3rd Act Magazine – Winter 2023/24

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How to Live a Good Life

The Simple Secret to Living a Healthier, Happier, and Longer Life

Jennifer James Has Never Been Happier

Pleasurable Sadness

The Redemptive Power of Beautiful Music

The Bittersweet (but mostly sweet) Reality of being 80

LONGEVITY SQUARED The Quest for Immortality


Alone with Dementia


A Birthday Travel Challenge

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Engaging Activities

Caring Staff

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MESSAGE from the publisher


Nothing, not one thing, hurts us more—or causes us to hurt others more—than our certainties. The stories we tell ourselves about the world and the foregone conclusions with which we cork the fount of possibility are the supreme downfall of our consciousness. —Maria Popova It’s an especially fraught time in the world. Anger, intolerance, violence, and authoritarianism seem to dominate the news these days—passions fanned by ideological and religious certainties. The future feels unsettling and uncertain. Yet, the worldview out my window this morning is one of absolute glory—a deep orange and gold sunrise over Washington’s Hood Canal. The Steller Jays arrive early looking for nuts I place out each day, and a small, fierce Douglas squirrel chases them off. I can count on the sun coming up. This is not uncertain. The yin and yang of existence and the bittersweetness of it all. We feel it poignantly as we grow older. With long life many of us lose the certainties of our youth and uncork

“the fount of possibility”—the possibility that old age can be richer, more interesting, and more meaningful than we once imagined. The possibility that we can affect real change in the world. The possibility we can adopt a different point of view. Many 3rd Act readers have expressed how much they enjoy our positive outlook on aging. But aging is not all positive and we’d be doing ourselves a disservice to not investigate both sides. So, in this issue we explore the bittersweet side of growing older. Our cover story features beloved Seattle personality Jennifer James and her take on being 80. “What you gain at 80,” says James, “is ‘yourself.’” Read what she means by this and more beginning on page 40. In “Getting Old—The Best of Times and The Worst of Times” (page 18), gerontologist Dr. Stephen Golant is clear-eyed about the changes we face as we move from youngold to old-old, and how we should strive to age optimally. In the Lighter Side (page 20), psychologist C. Graham Campbell rants about the inappropriate “Baby Boomer” moniker of his generation—the first Rock n’ Rollers. I am uncertain of what the future will bring. I suspect it will surprise, delight, and take me out at the knees, too. The only certainty is that we will all die someday. (Although, even that is disputed by some, see the story on page 49). So, I will be grateful for each sunrise I get.

I am uncertain of what the future will bring.

Sunrise on the Hood Canal, WA

OU R VI SI ON Now, more than ever, older adults are viewing their retirement as a “Third Act” in their lives: A time for reinvention, connection, and engagement. 3rd Act Magazine is a bold, fresh, lifestyle magazine for older adults in the Puget Sound region. Our stories and articles challenge the worn-out perceptions of aging and offer a dynamic new vision: Let’s celebrate and embrace this stage of life, and age together with confidence. PUBLISHERS Victoria Starr Marshall David Marshall EDITOR Victoria Starr Marshall COPY EDITOR Tina Potterf

ART DIRECTOR Philip Krayna WEBSITE Philip Krayna

SOCIAL MEDIA Pat Sylvia ADVERTISING Dale Bohm, Pat Sylvia DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION David Marshall COVER PHOTO Ernie Sapiro 3rd Act Magazine wants to hear from you! Email your comments, ideas, and questions to info@3rdActMagazine.com or mail to P.O. Box 412, Brinnon, WA 98320 3rd Act Magazine is published quarterly by Oshi Publishing, LLC. The opinions, advice, or statements expressed by contributing writers do not reflect those of the editors, the publishers, or 3rd Act Magazine. Copyright ©2023 Oshi Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Oshi Publishing, LLC, P.O. Box 412 Brinnon, WA 98320 Email: info@3rdActMag.com

For subscriptions, advertising rates, and additional information, visit us at www.3rdActMagazine.com


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24


Aging with Confidence

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine






How to Live a Good Life

The Simple Secret to Living a Healthier, Happier, and Longer Life

Jennifer James Has Never Been Happier

Pleasurable Sadness

The Redemptive Power of Beautiful Music

The Bittersweet (but mostly sweet) Reality of being 80

LONGEVITY SQUARED The Quest for Immortality


Alone with Dementia


A Birthday Travel Challenge

COVER: Jennifer James sits in her

beloved library with its floor-to-ceiling books. She has always had a thirst to understand what makes us who we are, and why we do the things we do. These shelves will soon be emptied as she readies to start her next chapter in Hawaii. Photo by Ernie Sapiro



Jennifer James shares her plans to leave the Pacific Northwest and the happiness and freedom she's found with turning 80. ANN HEDREEN

COLUMNS 8 AGING WITH INTENTION Past, present, and future—life can be bittersweet at every age. LINDA HENRY


What is compounded grief and do you have it? MARILEE CLARKE







The simple secret to living a healthier, happier, and longer life. ANN RANDALL

Pleasurable sadness and the redemptive power of beautiful music and art. SALLY FOX A look at mankind's ongoing pursuit of a longer life and even immortality. ZACHARY FLETCHER

Reaching a mental state of “equanimity” is the key to aging well. MICHAEL C. PATTERSON In life's box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get. STEPHEN SINCLAIR

Build your windmill before the winds of change blow. SCOTT SCHILL


Don't call us Baby Boomers— we are the first Rock N’ Rollers! C. GRAHAM CAMPBELL


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24


46 49


The simple truth about living to 100. DR. ERIC B. LARSON


celebrating present health and vitality, while planning for the future. DR. STEPHEN GOLANT


