Monday
Apr122010

Victoria in Full Bloom

Ah Victoria! Her harbour crammed with watercraft negotiating their space on sparkling water - close-hauled sailboats skimming by kayakers, water taxis mindful of landing float planes – and all those birds! And this trip – a new sight for me – a duck purposefully walking along the edge of the road – and on the safe side yet – facing traffic. Despite the gorgeous weekend weather that made it terribly hard for all of us to come indoors, some 40 people gathered at Chapters on Douglas to talk about aging well and to celebrate the role models. Have a look at the photos (click that blue square on the right hand side) to see Dorothy and Ida, two of my role models who were interviewed for the book, as well as other role models being celebrated by their friends.

We talked about the shakiness of using chronological age as a marker for physical or mental capacity since we age very differently. And we shared stories about regrets – things we didn’t do and wished we had (It’s not too late!) and the steps some people are taking to make amends and rebuild burnt bridges. One of the seniors told a story about how frustrating it was to be patronized by a salesman. She was shopping for shoes and her daughter who had come along for the ride was sitting next to her. The salesman addressed all his questions to the daughter until she finally said, “My mother is the customer, not me,” and walked away. This is what it took for him to finally speak directly to this vibrant, intelligent woman. The event concluded with a proposal by one woman to continue the discussion as part of a study circle. She was able to get the nucleus of a group and they made their plans to expand. The conversation continues. On to Vancouver.



Thursday
Apr082010

The book tour is launched with panache! 

Last night about 200 people came out for the Toronto launch of  “You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready” at the University of Toronto Art Centre. The crowd included some 50 smart, sassy seniors. There were two people over the age of 100 and about a dozen Role Models who had been interviewed for the book. Sporting their Role Model buttons, the seniors reminded us that life, like good wine, can get better with age. Check out photos from the evening to get a sense of the fun.  One guest called it “an enchanting evening”, another “inspiring”. The book’s publisher, Thomas Allen, announced that book sales have been so good they are already reprinting. This is a remarkable response since the book has only been in stores for the past week or so. We are leaving for Victoria and the next launch will be on Sunday, April 11 at 2 PM at Chapters, 1212 Douglas St.



Tuesday
Apr062010

The Snowballs are Growing

Each time an interview is published or broadcast, I receive feedback including terrific examples illustrating the book’s advice. I feel as though I’m pushing small snowballs off the edge of the hill and watching them roll along, growing ever larger as they gather story upon story. Here’s a sample after Erin Anderssen’s article "The key to aging well: Laugh it up" was published in The Globe and Mail, on Friday April 2, 2010.

Merrillicious posted this feedback on the Globe and Mail website about the article. “So true. Grandma #1 (95) is totally losing her memory and struggles to remember which granddaughter I am, but is hilarious to be around and never complains. Grandma #2 (71) has all her marbles, but is one steady stream of complaints and nasty gossip. I love them both, but I'd much rather visit the lady who can't always remember my name, but will always have something nice to say.”

Patricia sent me this e-mail. “Yesterday my 91-year-old dad arrived for a visit, after a 7-hour drive from his home, so he could meet his new 6-month-old first great-grandson. After breakfast this morning he and his friend who had accompanied him on the trip, were talking about an article they had just read in today's Globe and Mail about aging. [yours] My dad said that what he had just read was exactly how a good life is lived. His friend, who will be 70 this year, said she is eager to buy the book because what the article explored totally resonated with her. What an important conversation you have stimulated amongst us who are on our way.”

Ellen Roseman will be writing a series in the Toronto Star on upcoming Sundays that will look at how to plan for life beyond full-time work. How much do you need to save? Are you on the right track? What if you haven't started yet? Her April 4 article titled “Canadian consumers are weaker” quoted You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? in discussing the challenges raised by longer life spans. “Many seniors she [Green] spoke to found it helpful to plan ahead and establish some clear goals. ‘Thinking about your financial future could mean a future where you won't need to think about finances,’ Green says.” I look forward to reading Roseman’s insights.

 

 

Thursday
Mar252010

Exciting updates! 

I’m being given some terrific media opportunities to discuss the book. Peter Mansbridge interviewed me for his program One on One and Susan Pigg wrote an article for the Toronto Star titled “Age is just a stage in her long life.”  Upcoming events include TVOntario’s The Agenda with Steve Paiken and CBC’s noon hour phone-in show Ontario Today. You can check these out by clicking on Media.

The viewer/reader response to these shows has been remarkable.  Here is a taste of the mail I’ve been getting. After watching the Mansbridge interview, Ian wrote, “I always look forward to watching Peter's Sat. night program and last night’s was particularly fascinating. You are very articulate and know your subject. I am in my twilight years but this will be an excellent, interesting book. I agree that attitude is so important - being positive, and I have lived by that.” Shaunna wrote, “Now you gave John, 53, a BOOST to START sculling himself.” Peggy says, “Finally! You sing my song! I should be working towards "retirement" but that will never happen because I have way too many interests and things I want to try before my time to go arrives.  I've returned to college, about to embark on a lifestyle change I've dreamed about (yes I'm moving to the countryside...to start a few small businesses and socialize more with our neighbours who we have already met before moving in).  And I plan to continue working - for my own growth and mental health.  I want to keep living until I can't live anymore.”

But there are a few quibbles. As I anticipated, a reader wrote to complain, quite appropriately, that I was setting a bad example by not wearing a helmet in The Star photo that showed me on the ski hill. “I ski with lots of active people even into their late eighties and at least 95% now wear helmets”, he says, “because accidents do happen unfortunately.”  Susan Pigg and I laughed because I had made a similar comment when she requested a skiing photo of me sans helmet. Her response to the reader explained this. “Lyndsay took her helmet off for the photo -- at my request -- so that her face would show because, as you know, it is almost impossible to see what someone looks like with a helmet and goggles on.” The reader was satisfied. “I’m glad she skis safely with a helmet.”

The locations and dates for the eight-city book launch tour are confirmed and you can find them under Events, including links to directions. I hope to see you there.



Tuesday
Mar022010

Website Launch!

We’re launching You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? with events in Toronto, Victoria, Vancouver, London, Ottawa, Kingston, Montreal and Halifax. These Recognize Our Role Models events will launch the book and acknowledge and celebrate our role models. We are putting into action the book’s message: We have a lot to learn from our elders. Many of the role models interviewed for the book will be coming to the nearest launch, and others are bringing their own role models who are over the age of 75. All the role models will be given a button to wear that says “I’m a Role Model”. 

The Toronto launch will be April 7, Victoria’s event will be April 11, and I’ll be in Montreal on May 2 speaking at Paragraphe’s Books and Breakfast. The details for these events can be found by clicking on Events and this is where we’ll be adding the dates and locations for the other cities.  People are responding enthusiastically to this opportunity to thank their role models. Here is how they describe their guests. “I’m inviting my beloved friend and mentor who is a 76 year-old nun and one of the wisest and most progressive women I know. I've known her since I was 12.” “I’m bringing my role model - a family friend who kept us all laughing during the early years.” “My girlfriend is bringing an 80-year old that has climbed Everest!”  These are going to be extraordinary gatherings!

But you don’t have to wait for the launch to celebrate your role model. Click the link on the upper right hand side “Want to celebrate your own role model?” to access our Role Model Certificates. These can be printed out and filled in to celebrate the people that have influenced you. Also, if you have any photos of role models that you think we should be including in our photo album please send them to us.

You can follow the book tour on twitter and through the photos we’ll be posting on flickr.

Please join us on the tour if you can!

 

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