. Richard Burke on Friends, these celebrities served in the U.S. Military. It’s a reminder that people from all different walks of life come together in service of their country, and of how important it is to honor those who’ve done so — whether they’re celebrities, family members, friends, neighbors, or strangers. 

This Memorial Day, we’ve compiled a list of actors, singers, and celebrity hosts who spent a portion of their lives in service: from the Marines and Army to Air Force and more. As we recognize these individuals, we also hold special space for those who sacrificed their lives to protect others.  

Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur (center) with Golden Girls co-stars Betty White and Rue McClanhan Photo by Desiree Navarro/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Born Bernice Frankel, Arthur enlisted in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve five days after the military branch started recruiting women for the first time. According to a handwritten letter she wrote, she was eager to help even though she had another job lined up: “I was supposed to start work yesterday, but heard last week that enlistments for women in the Marines were open, so decided the only thing to do was to join.”

The former Golden Girls star served as a typist in Washington, D.C. before becoming a driver and dispatcher in North Carolina. In 1945, she was honorably discharged at the rank of staff sergeant. 

Tony Bennett


In 1944, Bennett was drafted into the U.S. Army at 18 during the final stages of World War II. The Grammy winner was deployed to Europe in 1945, among those who replaced soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of the Bulge.

Once the Germans surrendered in May 1945, Bennett was stationed in post-war Germany, where he fittingly joined a band that entertained the troops, according to War History Online. Only a few years after his service, he signed with Columbia Records and released his first No. 1 song “Because of You” in 1951.

Johnny Carson

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Before Carson became the legendary king of late-night TV, he wore a lot of hats — magician, writer, and member of the Navy. After he graduated from high school, he joined the Navy and went to midshipmen’s school at Columbia University. He then spent the latter part of World War II as an ensign serving in the Pacific, per The New York Times.

Clint Eastwood

The actor and director served in the Army during the Korean War. He got a job as a swimming instructor and stayed at Fort Ord in California. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, he was a passenger on a torpedo bomber that crashed off the California coast near Point Reyes due to engine problems. Fortunately, Eastwood and the pilot survived after swimming to safe shores about two miles away. 

He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1953 — and soon after started his career in the film industry. 

Morgan Freeman

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

In 1955, Freeman turned down a drama scholarship from Jackson State University and instead enlisted in the Air Force. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, he was trained to be an automatic tracking radar repairman. 

About four years into his service, he was honorably discharged as an airman first class and moved to Los Angeles, where he took acting classes and studied theater. He’d go on to film many movies with military connections, such as High Crimes and Glory.

Elvis Presley

Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll entered the U.S. Army in 1958. During his active military career, he served as a member of two different armor battalions, in Texas and Germany. It was in Germany where he reportedly met his future wife Priscilla at a party. Presley was discharged from active duty in 1960, soon after he was promoted to sergeant. 

Willie Nelson

Rick Kern/WireImage for Shock Ink via Getty Images

The legendary singer and songwriter enrolled in the Air Force after he left high school in 1950, per His service lasted about nine months due to back problems, which led him to being medically discharged. Decades later, Nelson continues to use his voice to advocate for veterans by supporting post-traumatic stress disorder awareness programs and participating in charity concerts

Tom Selleck

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The star of Blue Bloods (and for Friends fans, Dr. Richard Burke), Selleck served from 1967 to 1973, which included six months of active duty. He was issued draft orders during the Vietnam War and joined the 160th infantry regiment of the California National Guard. “I am a veteran. I’m proud of it,” he said, according to “I was a sergeant in the U.S. Army infantry, National Guard, Vietnam era. We’re all brothers and sisters in that sense.”

Hugh Hefner

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Hefner, the founder of Playboy, was an Army soldier in World War II. After graduating high school in 1944, he enlisted in the Army as an infantry clerk and won a sharpshooter badge during basic shooting, notes. In addition, he contributed cartoons for Army newspapers before getting released in 1946. 

Pat Sajak

Pat Sajak and Wheel of Fortune co-star Vanna White Jim Spellman/WireImage via Getty Images

The iconic Wheel of Fortune host served in the Army in Vietnam as a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, playing music for troops. “I used to feel a bit guilty about my relatively soft duty,” Sajak said, adding: “But I always felt a little better when I met guys who came into town from the field and thanked us for bringing them a little bit of home.”