CREATE Tips for expanding

time when life seems to be going by in a flash. WILLIAM ROUTHIER


The thrill of discovering ancestors brings history to life. KATHLEEN L. WEBER


TAKETH AWAY A word that best

describes the experience of aging. LARRY MOSS

Aging with Confidence


At 78, I learned whole new skill sets and am having a blast. CYNTHIA HAMMER

54 SEVENTY FOR 70 A birthday

travel challenge becomes a fun way to explore Western Washington. MARGOT KRAVETTE

60 O N THE TOWN Programs to

help you pick up a dinner and a show—eating out on your night out. MISHA BERSON


The importance of strength training and how to get started. MIKE HARMS


Learning skills of self-defense may be more important than ever as we grow older. CONNIE MCDOUGALL



cares for them? Some findings may surprise you. JANELLE TAYLOR


Delicious pairings of sweet and sour, savory and spicy. REBECCA CRICHTON


Meeting the Muse After Midlife— A Journey to Meaning, Creativity, and Joy by Sally Jean Fox REVIEWED BY VICTORIA STARR MARSHALL


Challenge yourself with these word puzzles. NANCY LINDE


(PART 4) How to reclaim your life

when caregiving ends. JEANETTE LEARDI

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



Aging Seen Through an Artist’s Lens Landscape Photographer Bruce Heinemann Shares Life’s Beauty

4 Keys

to a Happy Relationship Why Retirement is the Best Time for Love


Experience is Your Superpower

LESSONS IN DOWNSIZING Lighten Up While You Still Can


Try These Essential Oils

From Cover to Cover What an outstanding issue (Fall 2023). I usually read a few articles in each issue. Not this time! I read every one of the articles and each had something to say to me. I was going strong until this February and just had minor aches like dry eye, but at age 82 was handed major health issues. So, I especially enjoyed reading about the death doula and taking charge of one’s passing. I think I will still be here for a while, but it’s good to know I have a voice. —Hadiyah Carlyle, Seattle

Don’t Diss Chiropractic Care I was disappointed to see comments disparaging chiropractic care in the article “Take Back Your Life” (Summer 2023). While it was expressed as an opinion of the author, it repeats an ignorant and uninformed attitude. “Voodoo-like aura of chiropractic care.” Really? After 40 years of wonderful chiropractic care, I have never had one voodoo experience. If the author had labeled religion or vaccines “voodoo,” would you have published that? Not acceptable! —Joan Newcomb, Seattle

Ready for a 3rd Act Adventure I just read your Pura Vida article about your adventures in Costa Rica (Fall 2023). I’m very interested in your 2024 trip,


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

which I hope is a return to Costa Rica. I love that you traveled the length of Costa Rica and did whitewater river rafting, mud baths, ziplining, and river cruising to see exotic animals. Plus, a small group of 16 people is my idea of a fabulous trip. I LOVE 3rd Act magazine! Very diverse and inspiring. I’m 74 and 3/4 in age, blessed with good health, and still have a lot of adventures to experience. —Connie Pitner

Where Can I Find 3rd Act? I like your magazine and have read it over the years. I’m glad you are still publishing! I’m thinking of a subscription, but in the meantime, where can I find your magazine. Retail? I’ve seen this magazine at libraries and community centers for take-away. I just can’t find any today. —Gail Livingstone, Seattle

3rd Act is not available at newsstands. We distribute 13,000–15,000 free copies in and around the Puget Sound region each quarter. They get picked up quickly. Your best bet is to subscribe. You’ll never miss an issue and it helps us, too! —Editor

No More “Thoughts and Prayers” You took the words from my mouth! (“Do’s and Don’ts for Helping Those in Distress, Fall 2023). I, too, am tired of the trite, rote phrase, “thoughts and prayers,” and always want to retort, “So DO something!” And as for the vague, “If I can do anything...” after a death, the unspoken response might be, “Use your imagination!” As an 85-year-old widow of one year, I would have appreciated someone saying, “I’m going to take a box to Value Village in two days. Have you anything to add?” “Yes. His clothes, books, bedding, extra tools, etc.” Or, “Do you need anything from Costco?” “Yes. Butter and all detergent. Period.” Ask the grieving person: “Is there a minor repair to be done in your house? A ceiling-high lightbulb to replace? A heavy yard waste bin to lug down the driveway?” Ten or 15 minutes could be all it takes to help someone. Again, “use your imagination.” Thank you for your article and for letting me vent! —Marnie Webb, Issaquah

Communication and Clarity Help in the End Can’t remember how I became acquainted with 3rd Act but enjoyed the issue so very much that I subscribed and ordered several back issues, of which Summer 2023 is one. The article “Being Mortal” by Julie Fanselow recalled a book my late husband and I read many years ago, discussed, and then acted upon: Being Mortal—Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. My inside cover, handwritten in red ink notes: “Book is not about dying but. . . about living.” I was so blessed that he and I had made it clear to each other that “life support” was not an option. When he was unexpectedly put on life support the doctor told me “these are things we can fix.” I looked her in the eye and asked if she had read the book, Being Mortal. Her eyes got big, she reached out and grasped both my hands and said, “yes.” I said, then you know where we’re going—we’re pulling the plug. When I used this phraseology, she said they called it “transitioning to compassionate care.” The entire point is that it was not my decision, but his. There was no guilt. We both chose quality of life over quantity. There were times I joked with him that if he didn’t have the guts enough to pull the plug, I’d have to get up outta that bed and smack him. I gave all three of my children a copy of the book—they’re in their 50s and 60s. They were with me at the bedside, they knew their dad’s wishes and they understood my actions. Thank you for a lovely, thought provoking, positive publication. I look forward to future issues. —Linda M. Heaton

talk to us!

