I recently posted a story on my film Facebook page, The Beauty of Aging, about “skateboarding mama” who is 91 and roller blades along the ocean front in Santa Monica. Like many others, I am impressed with her vitality and spunk. It’s inspiring to hear stories about people in their older years staying active and involved. All the women in my documentary project were examples of this kind of engaged living,
But what if you can’t roller blade, work out with heavy weights, or dance to the wee hours of the morning? What if you have health issues and need to live a quieter life? What if the many examples of inspiring older people feel like pressure to be like them when you can’t?
What I learned from the women in my documentary project and the research about aging is that attitude is a key factor. As Connie Goldman, author and researcher says, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you deal with it.” If physical limitations occur, how do you incorporate them into your life and enjoy what you can?
Shirley Windward, one of the co-stars of my documentary short, “Greedy for Life,” is a prime example of a woman who had a good attitude. She used her writing of poetry to help her deal with some of the challenges in an assisted living center after she had a stroke. Instead of complaining, she wrote and used her humor to adjust.
I know for sure that I will not be roller blading in my 90’s. I”m not doing it now while 70. I do love watching my grandsons in their rollerblading class at the park but don’t see that in my future.
What calls me is remaining active in my way by doing free form dancing, light weights and walking, engaging my mind and my creativity with new ideas and explorations and staying connected with friends and family. Throw in some travel and I’m good to go.
What about you? What calls you? Are you accepting of where you are now? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Documentary filmmaker Steve Loring’s film, The Age of Love, is due out in New York in November. According to the website about the film: “THE AGE OF LOVE follows the humorous and poignant adventures of thirty seniors in Rochester, NY who sign up for a first-of-its-kind speed dating event exclusively for 70- to 90-year-olds. From anxious anticipation through the dates that follow, it’s an unexpected tale of intrepid seniors who lay their hearts on the line, and discover how dreams and desires change—or don’t change—from first love to the far reaches of life.”
http://theageoflovemovie.com/ (click on The Trailer)
More and more I am reading about projects, films, books, and activities that highlight the older older population. In my own film project, The Beauty of Aging, all of the women interviewed and filmed were over the age of 80. They were all engaged in life despite any challenges they had.
It seems that we are developing a different cultural mindset about what it means to be an older person. Yes, some people are ill, disabled or otherwise unable to be active. That does not mean that there’s a disease called aging. Current research supports the belief that good attitudes, active engagement in life with people, projects and activities, creative involvement, and a network of support all bode toward a good old age.
I don’t know about you, but I find all this inspiring and a source of hope. It’s great to have these role models for a lively life as I move toward my 7th decade. I often draw upon my memories of the women in my film project as sources of encouragement and motivation. When Hedda Bolgar says that “the best time is now” at age 100, and Lavada Campbell calls her diagnosis of lung cancer “another growth spurt” in her life as she is into her 80’s, or Shirley Windward wrote 32 poems at the age of 93 when in a recovery center after her stroke, I go WOW. These are some amazing women! I’m grateful to have known and filmed them and enjoy sharing their stories with you. http://www.beautyofaging.com (check out Trailers, The Women and Hedda tabs)
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic, the Age of Love film, and any stories you want to share!
I’m excited to tell you about Rhea Goodman who is “living juicy” and has much to share about how to do this. In her words:
“Part of Living Juicy is aging well, and part of aging well is embracing aging, without being conned by the numbers, or the stories in our heads about what aging looks like. I believe that age is a mind-trip, a numbers game. In fact, we can create a new model for aging! I do this by listening to the wisdom of my body, noticing what I eat, enjoying myself while I walk, run, play,stretch, make love, do yoga, dance, swim, learn new skills. I pay attention and embrace what I love to do, and then DO IT! I go for whatever rings my bell that is oriented toward life.”
Rhea certainly walks her talk, calling herself a cultural creative who has always been interested in alternative modalities such as healing, dance, cultural anthropology, the environment and many more. She has a weekly radio show called Living Juicy from Santa Fe on KSFR, 101.1 FM on Thursday nights at 6:30 mountain time. Her show is Webstreamed live on www.ksfr.org
Be sure to check out her website which has tips on how to live juicy, archives of over 300 of her radio shows and other bits of interesting information: www.livingjuicy.org
Rhea exemplifies “the beauty of aging”. I’m excited to add her to the ever growing list of amazing older women who are living their lives fully engaged, providing positive role models for all women.
This short film trailer introduces the women in The Beauty of Aging Documentary Project. They show us through their optimism and engagement how to stay engaged in living despite life’s challenges into the older years.