James Earl Jones

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In 1953, Earl Jones (whom we now know as the voice of Star Wars’ Darth Vader) was commissioned a second lieutenant and decided to forgo medical school, reports.  The actor went on to become a cadet and a member of the Pershing Rifles Drill Team, and was eventually promoted to first lieutenant. However, rather than pursue a career in the Army, he decided to pursue his dream of acting. 

Chuck Norris

General John W. Handy presents Chuck Norris (left) with the "Veteran of the Year" award at the American Veteran awards in 2001 PJF Military Collection via Alamy Stock Photo

Born Carlos Ray Norris, the famed martial artist enlisted in the Air Force in 1958 after high school. He joined as an air policeman and was stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea, which is where he picked up martial arts skills, got a black belt in Tang Soo Do (a form of Korean karate), and was nicknamed “Chuck” by a fellow airman. 

Adam Driver


The actor said in a 2015 Ted Talk that he felt “an overwhelming sense of duty” after the 9/11 attacks, which prompted him to join the Marines. He added, “I loved being a marine. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of having done in my life.” 

He served for two years and eight months before getting medically discharged — with the rank of lance corporal — due to an injury he got while biking. After his service, he went to school at Juilliard, started acting professionally, and eventually merged his Army and acting background into the nonprofit Arts in the Armed Forces, which was founded in 2006 and provided free arts programming for U.S. active-duty service members, veterans, military support staff, and their families. It dissolved in February 2023

Zulay Henao

Storms Media Group / Alamy Stock Photo

The Colombian-American actor served three years in the U.S. Army, enlisting shortly after high school and going to basic training at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, per The Wrap. “The first day of basic training was really hard,” she told Maxim, adding, “I quickly realized I’d have to change my attitude if I was going to get through it. I’ve always tried to make the most out of my experiences, but that one was tough.”

Drew Carey

Kris Connor/Getty Images

Before hosting The Drew Carey Show and The Price Is Right, Carey performed stand-up comedy while serving in the military in the 1980s. He signed up for the Marine Corps Reserve in his early 20s after struggling academically in college, and he went on to serve for six years, reaching the rank of sergeant.

According to the blog Together We Served, Carey primarily worked as a field radio operator in the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, in Ohio — where he honed his comedy skills.  

Sunny Anderson

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Food Network Magazine

Anderson — celebrity chef and bestselling author — joined the Air Force in 1993 and served in Seoul, South Korea as a military radio host. From there, Anderson worked for San Antonio’s Air Force News Agency Radio and Television and was honorably discharged in 1997 as a senior airman. 

When asked on the Rachael Ray Show about her favorite memories of her service, Anderson said they were “the travel, the camaraderie” and “teamwork.” 

Kris Kristofferson

Garry Miller/ Getty Images

In addition to being an actor, singer, songwriter, and Rhodes scholar, Kristofferson is also an Army veteran. 

He joined the Army in 1960 and received flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he became a helicopter pilot. He later completed Ranger School and was stationed in West Germany, where he formed a band. Come 1965, he left the Army to pursue songwriting, which would be the start of a decades-long career in music.

RELATED: Never Too Old to Succeed: Inspiring People Who Achieved Great Things Later in Life

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Bicycling has long been celebrated around the world — and the sentiment is seemingly growing. An increasing number of protected bike lanes are being built across the United States; Amsterdam unveiled a massive underwater bicycle parking garage earlier this year; and more doctors have been prescribing cycling to help patients with anxiety and depression. 

If you ask us, all the bike brouhaha makes perfect sense. Riding is one of those precious, simple joys we get to experience as both children and adults: the wind whipping through our hair, the feeling of exhilaration when we’re hurtling down a grassy hill, the sense of satisfaction after a long, meditative ride. 

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a rookie looking to get started in style, check out our list of bike helmets, clothing, and accessories to make your riding experience even more enjoyable — and safe. 


Smith Persist Road Helmet


For meticulously designed protection, go with Smith. This helmet features a dial adjuster for a fine-tune fit, air vents to keep your head cool, and the MIPS® Brain Protection System “to reduce impact forces in the event of a crash.” 

Thousand Heritage Helmet  


Designed for city cycling, Thousand’s vintage-inspired helmets are stylish and practical, with a hidden channel to slide a U-Lock or chain lock through so you don’t have to carry your helmet into the office or grocery store. You can find staff writer Rebekah Brandes sporting hers (in willowbrook mint) on regular neighborhood rides. 