by mail: 3rd Act Magazine, P.O. Box 412, Brinnon, WA 98320 by email: info@3rdActMag.com Please include your name, city, state, and phone number when possible. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


Get the caregiving support you need, Get the caregiving when you need it. support you need, At AARP Family Caregiving, we’re here to help when you need it. you get answers, connect with other caregivers

and findFamily localCaregiving, resourceswe’re closehere to home. At AARP to help So you you answers, connect othermost. caregivers canget take care of what with matters To learn facebook.com and find local resources close to home. So you more, visit aarp.org/caregiverswa @AARPWA can take care of what matters most. To learn facebook.com/AARPWA more, visit aarp.org/caregiverswa @AARPWA

Aging with Confidence

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



Past, Present, Future BY LINDA HENRY

Linda Henry writes regularly on topics related to aging, health care, and communication, and is the coauthor of several books, including Transformational Eldercare from the Inside Out: Strengths-Based Strategies for Caring. She conducts workshops nationally on aging and creating caring work environments. Her volunteer emphasis is age-friendly communities.


I remember sitting in the dining room of my home about to enter junior high school and sobbing because I thought I needed to put aside the activities I loved to do as a child because I was too old. Even though I was looking forward to a new school, I believed that since I was entering into a new world, life would be markedly changed, and I experienced a sadness that I had not felt before. Life is filled with bittersweet moments, times of pleasure that at the same time may be accompanied by suffering or regret. Although we may be more aware of such occasions as we get older, I am convinced that since we are constantly aging, we will experience many such moments in each decade of life. In The Third Chapter, Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot recounts the example of a woman who shared her simultaneous feelings of liberation and loss as she pulled away from a leadership role in her company, while at the same time sending her child off to college. Consider the young mother who shares a child’s excitement of going to school for the first time, yet grieves the ending of the early, carefree childhood years. Or the graduate excited to be assuming new responsibilities, while at the same

3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

time experiencing the sadness of leaving college friends behind. Think of the continuing feelings of sadness one might experience after the loss of a significant other, even as the exciting prospect of a new love grows. When Patricia moved into a continuing care community, she felt immense sadness. Over time, however, she experienced a growing sense of gratitude for the care available, as well as for the opportunity of rekindling her interest in art. When I interviewed Dr. Leila Denmark at age 103, she had recently retired as a pediatrician, due to her failing eyesight, although that did not stop her former patients from consulting with her by phone or even stopping by her home seeking advice. “My greatest concern is growing old,” she confessed. Without a doubt, even at her age, retiring was bittersweet. Even so, she found satisfaction in the recognition she received from the significant contributions she had made to medicine and from the relationships she maintained with the families who sought her advice. Realizing that the older we are, the more bittersweet moments we will have, I can only hope that I am wise enough to cherish the happy and satisfying times, and to embrace the new with wisdom. In Aging Well, author and director of the Harvard Medical School’s study on adult development Dr. George E. Vaillant concludes that positive aging means to love, to work, to learn something we did not know yesterday, and to enjoy the remaining precious moments with loved ones. May it be so. As Fred Rogers reminds us, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”


Live Like You Mean It Don’t Let Age Limit You


Brain Power


Building a Better Future Clar

Join the Golden Age Our New of Lifelong 10 Learning Normal ence Moriwaki’s Values-Driven Life Fuels his Third Act

Things I’m Glad to Let Go


There’s Joy in Lightening Your Load


s Sillman & Phillip ARTS


After the Loss of


If You Love 3rd Act Magazine Your Friends Will, too. Go to 3rdActMagazine.com to order a a one- or two-year subscription for you or a friend today! We will send a greeting card to the AGING WITH PRIDE them of your gift. recipient informing

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How Can You Prepare EY ?



In the Time of a Pandem


A Whole New Place 3rd Act Magazine— a positive voice to for Retire BRACE YOURSELF

Orthodontics for Every Age

HUGS FOR THE HOLIDAYS Celebrating Human Touch

GOING PLACES AGAIN Safe Travel Options

3 Washington Towns

Aging withWorth Confidence! Considering • Conscious Aging • Health & Wellness • Retirement Planning • Lifestyle & Travel THE OTHER BOOM • Insights & Inspiration Retirement Living Options Surge winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine




Sue Rowell, center, with Quail Park residents.

WORKING FOR DECADES SURROUNDED BY OLDER ADULTS HAS BOOSTED MY CONFIDENCE AS I AGE BY SUE ROWELL I’ve been working in senior living communities since I was 18-yearsold. At the time, residents seemed so much older than me that I wasn’t even thinking about my own aging and the changes it would bring. It’s quite a few years later now, and I can better relate to my residents. I actively participate in conversations about joint pain, deaths of family and friends, moments of forgetfulness, and more—the challenging side of getting older. On the flip side, we also talk about our life accomplishments. One resident is being conducted into the University of Washington Hall of Fame! Another pioneered


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

VitalStim to treat people with swallowing disorders. The approach was expedited through the FDA as a medical breakthrough for dysphagia. Another resident is a published author. These stories and others give me confidence as I live my own aging journey. At Quail Park of Lynnwood,

it’s wonderful taking in resident conversations as they work out in the gym or in water aerobics, discuss a book in book club, share gardening tips as they tend the community’s beautiful gardens and grounds, or just chat while enjoying a burger and beer in the pub. There’s a superb pianist entertaining us right now outside my office. I hear singing and laughter. A community member stood up to dance for us all! It’s not a great dance, but it brings a smile to everyone. A reminder that life— every bitter and sweet moment of it—is precious. And in a couple of weeks—to protect our health— we’ll all be receiving our flu and covid booster shots – conveniently right here at Quail Park. I’m sure I wouldn’t feel as positive about the aging process without the wonderful support, camaraderie, and great role models that I’ve witnessed for many years. Getting to hang out with so many positive agers in such a vibrant, supportive community brings me joy and reassurance as I move closer my own next chapter.

