It's never too late to create change in your life, according to singer Naomi Judd. The five-time Grammy winner talks with Dr. Oz about surviving hepatitis C and about the message of her new book, Naomi's Guide to Aging Gratefully.
Having been healthy all her life, Naomi says her world was "flipped upside down" when she was diagnosed with hepatitis C. She had contracted the liver disease during her earlier years as a nurse, when she was exposed to needles and infected blood. A doctor told her she only had a few years to live, but Naomi says she wasn't ready to go. "Your body literally will make real whatever you believe," she says. "If you have a doctor telling you you're going to die, it does become a self-fulfilling prophecy." Rather than accepting the diagnosis, Naomi says she chose to fight it. "I really had to understand that it's not what happens to us, it's what we choose to do with it," she says. Today, her disease is in remission.
Nowadays, Naomi says she is focusing on aging well, and she wants to encourage her peers in the largest demographic in the United States to do the same. "There are 78 million baby boomers, and I don't understand why we don't acknowledge and utilize our personal power and economic clout," she says. "We have the wisdom, the experiences and the deep pockets. We have to get to the advertisers and marketers, because they're not keeping pace."
Part of aging gratefully—and gracefully—is knowing who you are and what makes you happy, Naomi says. She says she advocates living a stripped-down life, reducing the outside influences of the media and people who drain your energy. "I now choose to spend an hour in solitude every day in the morning," she says. "I'm by myself, with my dog. I have rituals—I don't watch TV, and I actively choose what I read, what I listen to and even the people I'm around. The older I get, the more I get rid of."