Schwinn Thrasher Helmet


Schwinn has been in the bike game since 1895, and many of us rode around wearing the brand’s helmets in our childhoods. This adult version is a lightweight, inexpensive option with adjustable fit settings and a visor to keep sun off your face while you pop a wheelie. 


Tifosi Sledge Sunglasses 


This pair, available in three color schemes, comes with three interchangeable scratch-resistant lenses for different levels of light transmission, all offering 100% UVA/UVB protection. The oversized design provides more sun protection while the ergonomic face-fit ensures they stay snug. 

Smith Shift Split MAG Sunglasses 


Invest in “next-level perception” with this pair of Smith sunglasses. Featuring light-sensitive lenses with ChromaPop™ lens technology that enhances color and contrast, they provide great eye protection with a slightly wraparound fit and adjustable nose pads.

Cycling Clothes

Flylow Hot Tub Men’s Bike Shorts 


Per the name, these shorts can be worn in water and are made with quick-drying material that also provides 40 UPF sun protection. But don’t just reserve them for the beach or lake; they’re also built for mountain biking, hiking, or just hanging out. 

Lululemon Women’s Align High-Rise Shorts


Though they were designed for doing yoga, Lululemon’s line of high-rise shorts are great for riding as well: The brand’s proprietary Nulu™ Fabric “feels buttery-soft and weightless,” and they have a hidden waistband pocket to stash a card or key while you’re on the move.  

Inbike Fingerless Gloves


Cycling gloves are great not just for enhancing your grip, but also for avoiding blisters and reducing the feel of vibrations from the road. This fingerless option will keep you cool and comfortable while providing both palm and knuckle protection. 

Bontrager Circuit Road Cycling Shoe


Can’t forget about the feet! The Bontrager road cycling shoes combine “elite performance with best-in-class comfort” — and they’re easy on the eyes (and feet) as well. They boast a hook-and-loop toe strap and BOA® L6 dial so you can adjust your fit with ease, and the stiff heels ensure the optimal power transfer from foot to pedal. 


Wahoo GPS Cycling Computer


This convenient gadget directs you turn-by-turn with LED and audible cues for guidance at a glance, and easy sense buttons allow you to keep your eyes on the road while toggling between features. Monitor your progress and performance, and pair it with your phone so you don’t miss call, text, and email alerts while you ride.

The Polar Bottle 

It’s crucial to stay hydrated when you’re exerting energy, so why not do it with some pizazz (and at a reasonable price)? The 24-ounce Polar Bottle is available in a ton of color options, has a handle for easy pickup, and boasts a leakproof cap design. Plus, each one comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Trek Commuter Pro Bike Light Set


Safety, first! You should always ride with a reflective surface on your bike, but installing a light is even better for visibility. Trek’s Commuter Pro set wirelessly pairs a high-beam front light with a compact but powerful tail light so you can see and be seen with confidence. 

Heavy-Duty Bike Lock Set


We hope you haven’t felt the specific sorrow of having your bike stolen, but if you have, you know how important a reliable lock is. This set includes both a U-Lock and a 4-foot-long heavy-duty security cable that is both heat and hydraulic shear resistant. It also comes with an easy-to-install mounting bracket so you can store the lock while you ride. 

Photos courtesy of Chelsey Brown

Love letters written by a long-distance couple, a diary belonging to a teenage girl, and a photo album originating from the Civil War are just a few of the hundreds of artifacts that Chelsey Brown has returned to their rightful owners. The heirloom hunter, who started doing returns in 2021, has reunited people around the world with their lost items.

“The most incredible stories and the most incredible humans I’ve come across are behind these artifacts,” Brown, 30, told Nice News. 

It all began when the interior decorator was thrifting at flea markets for her clients.

“My dad is a genealogist, so growing up, I always had this connection with genealogy, and it would break my heart every time I would pass a box of family heirlooms at the flea market — like letters, diaries, jewelry, you name it — because I know that those items should be with their rightful families,” she said. “One day I just decided to take what my dad taught me, what I knew about researching, and see if I could start returning these artifacts to families. And once I started, I never stopped.”

Photos courtesy of Chelsey Brown

When she finds an artifact that features a name on it, Brown puts the name in a genealogy database. She then uses census records, marriage certificates, obituaries, newspaper articles, or draft cards to hopefully track down the family of the person it once belonged to.