Independent, Assisted Living, Memory and Respite Care Call Today to Schedule a Tour or For More Information Quail Park of Lynnwood 425-329-6591 QuailParkofLynnwood.com



Do You Have Compounded Grief? When a Series of Losses Happen Over a Short Period of Time

of giving yourself time to process a loss. Some losses will take much longer than others. Another idea is to create a specific ritual to isolate and honor each loss. A memorial service or a scattering of ashes somewhere special are common ones, but there are other things that can help such as wearing a clothing item or a piece of jewelry that belonged to the deceased, or writing them a letter outlining everything you loved about them. The message here is the importance of processing each sorrow fully and independently of any others. I am still working on this.


As we get older it becomes harder and harder to escape grief. I, surprisingly, made it to 64 without losing a single friend or family member in my inner circle. Elderly grandparents, of course, but no one dying tragically or unexpectedly. Then, over two years, I lost my husband, my mother, and just recently, a best friend. This is the definition of compounded grief, and it is not an uncommon plight for those of us in our third act. My 96-year-old father laments the loss of his beloved wife and most of his lifelong friends. This kind of loss becomes inevitable when you live a long life. The danger of compounded or cumulative grief is that you can become numb to loss and unable to fully process each significant event. As I found with my husband’s death, I needed the better part of a year to work through the complicated emotions of losing a spouse. However, when my mother passed away and then shortly after, my oldest friend in the world, my mother’s death seemed overshadowed. This was partly because by the time she died she was not the mother I had known all my life. Her dementia had slowly deepened over the years and she’d faded away. Give Yourself Time to Process Each Loss I am now trying to return to this significant event and do the necessary work to process my grief. I made a photo album of all the pictures I could find of my mother as I want to remember her and that helped a little. But I still find myself thinking of her as she was in those last few years, and I can only hope that those sad visual memories will eventually fade and the ones in my scrapbook will return. This is an example

Aging with Confidence

Seek Support for Compounded Grief A final important tool to deal with compounded grief is to seek support through friends, organized support groups, and by talking to a therapist skilled in grief counseling. Chances are you will find that your cumulative grief is not uncommon and that there are others out there dealing with the same heavy weight of multiple deaths. The important thing is to not lump all losses together. Each one represents a significant change in your life dynamic and needs to be seen as such and processed independently. Marilee Clarke lives in Issaquah and loves the Northwest’s natural beauty. She is a collage artist and her passions include travel and anything creative. She and her late husband taught a course at Bellevue College on “How to get the most out of your retirement years” and that is just what she’s doing!

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine




I’ve come to suspect that the mental state of “equanimity” is the key to aging well. No matter how hard I try to stay fit and slow the aging process, time and fortune will eventually erode my physical abilities, subject me to increased discomfort, and shrink my world. My happiness and quality of life, therefore, will depend more on my mental attitude than on my physical condition. I find the aphorism “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional,” instructive. I will suffer pain, loss, and disappointment. I have no choice in this regard. Shit happens! But I hope to learn to control how my mind reacts to my changing reality. I hope to interpret my experience mindfully. Rather than freak out and amplify my struggles, I hope to accept my reality and make the best of it. I hope to swim gracefully in the flow of the aging process—wherever it takes me. The serenity prayer has been quoted so often it sounds cliched, but there still is wisdom in its advice. My quality of life as I age will hinge on having the


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mental serenity to accept conditions that cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference. This is a workable definition of equanimity. I have some ideas about the mental changes that might help me develop greater equanimity about my advancing age. Oddly enough for a lifetime atheist, I think a good checklist for mental change can be found in descriptions of mystical experiences. Mystics identify a consistent set of mental adjustments that I associate with equanimity. In a mystical experience, for example, there is a dissolution of the sense of self, coupled with a profound feeling of unity with “the great beyond,” or however we want to characterize the mystery of existence. (God, tao, chi, cosmic consciousness, natural forces, physics and so on.) One important mental adjustment, therefore, will concern my sense of self. I’ll need to ramp down my egocentrism. I am not—it turns out— the center of the universe. Life does

not exist to serve my needs. Life isn’t fair and I was never promised a rose garden. Greater humility will help reduce my attachment to pet projects, favorite ideas, strong likes and dislikes. Buddhists tell us that attachment is the root of all suffering. So, there you go. Less ego, less attachment, less suffering—better quality of life. For the mystics, loss of self leads to—or perhaps is derived from—the revelation that we are not rugged individuals. We are, instead, highly dependent and interconnected expressions of the entirety of existence. I understand, and am awed by, this revelation on an intellectual level. I haven’t felt it to the core the way mystics do. I’ll keep working on that. I have made a significant mental adjustment that, I believe, gets me closer to mystical revelation. I’ve come to realize that my lifelong fascination with science will not—cannot—answer all the mysteries of existence. Existence is just too complex, bizarre, and creative to be comprehended by the human mind. www.3rdActMag.com

