In early 1991 I began contacting up-scale retirement homes…the kind that offered their residents amenities that included lectures by paid speakers…because I had a burning desire to share some of the life-changing information about health and longevity that I had gained so far on my metaphysical journey. My intuition told me that seniors would be the ideal audience to start with, as I’d never before spoken in public. Guided by that inner voice I was able to book engagements at every place I contacted. I was so grateful for that.
By February I’d scheduled talks at 10 retirement homes, most of them near my home in Southern California. I had also asked each resident manager to arrange for a few of their more vibrant residents aged 90 or older to meet with me after my talk, as I wanted to interview them for a book I might write. What those oldsters shared with me was not at all what I had expected to hear.
The topic of each of my talks was: “Your Beliefs, Your Attitudes and Your Health.” I had learned from wise teachers and from personal experience that our beliefs and attitudes are important factors in the state of our health, along with our expectations about it.
And I had expectations about what those 90 year olds would tell me to explain their good health and longevity.
One of the things I thought I might hear was how that oldster I was interviewing had always believed that they’d have a long life because all of their relatives had lived to a very old age (commonly known as “having good genes”).
Or perhaps they had been careful to only eat healthy foods, watch their weight, and never smoke. Maybe they’d tell me that because they were always so cheerful and happy they just never got sick.
Who knows, thought I, some of these seniors might even be like my grandma and my mother, both of whom lived past 103 by avoiding medical doctors and prescription medicine like the plague.
But I heard none of those reasons.
Each of those dear old folks who happily shared their life stories with me revealed the same basic thing about them self. It was something I hadn’t even considered. Every one of them was passionate about something that brought fun and creativity into their life.
Here are three inspiring stories from the seniors I interviewed:
JOE. Joe was 93 and in a wheelchair fulltime. He said that until last year, he’d competed in seniors’ wheelchair races in meets with others from local retirement homes. Joe had many trophies that proved his enthusiasm for winning but most of all he loved the camaraderie and the fun of those competitions. Then his health took a downturn, so racing was out. That’s when Joe took up painting.
He was as keen about painting as he’d been about competing, and Joe was producing several acrylic paintings every single day. He said he gave his best ones to friends and family. He showed me stacks of his colorful artwork leaning against a wall in his room. Creative and prolific Joe really inspired me!
MARY. Ninety-one year old Mary had been an army captain’s wife in her 40’s living on a base in the U.S. while her husband served in Europe during WWII. Lonely and bored, she began thinking of ways to keep busy and maybe earn a little money. She came up with a unique design for a full-coverage kitchen apron with practical details that made her design stand out.
At first Mary cut and sewed all the samples herself and took them around to local stores. They soon were a hit, so she hired some of the other army wives to help make the aprons. After a year or so, her thriving business required factory-made aprons to fill all the orders. Contracting with a garment factory was her next step. Eventually a big company bought her out.
It was obvious that now, at 91, Mary still had the same enthusiastic energy…this time as a collector of antiques. A couple of times every week Mary and a younger friend with a car would visit nearby towns to see what treasures could be discovered in their antique and “collectibles” shops. They always had a lovely lunch (Mary’s treat) and made a fun day of it.
Sometimes Mary brought home a real bargain that she’d found, because of course she’d learned all about antiques beforehand and was savvy about their value. Mary was still that shrewd business woman with passion and drive.
ANNA. Another standout in my memory was tall and elegant Anna, a handsome woman with snowy white hair and a youthfulness that belied her 94 years. Her passion was the piano. She said that her well-to-do family had first arranged for a piano teacher to come to their home when little Anna was just five years old. Her piano lessons continued for many, many years and she appeared in numerous recitals, often as the featured soloist.
Anna especially loved playing classical piano and performing before an audience, but unfortunately her skill and artistry did not meet concert-level requirements. But that didn’t keep her from having a musical career, for Anna taught piano in schools, public and private, until she retired in her late 60’s. Then she played at home every day for her own pleasure.
When she finally moved into this up-scale retirement residence, she brought her Steinway baby grand with her and had it installed in the recreation room. Anna still played her beloved piano daily…and now she always had an audience.
Having PASSION and FUN! That is the secret to keeping bright the flame of Eternal Youth.
…My 80th Birthday began with a fun game of seniors doubles. Maybe I’ll still be playing when I’m 90…Patty Paul 🙂
© 2017 by Patty Paul. All rights reserved. For information about Patty Paul, her books and YouTube videos, please visit her web site: www.23brightfuture.wix.com/patty-paul