“Every single artifact tells such a different story,” said Brown, who has recently begun dealing with larger, more expansive artifacts, such as pieces connected to past wars. “I actually favor the letters and the diaries more than any other artifacts because they can tell you things that no record ever could.”

Some of those letters feature extraordinary love stories, such as the collection belonging to Claude and Marie Smith that was discovered during a home renovation in the 1990s. 

While Brown never had those specific letters in her possession, she was able to help the person who found them return the collection to the late couple’s daughter. “That was just such a special return because … the daughter never knew that her parents wrote letters back and forth to each other during World War II,” explained Brown. “It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime surprise for this family.”

Photos courtesy of Chelsey Brown

The New York City-based author, who uses her own money to purchase and ship the items, is selling a time capsule journal that’s available for preorder through the end of May, so anyone can record their family’s history. The sales from the journal will also “fund purchasing more heirlooms and being able to return [the] items to their rightful families,” said Brown.

In addition to making an impact on the families who’ve received their relatives’ lost items, Brown has also become a sensation on social media. With more than 240,000 followers on TikTok, she’s able to share her love of history with younger generations while telling the long-lost stories behind the artifacts she finds. 

“I’m inspiring a new demographic and a new generation to get involved or to become more interested in history and family history,” she said. “It’s exciting to see where this project will be 10 years from now because I only see it growing.”

RELATED: Divers Rescue Woman’s 100-Year-Old Wedding Ring From River: “A Total Miracle”


Sponsored by Babbel

Language is the ultimate connector: It allows us to exchange ideas, thoughts, and feelings with others. And in our incredible, multicultural world, being able to speak in more than one tongue unlocks so many rich experiences, not only when we travel great distances, but also in our own cities and states. Whether you’re yearning to communicate with people across the globe or right at home, Babbel is a flexible, fun, and easy way to start speaking a new language in just three weeks. 

The premium, subscription-based language learning platform offers bite-sized, 10-minute lessons available in 14 languages — including Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Indonesian — and you can access them wherever you’re most comfortable: on the plane, at the library, or home on your couch. Even better? For a limited time, you can get up to 60% off your subscription during Babbel’s Memorial Day sale.

Unlike many other language learning apps that use artificial intelligence to generate lesson plans, Babbel believes in the power of the human mind: It was developed by over 150 expert linguists, and real language specialists design every lesson, so instead of practicing random phrases chosen by an algorithm, you’ll learn how to chat naturally — and on the topics that interest you. 


As a Babbel user, you can tailor lessons to the things you’re most into, with special courses focused on sports, festivals, travel, tongue twisters, and more. Learn about the cultures behind the language you’re speaking, too, with Babbel’s Countries & Traditions course, and the many context tips sprinkled throughout each lesson. Plus, with its Speech Recognition Technology, you’ll be honing your accent and pronunciation right from the start. 

Babbel’s teaching method has been scientifically proven to work: Users have reported being able to have basic conversations after just three weeks of daily practice. And it’s designed for learners across various life stages and skill levels. In fact, researchers at Yale University conducted a study measuring Babbel’s effectiveness over a wide range of ages, with 75% of people enrolled being over age 40, and more than 50% over 55. They determined that after just 90 days, 100% of participants had improved their oral proficiency. 

Besides its super convenient 10-minute lessons, Babbel offers other fun learning modes and methods of immersing yourself in a new language. Listen to podcasts, play games, watch videos, and read articles. With Babbel Live, you can even take live virtual classes led by some of the best teachers in the industry. 

Babbel has more than 10 million subscribers, but if for some reason you’re not fully satisfied with your subscription, you can get a full refund with the company’s 20-day money back-guarantee.

Remember, for a limited time you have the opportunity to take 60% off a new subscription during the Memorial Day Sale, so start learning a new language today!

Enoteca Maria/ Facebook

There’s something special about the taste of grandma’s cooking. And Enoteca Maria is all about capturing that something special. The Staten Island, New York, restaurant invites and employs real grandmothers from countries around the globe to cook their family recipes.

“Growing up I realized that my grandmother had been the repository of our family culture and identity. And I found out that, like her, millions of grandmothers all over the world pass down their heritage to their grandchildren,” owner Joe Scaravella, who opened Enoteca Maria 16 years ago, explains on the restaurant website. 