But—and this is the real revelation for me—not knowing is okay. Ambiguity, contradiction, uncertainty, and mystery are acceptable states of mind—even desired states. They lead to a sense of wonder and awe. I no longer feel compelled to understand the mysteries of life. This revelation allows me to relax into my old age. No need to understand or explain it—just live it. And be amazed. The term equanimity is constructed around the idea of equality. When we relate to life with equanimity, we give everything equal value, weight, and importance. Now, on the one hand, this can mean that our emotional reaction is modulated and perhaps muted. The mental attitude of equanimity reins in our emotions so that they don’t run amok. Shit happens, but it’s okay—not that bad. Terrific things happen. Enjoy

them while they last. They will fade. All is good. This is a very useful mental attitude. But I’m more excited about cultivating another possible expression of equanimity. In this expansive sense of equanimity, everything is equally miraculous. It is a miracle that existence exists. Every single expression of existence can and should be seen as wonderful, awesome, and breathtaking. This is not the equanimity of acceptance and adjustment; it is the equanimity of transcendence and revelation. And it is a joyous awakening. My mind still struggles to embrace this mystical relationship with existence. I probably need to stop thinking about it and surrender to a state of uncomprehending awe. The wonder of life just is. I can’t explain

it, nor is there any need to do so. Life and death are different expressions of existence and, as such, are to be fully embraced and celebrated. This is a state of joyous equanimity, of transcendent equanimity. If I can embody this exalted form of transcendent equanimity—get it into my bones—life, old age, even death will not only be tolerable—it will be fantastic. Still working on it. Michael C. Patterson helped provide funding for Gene Cohen’s Creative Aging research when running AARP’s Staying Sharp brain health program. With Cohen, Patterson started and led the board research committee for the National Center for Creative Aging. Patterson now produces and hosts the MINDRAMP podcast and publishes a weekly newsletter featuring new research reports that shed light on issues pertaining to successful aging.

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Aging with Confidence

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



That Box of Chocolates We Call Life BY STEPHEN SINCLAIR

I was brought up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin by an American father and a German mother. My parents had met after World War II when my father, having survived combat in France and Germany, was a civilian worker for the U.S. occupation. My mother was raised in the medieval city of Hannover where her father, a master confectioner, owned a shop that sold candies and pastries. Throughout our childhood, my sisters, brother and I would receive holiday packages from our grandfather containing a variety of candies— marzipan bars, tiny chocolate bottles filled with liqueur, tins of strong, black licorice, Easter bunnies filled with jellybeans, and all manner of St. Nicholas’s. And no matter the holiday, the package would also be loaded with lots of chocolate bars—mostly bittersweet. I was always disappointed that there was rarely any milk chocolate, something as Americanized children we loved. Inevitably, the bittersweet chocolate was the last to be eaten, but given how mad we were for candy, we eventually ate it, too. I recall being told that I’d get accustomed to eating the bittersweet


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and that with time learn to like it or even prefer it. However, I wasn’t so sure about that. Life, like chocolate, can also be sweet or bittersweet. For instance, success is sweet and disappointment is bitter. Although we hope that most of life will be sweet, it is, in fact, mostly bittersweet. What we identify as good and what we term bad are usually intermingled. They can’t be separated. As children we eagerly anticipate reaching adolescence when we’ll have more autonomy and can do “grown-up” things. But along with adolescence comes a loss of innocence, the ability to play and fantasize, and with that, selfconsciousness and awkwardness. Good and bad mixed together.

When we reach adulthood and it’s time to say goodbye to the home that has provided sanctuary for us and to leave the loved ones with whom we lived, we are saddened. However, we’re also excited to be on our own and starting our own families. Loss and gain. Bad and good. And so it is with every period of life. It is up to us to acknowledge this and to deal with it as best we can. The third chapter in the Hebrew book of Ecclesiastes begins with the well-known verse, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” What follows is a list of dichotomies that speak to the notion of life being positive and negative. For example, a time to be born and a time to die; to kill and to www.3rdActMag.com

Stephen Sinclair lives in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Earlier in his life he enjoyed a career in show business while working out of New York and Chicago. A career as an ordained Unitarian Universalist parish minister and a hospital chaplain followed. Most recently, he worked with the homeless and is a weekly volunteer visitor at the Monroe Correctional Complex.

Aging with Confidence

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Immerse yourself in the stillness of winter. Visit Bloedel Reserve this season and discover peace in nature.

Photo: David Cohen

heal; to weep and to laugh; to mourn and to dance; to seek and to lose; to keep and to throw away; to love and to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. For every failure there is a gain. For every success, a loss. When it seems we now have only a small portion of our allotted time left, we can find ourselves retreating into memories of the past, perhaps to happier times or to periods when we felt we had more agency and were still vital and healthy. There is nothing wrong with that. Who doesn’t want to be reminded of what it was like to be younger? But let’s not fool ourselves—the past was also filled with pain and disappointment. However, if we remain there too long, we can begin to feel irritable and discontent about the present, which then keeps us from living fully in the moment. For it is only in the here and now that we can process the gains and losses of the past, as well as those with which we now live. It isn’t easy being a senior, even if one has good health and financial security. This is where a teaching from 12 Step programs is helpful: “Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.” To be emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually healthy we must accept our past, our present, as well as what we believe our future will be. It is then that we can get on with the business of living, however bittersweet it may be.

