Very readable. I enjoyed this a lot, and inspired too.
“Profiles of people who have succeeded after sixty”. Ordinary working-class/ homemakers who, still living at the time of writing, achieved significant success only after turning 60.
Observes they also tend to maintain healthy diets, exercise regularly, challenge themselves, try new things and experiences, and have varied social connections. Tend to be more spiritual than religious.
“goal setting, challenge, and follow-through are fundamental to well-being and success”.
Author’s mother also had a story to tell.
Quotes Henry David Thoreau: “I have learned that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success in an uncommon hour.”
Margie Stoll, 68; took up competitive running at 60 and wins regularly at Senior Games. Breast cancer survivor. Competitive streak; had talent but never developed when young. Enlisted a coach 10 years her junior; trained hard.
Harry Bernstein, 93; faced decades of rejections for his writings. 80 years between his first publication and his first financially successful novel, The Invisible Wall. He worked in some writing-related job and pursuing writing interests in his spare time. decided to take up writing again at age 93 after his wife died (his daughter urged him to do something to get out of the depression). he wrote what he knew, which was his childhood and life in poverty through the depression. Found he was good at fictionalising from his own experiences. Finally found acclaim for his prestigious awards. Credits his late wife for her unstinting support. Harry said it took him a long time to realise what it means to “write what he knows”; (I thought it’s also time and timing).
Christopher Award; Christopher Credo: “Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness”.
Dana Dakin; investment analysis. As she turned 60 she starting a micro finance scheme in a village in Ghana. “I became determined to greet the youth of old age by giving back”.
Robert Iadeluca; 89. Lost his PR comms job in 1972, at age 52, during economic crisis. Enrolled in grad sch; obtained PhD at 59, began new career as a research psychologist. At 69 he volunteered to be a hospital intern; obtained certification to treat alcoholism and substance abuse; full-time therapist at age 72. Computer-literate. Manages an online group at SeniorLearn.com. His philosophy is that he expects to live to 100 so he treats his body accordingly. Suggests therapeutic talk and learning stimulates and influences brain chemistry. (reading his story, I realised his various learning and career decisions had a certain logical and circumstantial flow to it. While he may not have predicted his future, he had a knack of sticking to a decision and seeing it through).
Linda Brown/ Alidra Solday. Psychotherapist turned filmmaker. Sat in film classes while working full time; progressed to short courses on related activities. Finally inspired by Stephen Levon’s book “A year to live: how to live this year as if it were your last”. Near 60′ she decided to embark on making a documentary about Doris Hadock, “Granny D goes to Washington”, which won awards and acclaim, after much personal risks and tribulations (this account would be a great discussion piece).
Thomas Dwyer. Sought something to do after his retirement. Was about to start a private investigation business when he was inspired, thanks to his elder brother of 62, to join a dance troop for seniors (Dancers of the Third Age). No dance background but worked hard enough to be accepted into a modern dance troop.
Lorette Thayer, 76. Wife of a diary farmer. At nearly 70, she decided to risk her savings and started a neighbourhood diner to sell homemade pies. Sustained for years and doing well by her standards in spite of the depressed economy.
Naomi Wilzig. Wife of a banker. Started a museum of erotic art at 70, after spending 15 years collecting them. Managed to establish herself as authority on sexual art.
Theodore Ludwiczak. Retired contact lens grinder. Started rock carving by chance, at 61. Still at it at 82. Has a reputation as a folk artist. He decided to crave another after the first one because the single one looked “lonely”. Which led to one more, and yet one more. People stopped to ask and were genuinely curious. He was encouraged by their positive reception that he continued and became better at it. He lived through the Nazi invasion ofPoland in his childhood.
Nancy Gagliano, 68. Her dream was to teach. But wasn’t able to attend college as her parents thought it unnecessary then. She married; had kids, took on jobs. She went back to college at age 45. Suffered chronic fatigue at one point; terminated from her job because of it. Eventually obtained a degree at 50. Finally, when opportunity presented itself, she took on substitute teaching roles. Partly due to financial circumstances, she decided to ask for a permanent teaching position at age 66. She knew it would take her another few more years to obtain full accreditation.
Myrna Hoffman. Single mom. Struggled to put her creatIve toy-idea to market (took 20 plus years eventually). Award winning toy (anamorphic) but stymied by a licensee. Then at 58, with her daughter an adult, she sought help and learned at a women’s business centre (business planning, using Excel, figuring the sums). Entered a business plan contest organized by Oprah Oxygen Network; selected as one of the winners. Acknowledges she may not be successful, by relative standards yet, but is upbeat of the journey. She says has a viable business rather than worrying about market forces (financial crisis) that she cannot control.
Ira & Barbara Smith, 79. Ira retired at 60 (suffered work-related depression for years). They first allowed their garage to be used as a distribution point for used furniture and household appliances, to be picked up by new immigrants/ recovering addicts/ homeless. Later they took initiative to collect and deliver used items for free, with only the two of them — at 60 plus — doing the moving. They were able to move heavy items by thinking rather than just brute strength. They reached a stage that they decided to start a fund raising organization.
Betty Reid Soskin, 87, social activist.Spoke up against racial segregation in her younger years. Series of activist roles to improve welfare of neighbourhood. Hired as a political aide when she was 78. Blogs at cbreaux.blogspot.com