Scaravella began with the goal of sharing the culinary prowess of Italian grandmothers, or “nonnas,” like his own, and has since expanded to feature other cultures, including recipes from Puerto Rico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Greece, and Hong Kong. The grandmas in the kitchen are all lovingly referred to as nonnas, though, regardless of their country of origin.

“We are not chefs. We are just grandmothers (who are) sharing our culture,” Maral Tseylikman, who hails from Azerbaijan and has been cooking at the restaurant for the past seven years, told Today in March. Her compatriot Maria Gialanella, from Italy, has been adding her own flavor to the establishment for a decade. “I’m making lasagna. I’m making meatball. I’m making rabbit. I’m making so much fish, everything,” she said. 

“Many times, these women are empty nesters, their husbands have passed away. Their children have moved out,” Scaravella explained. “So, they’re really looking for an outlet and they have it here. And you know, if they’re not hugging me, they’re hugging their customers.”

Speaking to Travel + Leisure in February, Scaravella emphasized his belief in the power of food to unite people: “Coming off a very divisive period in history, it really helps to bring down those barriers in the same way music and art does,” he told the outlet. “It helps you engage with another culture without even realizing it, so that your personal biases, whatever they may be, are not in the forefront anymore.”

And Enoteca Maria, named in honor of Scaravella’s late mother, has also made it possible for grandmothers and their loved ones to participate in its cultural exchange, even if they can’t make it to Staten Island. Anyone can submit a family recipe to the virtual “Nonnas of the World Book,” made up of entries from the public — click here to check out the recipes and contribute one of your own. 

I Love Books

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that roughly 1 in 5 U.S. adults are illiterate or possess low literacy skills. I Love Books is on a mission to change that, one book at a time.

The social impact organization, founded in 2021, aims to end illiteracy by ensuring that all children have access to books. Through selling apparel and accessories, I Love Books is able to provide new books to youth by investing “50% of [its] net profits in books and literacy programs,” according to the company’s website.

So far, it has donated over 3,000 books to elementary school students across three Kentucky cities: Louisville, Lexington, and Hazard.

I Love Books

“One of the barriers to achieving a high literacy capability for kids is they don’t have books in their homes, or they don’t have books in their communities. Their schools may not have a lot of books, [and] if they do, they may not be the types of books that they want,” founder Jonathan Beatty told Nice News. “If you’re a parent and you’ve got to choose between your meal or rent or whatever bill that you may need to pay and a book, you’d probably choose the prior.”

Poverty and illiteracy are closely linked, so increasing access to books for future generations could help break that cycle, as reading gives young people access to more information and inspiration. Beatty has witnessed the power of books in his own life.

“Books have given me access to information that I would have otherwise never had, including how to build and scale a business [and] how to wire my brain and think more positive in a world that doesn’t necessarily encourage that,” he shared, noting that his favorite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. “For anyone [who] decides to go on a journey to really fulfill their ‘personal legend’ as [Coelho] calls it, I think it is a necessity to be able to read and get information from people who’ve done what you want to do, people who think in a way that you’re aspiring to think.”

I Love Books

To spread literacy among young readers, I Love Books hosts an interactive giveaway called #booksgiving, in which the organization partners directly with schools and nonprofits to provide books on a quarterly basis. For one of the first giveaways, more than 300 children from the Promise Academy at William Wells Brown Elementary got their own copies of LeBron James’ I Promise, which is read at the school each morning. 

I Love Books also hosts a program called B.A.M., combining books, art, and music.

“Instead of just making this about books we wanted to expand and say, ‘What does it look like for us to focus not just solely on reading and literacy? What if we expanded it to show how literacy gives you the ability to write songs or understand music lyrics better?’ As an artist, maybe you want to read more about art or create your own, you’re going to need to read to be able to perform at the highest of levels in that regard as well,” said Beatty.

I Love Books

As for the future of I Love Books, the organization is converting into a nonprofit, which will eventually put 100% of net profits toward books, Beatty explained.

His ultimate message? “To parents, to caregivers, read with your children and read to your children and let your children read to you,” he said. “It’s very important for all parents to make sure they give their time and invest in their children’s literacy, not just their education.”

Delmaine Donson/ iStock

The late Fred Rogers, star and host of the long-running television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, once gave a touching endorsement of the importance of caring. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping,’” he shared. “To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.” 