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Build Your Windmill BY SCOTT SCHILL

“You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” sang Bob Dylan in the counter-culture classic, “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” Today, we still need no meteorologist to feel the retirement winds blowing in a new direction. It is not our parents’ third act. For one thing, we’re living longer. An ancient Chinese proverb provides us a surprisingly modern weathervane: “When the winds of change blow, some build walls, while others build windmills.” A new branch of retirement planning is about building our windmills to harness these fresh breezes to our advantage. It is called longevity planning, and the goal is not about adding years to our lives—it’s about adding life to our years. A productive windmill begins with well-designed blades that turn in unison. For longevity planning, the three blades are wealthspan, healthspan, and selfspan. Wealthspan: Longevity is challenging traditional retirement planning. Some of the old rules apply: Saving and investing wisely, diversifying our assets, and seeking professional advice to protect wealth from unpredictable economic winds. But it also requires new life expectancy assumptions, stress-testing, and financial and legal planning tools to protect from the biggest longevity gales such as long-term care expenses and elder financial abuse. A good wealthspan blade should rotate reliably, no matter which way or how hard the wind blows.


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Healthspan: Healthspan refers to the number of years in which we enjoy good health, free from debilitating illness or chronic conditions. Currently in the U.S., the average healthspan is 12 years shorter than the average lifespan of 78.5 years. Extending healthspan—with a goal of matching healthspan to lifespan—is a central piece of a thriving longevity. A health care shift from disease management to “P4” (preventative, personalized, predictive, and participatory) medicine is essential. The Stanford Center on Longevity’s “Lifestyle Medicine” initiative is a good example. We must build windmill blades that harness the power of good health. Selfspan: Personal growth, relationships, and a sense of purpose. Selfspan planning encompasses the development of one’s inner self, nurturing the emotional and intellectual aspects that bring meaning to life. As we consider our hopes and fears, selfspan expands to include our deep desire to remain home, independent, and secure. We all fear being forced by frailty to move, or become a burden, or get tangled up in our challenging health care system. A good selfspan plan today can allow your windmill to avoid or withstand even these kinds of future howling winds. The key word though is today. If we wait until the hurricane comes, it is too late. Too often, families end up at the mercy of where the storm winds blow. Just as a windmill pivots to face the changing breeze, we must be open to new ideas and experiences. While we may not have control over every gust of change that comes our way, we can choose how we prepare and respond to them. We can build windmills that generate vitality, security, and personal growth. Maybe Bob Dylan was on to something when he said the answer is “blowing in the wind.” Scott Schill, a Northwest native, found his calling in longevity law after a searing experience advocating for his mom. As the Director of Longevity Law & Planning at S. R. Schill & Associates, and founder of Thrive Longevity Law, Schill believes that relationships are key to longevity. He lives in West Seattle with his family.


There are 25 terrific articles in this issue of 3rd Act Magazine. There are 1,000 terrific articles on 3rdActMag.com. Why Limit Yourself?

For the Best Writing on How to Age with Confidence


Aging with Confidence

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



Old THE BEST OF TIMES AND THE WORST OF TIMES by Dr. Stephen Golant A widely read report, The New Age of Aging, published by Age Wave (Ken Dychtwald, CEO) offered a very optimistic view about getting old. In June 2023, its authors interviewed a nationally representative sample of older adults in the United States. Among its findings: • Seventy one percent of people 65 and older say the best time of their life is right now or before them. • They don’t feel over the hill but are just beginning to chart their best adventures and pursue new dreams—to start a new chapter in life. • They are far more active, open-minded, and curious—and less rigid, passive, and isolated.


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This report presents a much needed antidote to those earlier “misery perspectives” on aging that associated getting old with the four D’s: Dependency, disease, disability, and depression. These ageist portrayals unduly emphasized the negative aspects of aging. Some Alarm Bells But embedded in this otherwise upbeat recounting of old age is a disturbing finding. It reported that when born, our lifespan (how many years we have left to live) is about 78 years, but our healthspan (length of time we are in good health) is only 66 years. Simply put, debilitating diseases and physical and cognitive impairments may impact the last 12 years of older people’s lives. Living longer does not necessarily equate to living healthfully. We have a healthspan-lifespan gap. On reflection, this observation should not be a surprise. What we often refer to as old age can easily extend over three decades—that is, ages 60s to 90s. Although chronological age is far from a perfect indicator of physical and mental well-being,


gerontologists have long distinguished third-age or young-old seniors in their 50s, 60s, and early 70s from fourth-age or oldold seniors in their late 70s and above. This latter group is more likely to suffer from mobility or functional limitations, memory issues, and health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. Confronted with these assaults on the quality of their lives, it becomes more challenging for those in later life to remain positive about getting old. Such a pessimistic observation leads to an obvious question: Are those extra years of life worth celebrating if we must cope with health declines and losses over this period? What many of us want is not eternal life but eternally feeling younger than older. As one commentator put it, “Right now, we live well, then we don’t live well, and then we die.” Is there perhaps an argument for living well but then dying quickly before decline sets in?

better sleep strategies, exercising, preventative health checkups, maintaining strong social connections, keeping vaccinated, caring for our emotional health, and exercising our brain. Still, we must be realistic. Not all older people are motivated or able to fend off the scourges of old age. Most importantly, we do not all have the genes of those 90-year-olds running marathons, climbing mountains, or obtaining new college degrees.

Recognizing Age Group Inequities The need to address such questions will only increase. Demographic projections tell us that, all over the world, the fastest-growing populations will be aged 80 and over. Our oldold or fourth-age populations will become more visible and demand “the highest possible levels of care and comfort.” Making simple generalizations about the age 60- or 65-plus population will also become more problematic when we admit that old age is not a homogeneous life stage. Here’s why: Numerically, our fourth-age seniors are a minority share of the older population. Consequently, if we do not separate them out for analysis, we can easily gloss over and camouflage their distinctive unmet needs and problems.

