Remarkable Old People: Share Your Story!
Over the Holidays I bumped into a colleague who told me about her 95 year old father (a retired pharmacist) who is still physically active and living independently. He walks two miles per day, and plays golf (he shot his age at 91, but is now “only” doing 9 holes). He is also active in his church and community. The other interesting thing is that “Dad” had a hard time retiring and for many years pinch hit in pharmacies in the upper Midwest that were short staffed. My colleague also mentioned in follow-up e-mails that her Dad lost his mother in childbirth, was a WW2 veteran who got off the farm and into the pharmacy via the GI Bill, and he also quit smoking back in the 1960s.
Did He “Know” Lester Breslow?
The graphic below is one I use in talks on healthy aging and “who makes it to 90”. It highlights the key principles on this topic that were discovered by the pioneering epidemiologist Lester Breslow. When I heard the story of my colleague’s father what Breslow discovered certainly seems to ring true for “Dad”.
Circumstances & How You Respond
The other thing that hit me about “Dad” in specific and that also seems to apply to many healthy agers is how resolute and resilient they have been over the years. Somehow they all seem to understand — or maybe have learned — that you can’t always control the circumstances you find yourself in but you can control how you respond. At some level this may be a learnable life skill and the Holocaust survivor and famed psychiatrist Viktor Frankl felt that resilience can be learned. He noted:
“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
Please Share Your Story
I personally find stories like the one above to be incredibly interesting and inspiring. If you have one, please share it in the comments section and in a future post I will highlight the key messages and insights.
Thanks and remember the words of John Wooden:
“Do not permit what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 at 5:11 am and is filed under Current Events, Research and Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.