It’s a powerful anecdote, one Rogers used throughout his life and one that people still turn to in times of crisis. But why do humans care at all — about others, about ourselves, about the world at large? The concept of care is a subject that the field of neuroscience has been paying increasing attention to over the past decade, according to Psychology Today, and the findings warrant a closer look.

What does it mean to care?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, care is defined as “the process of protecting someone or something and providing what that person or thing needs.”

But why do we care? In a piece in The New York Times entitled “We May Be Born With An Urge to Help,”  Michael Tomasello, a developmental psychologist, suggests that helping is “a natural inclination, not something imposed by parents or culture.” Similarly, Frans de Waal, a primatologist, says, “We’re preprogrammed to reach out. Empathy is an automated response over which we have limited control.” 

Words like “empathy,” “compassion,” and “altruism” are often used as synonyms for care, but there are important differences between the terms.

At its essence, empathy is about feeling into another person’s emotional state, whether that is grief, anger, elation, or something else — acting as a sort of “mirror system,” per Psychology Today. Compassion is described by scientists as “sensitivity to the suffering of another, coupled with a desire to alleviate their suffering” and possibly to do something about that suffering. 

Altruism and altruistic behavior, on the other hand, do not necessarily stem from compassion — altruism can be motivated by “a need to feel good about oneself, a desire for social recognition, or to satisfy a sense of duty or obligation,” the website explains. 

The benefits of caring for others

skynesher/ iStock

Scientific research on resilience has established that having a sense of purpose in life and providing support to others is good for us. There’s even a phenomenon known as “helper’s high,” in which altruism leads to the release of feel-good chemicals and an activation of the part of the brain that is stimulated by pleasure. But there’s a measurable physical component to helping others as well. Volunteering for a charitable organization or cause, for instance, has been shown to lower cortisol levels, The New York Times reports.

In a similar vein, providing emotional support can also bring clarity for yourself. 

“One of the best things you can do is call someone else facing a similar problem and talk them through it,” author and psychologist Adam Grant told the outlet. “When you talk other people through their problems, you come up with wiser perspectives and solutions for yourself.”

RELATED: How Animals Can Develop Kindness and Empathy in Children

Self-care versus selfishness

While there are myriad benefits to helping others, neglecting yourself in the process can lead to burnout, poor health, and other undesirable consequences. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. That’s where self-care comes in.

Psychologist and Stanford University lecturer Kelly McGonigal noted that guilt often motivates us to put our own needs behind others, particularly if we have responsibilities as caregivers.

“One of the things that you come across all the time is the idea that ‘I can’t invest in things that are good for me, because it’s taking away from my ability to be a good parent or do what I need to do at work,’” McGonigal told The New York Times in another article, titled “Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish.” She added: “Wouldn’t it be great if we learn to lean in to our interdependence, and that we can actually take some kind of joy in knowing that when I take care of myself, I often am also taking care of others?”

The term “self-care” is often bandied about in the media and tends to be associated with acts like napping, getting a massage, or practicing meditation, but McGonigal stresses that there’s a more important component that impacts your long-term happiness: setting priorities and boundaries, and finding meaning in your life.

“Everybody understands that relaxation and rest is important,” she said. “So there are aspects of self-care related to sleep — everyone should take a bath, light candles. There’s this idea that we need to calm down. But what can you experience today that is going to fill you with the positive emotions you need to do the most important things in your life? It’s about refueling yourself in order to engage with life.”

Cultivating care

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So how can we cultivate more care and compassion in ourselves, and for ourselves? Much as there are many ways to help, there are many ways to learn or expand our capacity for compassion. Here are some simple suggestions for getting started: 

  • Find volunteering opportunities in your community via organizations like VolunteerMatch and 
  • Ask people “How are you?” — and mean it 
  • Start a gratitude journal, and list what you’re grateful for in yourself, in your loved ones, and in the world at large 
  • Integrate random acts of kindness into your everyday life 
  • Reach out to an old friend or acquaintance (they’ll appreciate it more than you think)  
  • Spend more time outdoors, taking in all that the natural world has to offer us  
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We’ve all probably heard the old adage “age is just a number.” But it’s one thing to hear it and a totally different thing to witness people accomplishing big dreams and setting new goals later in life. 