What are our chances of experiencing excellent health up to our deaths? A recent U.S. study offered some guidelines. It reported that about 20 percent of 65-year-olds will not need care or assistance for the rest of their lives, while 22 percent will have only minimal needs. However, about 58 percent will require supportive services or long-term care to cope with their severe or moderate declines and losses.

Reason for Optimism But these inequities should not overly dampen our positive perspectives on aging. New medical discoveries and gerontechnological advances make it more possible to diagnose, prevent, delay, and even eliminate the worst aspects of disease and disability. What is referred to as “morbidity suppression” will become more attainable. These innovations offer hope that older people can reduce (suppress) the number of years they must spend burdened with chronic and debilitating diseases (morbidity) before they die. Of course, we now do not lack for individual advice about how to strive for morbidity suppression. The media bombards us with information about staying healthy and disability-free for longer. Frequently on our self-help radar screens are nutritious diets,

Aging with Confidence

We should strive to age optimally no matter how close we are to our mortality. We may not be able to mimic the best of our young-old times, but we can give it a mighty good try.

With Knowledge Comes Wisdom There is an obvious takeaway from these findings. Let us indeed celebrate the “good life” of the young-old and significant numbers of the old-old. But let us also recognize, sympathize with, and find solutions for the demanding physical and mental health challenges that often arise at higher chronological ages. Acknowledging these alternative visions of aging also enables us to be more effective change agents. So when we are in good health and living active lives, we should use this time to plan for the contingency that we may become less well and dependent on others. There is no shortage of books and internet sites that enlighten us on what our financial, legal, health, housing, and long-term care preparations should look like. We should strive to age optimally no matter how close we are to our mortality. We may not be able to mimic the best of our young-old times, but we can give it a mighty good try. Stephen M. Golant, PhD, is a leading national speaker, author, and researcher on the housing, mobility, transportation, and long-term care needs of older adult populations. He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, a Fulbright Senior Scholar award recipient, and a Professor at the University of Florida. Golant's latest book is Aging in The Right Place, published by Health Professions Press. Contact him at golant@ufl.edu.

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Baby Boomers describes our parents, not us. We were the boomed, they were the boomers. Thus, Baby Boomer is a tag better suited to them acknowledging the surge of births as servicemen and women returned home after World War II. The “Greatest Warrior” generation became the greatest baby makers, and they deserve the credit for both of these gargantuan accomplishments. It is time to award them the double title. Others have said I am being picky about this. If you actually think that you are obviously not one of us. Baby Boomer ranks right up there with being called “The Cabbage Patch Kid” generation. Rock ‘n roll and my generation grew up together, that is part of why we loved it so intensely. We were there at the beginning with Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Elvis, of course, was the original “King” but once he stopped shaking his hips and strayed into Las Vegas, he became a mere shadow of past royalty. We survived “The Day the Music Died” when we lost The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, and Richie Valens in one plane crash. And we keep on “Rockin’ in the Free World” into our old age. In the beginning, it was just us and rock. This music became the equivalent of Native American drumming and chanting forming us into a tribe. For any newly emerging teenager in the 1950s, membership in the tribe required a love of rock. We created each other. My childhood interest in baseball cards and plastic model cars dissolved Christmas morning in the fifth grade when I received a new hi-fi record player and two 45 RPM records by Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee. I was quite impressed that my parents even knew what to buy until a cousin revealed they had consulted him. Rock n’ roll defined us. Every change in recording stars or music styles reverberated with likes and dislikes, allies and opponents, new tribes and old. But rock was ours, only ours. Adults were in

’ N ROCK S R E L L RO I loathe being considered a member of the “Baby Boomer” generation. It is a stupid, vapid, obnoxious label. The epithet should have been laid to rest decades ago. In addition, it has become a term of derision for the millennials and their cohorts. What we actually are is the first Rock N’ Rollers, or FRRs. BY C. GRAHAM CAMPBELL, PHD


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charge of school, homework, food, chores, clothing, and all the other boring stuff. Rock was the only thing they did not control. When they loudly complained they could not understand the words, we considered that a good thing. One Saturday afternoon I came home after hanging out with friends and found my father playing his new Perry Como album on my hi-fi. OMG, the sappiest of the sappy, the most old-fashioned of all, a sacrilege was being perpetrated. The words were perfectly understandable and utterly gross. I contained my horror, but was so afraid it would corrupt the sound that I washed the player with bleach as soon as he wasn’t looking. Most of us have remained loyal to our music, especially Classic Rock, and expect to remain so no matter what succeeding generations create.

We ignored disco as it came and went. Rap mostly revolted us before any of us listened. I explained to one of my sons who was partial to rap that Dylan’s, “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” was really the first rap song. He just rolled his eyes like I did when my father tried to get me to listen to Perry Como. The older generation could have their music and the younger generation can have theirs. Rock, real rock, is ours. My favorite invention of the later part of the 1990s were earbuds and headphones so my kids could listen in private and stop annoying me with it. It seemed, briefly, that there was hope for a younger generation. Almost 10 years ago I was driving with my granddaughter who asked me if I’d ever heard of Bob Dylan or Neil Young, who she had listened to with a friend’s father and thought

they were great. I almost drove off the road as I expressed my love for both musicians and her. For a long time, we had a relationship that revolved around music. Unfortunately, her favorites became something called dubstep or EDM (Electronic Dance Music). Both of which I hated. But that sort of makes the point. Rock is ours. If you like the music your grandfather listens to, it is a betrayal of your tribe. Gen-whatevers are mostly fine people and can enjoy their music as they please. But ROCK IS OURS. We were the first rock n’ rollers. We still are. I bet our BFF Keith Richards would agree.

