Throughout his nearly 90 years of life, Alan Alda has seen his fair share of ups and downs. In addition to becoming an icon of classic TV with his role as Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce on MAS*H, Alan Alda is also a Korean War veteran, a Polio survivor, and is currently battling Parkinson’s disease.
Despite all these hardships, however, Alan Alda maintains a positive attitude. His age and life experiences have given him a unique perspective.
In an interview with AARP Magazine, Alan Alda opened up about his perspective. “You know, with the world changing so rapidly, there’s no point in being optimistic or pessimistic about anything,” Alda said. “You’ve just got to surf uncertainty, because it’s all we get.”
According to Alan Alda, the true secret to happiness is plenty of laughs – something most of us don’t do nearly enough. “Laugh! Laughter is good,” Alda said. “When you laugh, you’re vulnerable. You’re opening yourself up. You’re not protected.”
“That’s why a lot of executives don’t laugh much,” the MAS*H star continued. “Because they think it gives up their strength. But you gain so much through vulnerability. You let the other person in, and that brings us all closer. We can’t take ourselves too seriously.”
‘M*A*S*H’ Star Alan Alda Tackles Parkinson’s Diagnosis With Positivity
When it comes to hardship, Alan Alda leans on a positive attitude to see him through. And when Alan Alda was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the MAS*H icon’s positivity didn’t waver in the slightest. On the contrary, Alda pushed even harder to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
“I began to exercise a lot,” Alda recalled of his post-diagnosis approach. “A lot of people hear they have Parkinson’s and get depressed and panicky and don’t do anything, just hoping it’ll go away. It’s not going to, but you can hold off the worst symptoms. Movement helps: walking, biking, treadmills. But also specific things: I move to music a lot. It’s not the end of the world when you get this diagnosis.”
Despite being in his 80s, Alan Alda says he still feels like a kid, and attributes this youthful mindset to his active lifestyle. “I work out,” Alda explained in an interview on the Today show. “You can hold back the progress if you do a lot of specific exercises. So I do a lot of crazy things.”
What kind of “crazy things,” you ask? Well, in addition to swimming, bicycle riding, and tennis, Alan Alda also enjoys boxing, juggling, and marching to John Philip Sousa music.