United by a drive to keep moving forward, the impressive writers, adventurers, painters, creators, and changemakers featured in our roundup below remind us there’s no age limit for ambition, or creativity. We can continue to evolve and improve, whether we’re in our 20s or 90s, so take advantage of the season you’re in to learn a new skill or pursue something you’ve always wanted — today is a wonderful time to begin.

Yuichiro Miura | Adventurer and Skier 

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Described as “The Godfather of Extreme Skiing,” Yuichiro Miura was the first person to ski down Mount Everest in 1970. More than four decades later, he became the oldest person to climb the mountain at age 80 in 2013. 

Although he has faced various health struggles since then, they haven’t stopped Miura from setting new goals that, no surprise, involve peaks. After his 90th birthday in 2022, he told Asia News Network, “I’ll try to move my feet little by little, and someday I want to climb Mt. Fuji again.”

Edwina “Eddie” Brocklesby | Ironman Competitor 

At 72, Edwina “Eddie” Brocklesby became the oldest British woman to complete an Ironman triathlon. Brocklesby, now 79, has adopted the nickname “Irongran” and is still maintaining an active, upbeat lifestyle post-hip replacement. In addition to her training, she is also the author of a memoir and founder of Silverfit, a charity on a mission to promote happier and healthier aging through affordable physical activity. Fun fact: She says she didn’t even start exercising until her fifties.  

Nelson Mandela | President, Leader, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner 

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We all know Nelson Mandela for his unwavering dedication to promoting peace and justice. However, it wasn’t until his mid-70s that many of his life milestones happened: He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at 75 (in 1993), and a few months later, he was elected president of South Africa in the first election that was open to all races in that country’s history. Mandela had previously spent nearly three decades imprisoned for opposing South Africa’s apartheid system. He died at age 95 in 2013. 

Harry Bernstein | Writer

Bernstein with fellow winner Isabella Hatkoff at The Christopher Awards in 2008 ZUMA Press, Inc./ Alamy Stock Photo

Harry Bernstein wrote his acclaimed memoir, The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers, at 96 in 2007. His book was published by Random House in Britain after it was found in an unsolicited manuscript pile by an editor who described it as “unputdownable,” according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Bernstein was then awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue his writing at 98, and he went on to publish two other memoirs before he passed away at 101 in 2013. 

Julia Child | Chef and Cooking Show Star

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Commonly referred to as ”America’s first celebrity chef,” Julia Child was one of the first people to host her own televised cooking show. According to the Julia Child Foundation, she was in her early 50s when her sensation of a TV series, The French Chef,  launched on PBS. At 54, she became the first educational television personality to receive an Emmy and she continued to appear on TV shows, write books, and delight the cooking world into her 70s and 80s before she died at age 91 in 1994. 

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, or “Grandma Moses” | Painter 

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A self-taught painter, Anna Mary Robertson Moses (also known as “Grandma Moses”) started painting in her late 70s when her arthritis hindered her from embroidering. “New York collector Louis J. Caldor chanced upon Moses’s work and helped her begin exhibiting professionally. She gained the nickname “Grandma Moses” from a reviewer at New York’s Herald Tribune. Her paintings became immensely popular and were appreciated for their nostalgic charm,” according to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She continued to exhibit her work across the world into her 90s, even painting until a few months before her death at 101 in 1961.

Kathryn Joosten | Actor 

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Kathryn Joosten, an actor best known for her roles on The West Wing and Desperate Housewives, captures the beauty and possibility of midlife transitions. The former psychiatric nurse moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of acting in her mid-50s. She got a recurring role for The West Wing in 1999, at 59, and went on to win two Emmys in her 60s for her role as Karen McCluskey on Desperate Housewives. She died at the age of 72 in 2012

Helen Mirren | Actor

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Helen Mirren has been acting since her early 20s, but it wasn’t until age 61 that she received her first Oscar nomination, for her performance in The Queen. Throughout her 60s and 70s, she has continued to act in dozens of films and TV series — from comedies to dramas to animated movies. In 2022, Mirren was presented with the SAG Life Achievement Award and shared the mantra behind her success: “Be on time and don’t be an ass.”

Wally Funk | Pilot 

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At 82, Wally Funk — a pilot and flight instructor — became the oldest woman to ever go to space. Although Funk actually passed a test to go to space about 60 years prior in her early 20s, she was rejected because of her gender. Fortunately, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos invited Funk to be an honored guest on Blue Origin’s NS-16 mission in July 2021 and she finally got to experience her long overdue dream. 

