There’s no denying it. We’re all aging. Some better at it than others, but we are all aging nonetheless.

Laptop bag with a few miles on it

Aging is in the news these days, and in my scientific circles, a lot of serious and outstanding researchers are working on aging. Pretty much every few days, major news organizations will have a story on the latest thing that will help slow down or somehow avoid aging.

Simple bag, aged for a few years.

Just today I read an interesting blog post by Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times recapping the trends over the year relating exercise, mental capacity, and aging as judged by telomere lengths. Telomeres are the ends of DNA chromosomes that tend to shorten over time, because they don’t get replicated as efficiently as the rest of the chromosome. There is an enzyme that fixes these called telomerase, but it’s not perfect and can’t keep up forever… The short summary of Gretchen’s blog and many recent scientific studies is that exercise helps to keep our brains working better and our telomeres longer. Maybe exercise is the elusive fountain of youth!

After reading about exercise and aging, I went to my shop to finish up a belt that I’d been working on, and since my hands were covered with oil and grease from that, I decided to rub a little oil and Pecard’s dressing into some of the old things that I’d made over the past few years and use regularly. It is always nice to put a little shine on old leather, and I started to think that maybe one of the reasons people like leather is the fact that it ages so well. I have some old saddle bags that were made not long after the Civil War, so good leather can outlast all of us, exercise or not.

New belt over simple bag over laptop bag. All were made with the same type of Hermann Oak leather.

The bags in pictures above were posted when they were new. The simple bag is one of my favorite styles, and the original is here. A similar laptop bag that was new is shown here. The lighter colored belt is new, but they are all made from the same type of leather that was oiled and finished the same way.

All you need to keep good leather looking good is to rub a bit of Pecard’s or something similar into it every so often. It just keeps getting darker and richer from your oils, and it becomes part of you in many ways.

Your telomeres take more work. Make sure that you take that nice walk, run, bike, swim, row, … today. It not only clears your brain, but it makes the neurons better connected and the ends of your DNA from getting too short!

Author: edisonleatherworks

I'm a biochemistry professor and leatherworker who likes bicycles, travel, art, education, and music. Walking is my favorite form of transportation, and I regularly practice Tai Chi.

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