Phyllida Barlow | Sculptor

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After teaching for more than 40 years, Phyllida Barlow reached new levels of success in her mid-60s for her large-scale sculptures. In 2017, at 73, she was selected to represent Britain at the Venice International Art Biennale, known as one of the largest contemporary art exhibitions in the world. And in 2021, she was awarded a damehood by Queen Elizabeth II. She died March 12 of this year at 78. Her work is described as an “inspiration to so many” with “the power to stop people in their tracks and make them gasp.”

Kittie Weston-Knauer | BMX Competitor

At 74, Kittie Weston-Knauer is the oldest female competitive BMX racer in the country. The trailblazer started riding at 39 and went on to start competing in her forties. However, she learned there wasn’t a cruiser class for women. Instead of feeling discouraged, she decided to compete alongside men. She continues to ride even after going through knee and hip replacements, and strives to encourage fellow Black women to pursue the sport

Roger Robinson | Runner

In February, Roger Robinson wrote for Outside magazine about his experience winning the world cross-country championship at age 83 in 2023. The lifelong runner and author of seven books about running wrote, “a lifetime of racing has taught me that you have to seize the moment.”

RELATED: Never Too Late: Toni Morrison, Vera Wang, and 12 Other Women Who Reached Major Milestones After Age 40

Source Water

The sun does so much for us. It radiates light and warmth that make it possible for life to exist: Solar energy gives plants the chance to grow and thrive, and UVB rays provide us with vitamin D to help boost our moods and our immune systems

Now, an engineering company is using the power of the sun to expand access to clean water, an issue that’s becoming increasingly prevalent as more communities are dealing with water scarcity

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Source Global is creating clean, renewable drinking water directly from sunlight and air by using hydropanels, which essentially function as solar panels that produce water instead of energy. 

A Source Water farm in Australia Source Water

So how does the process work? First, solar-powered fans in the panels pull in ambient air. That air then goes through a water-absorbing material that traps water vapor. Once the water vapor is extracted, it condenses into liquid and minerals are added to “make perfect drinking water,” according to the company. The panel itself is entirely powered by solar energy. 

Since Source uses off-grid technology, the hydropanels do not require electricity, pipes, or plastic. The website lists 91% of the materials as “mass bulk-recyclable” and the panels are said to last about 15 years, depending on how they’re cared for and stored. The hydropanels do not extract any groundwater from the earth, only from the air. 

A Source Water installation on the Navajo Nation Source Water

The off-grid strategy is different from the processes commonly used today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of people in the United States get their water from public water systems, which source it from lakes, rivers, and groundwater. 

However, this isn’t the case for about 2 billion people across the world who do not have access to clean and safe drinking water. Some figures also suggest more than 44 million people in the United States have inadequate water systems and 700 million people could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030

A young girl in holds water created from a Source Installation in Palawan, Philippines Source Water

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this problem, as communities face different struggles. Still, SOURCE’s invention offers a unique opportunity for some individuals to have more control of their water resources, whether they’re located in remote areas or dealing with water quality issues. 

Currently, Source operates in 52 countries in a variety of settings, including a school in South Africa, a hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona,, and a remote community in the Philippines. Most recently, the firm set up hydropanels in Hinkley, California, the area Erin Brockovich discovered toxic chemicals were seeping into the water supply. 

In an interview with ABC News, Colin Goddard of Source explained, “You can quite literally put these on the ground, point them towards the sun, and make your own drinking water.”

Source Water

Recent research from Grist, a nonprofit “dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future,” shows groundwater is “creeping higher” due to climate change. With these changes in rising groundwater come potential new problems for communities, such as heavy metals entering drinking water aquifers and raw sewage seeping into waterways. 

For communities who find themselves in situations without a Plan B, hydropanels could be a reliable, albeit costly, solution. According to ABC News, the panels cost about $4,000.

In addition to the hydropanels, Source also sells bottled water and gives one liter of water to an area in need for every bottle purchased. 

Source Water

While it’s uncertain how hydropanels will help water issues in the long term, they’re an example of the innovation taking place at the intersection of technology and the environment — and a tool that could help make the future a safer and healthier place. 

RELATED: Meet the Engineer Creating Off-Grid Manual Washing Machines That Empower Low-Income Communities