C. Graham Campbell, PhD, is a 75-year-old lateblooming author. He has explored the human psyche and soul as a psychologist for more than 40 years in central Massachusetts. Now retired, he spends most of his time meditating, writing, and as a nature photographer.

PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT. And double-down on your retirement. $99 moves you in. This fall, it’s game-on at Fairwinds – Brighton Court with a special $99 move-in fee. Simply $99 to invest in yourself, your health, and your future. Step into a new age of senior living today. Contact us for details at 425-374-1830! 6520 - 196th St SW Lynnwood, WA 98036 425-374-1830 fairwindsbrightoncourt.com

Aging with Confidence

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here is a Gary Larson Far Side cartoon I have a clear memory of, but can’t for the life of me find online, that shows half of an astonished old woman coming through a hoop, held by a man in white robes. The other half of the hoop shows a youthful woman’s shapely legs. The caption: “That Old Devil, Time.” Anyone who’s older knows this is exactly how it is. There are all the cliches—it goes by in a flash, seems like only yesterday, when I was young the summers lasted forever—and all of them are true. But as we make our journey forward, measuring out the coming years more carefully than we ever have, there are ways to expand this precious time before us.


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The Rolling Stones, with Mick Jagger, 80, has just released what the critics are calling their best album since the 1970’s. Their last album of original songs came out in 2005. Adjectives like “astonishing” pepper the reviews. How did they do it? Jagger explained that they set themselves a deadline, and in under three months, it was done. SET YOURSELF AN AUDACIOUS GOAL.

This is how to expand time. Time itself, of course, will be the same, but what you pack into it will be different. I can attest to this from my personal experience. Two years ago, I moved into a small cabin in the White Mountains of New

Hampshire and began to set writing goals for myself. I had always written consistently throughout my life—fiction, poetry, journalism—but I wanted to do more than I had previously. I was inspired by the words of Buddhist philosopher and educator Daisaku Ikeda: “Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. However, if you use those hours wisely, you can accomplish a week’s worth of effort in a day, or 10 years’ worth of effort in a year. I have lived my life with that spirit.” One can take this quote as a lofty statement that we then proceed to forget about, or actually take it to heart and try to practice it. Which I did. The results are that in the two years I’ve been living here I’ve produced the following: • A 50,000-word novel that I’m shopping to agents. www.3rdActMag.com

• Fourteen-thousand words in an ongoing journal on my life here in the cabin.

and paints. Sit down in your workroom or studio. Start. Go outside, into nature, find some beautiful spot, and capture • From the journal, I sold an excerpt/ it on a canvas, with oil, pastels, water– color. Don’t worry if it’s not great. It’s story to New Hampshire Magazine. • Seventy poems, three of which were you, expressing what you see. You used to quilt but don’t anymore. published in journals. If your fingers still work, why not? I • Thirty-two articles for my two knew an older woman from Texas who Substack pages, Muddy Water and made marvelous vests out of thrownPhilosoph-ease. away neckties. She gave them as gifts. • Ten thousand words of a new novel— They were one-of-a-kind, lovingly a ghost story set in New Hampshire. made, and made people think of her. • Finally, I translated the first four At the Open Mic I host, one of our books of Homer’s The Odyssey, using regular performers is 81 years old. an “old Greek” software dictionary People love hearing him sing and tell and referencing other English his humorous, wise stories. translations. Or maybe you want to teach young people, or do woodworking, or write Lest you think I just get up, write, and that’s my day, I also have a job at a journal, or compile a history of all the front desk of a lovely inn, four to those family stories that otherwise will five nights a week. One of those nights, be forever lost. Be bold. Dive in. I host an Open Mic Night, AS WE MAKE You can share this since I play guitar and OUR JOURNEY with people. It will sing. inspire them. And it will FORWARD, So, did this take some make you feel eternally MEASURING OUT herculean effort on my young. Guaranteed. THE COMING part? No. What it took I’ll leave the last YEARS MORE was applying the principle word to A merica n CAREFULLY THAN laid out by American author Kurt Vonnegut WE EVER HAVE, journalist Mary Heaton Jr.: “Practicing an art, THERE Vorse: “The art of writing no matter how well ARE WAYS TO is the art of applying the or badly, is a way to EXPAND THIS seat of the pants to the seat make your soul grow, PRECIOUS TIME of the chair.” for heaven's sake. Sing BEFORE US. I still watch a in the shower. Dance to streaming TV series now the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to and then and go out and do social a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as things. I just keep going back to my well as you possibly can. You will get an desk. That’s all. In three hours before enormous reward. You will have created going to work, I can sometimes write something.” 500 words, sometimes more. I find William Routhier lives in the White Mountains pockets of time I’d otherwise waste. of New Hampshire. He writes fiction, poetry, So, what is it that you’d like to essays, journalism, and children’s stories. He has been published in the New Hampshire do? Perhaps you painted during your Magazine, Salem Gazette, Atherton Review, college years and have thought about Choeofpleirn Press, InterText Magazine, Light Magazine, atelier, Happy picking it back up. Carpe diem. Seize Shampoo, Magazine, Living Buddhism, Substack and the now. Right away. Go buy an easel others. Aging with Confidence

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I didn’t know what would follow my beloved career of nearly 40 years—after my early retirement and successful transition to the next generation of professionals. Then I discovered genealogy. I am intensely curious about people. Where are you from? What experiences have influenced you? What’s your story? If we met, I’d want to know. Our conversation would likely lead us to answers to these questions. I have always loved a good jigsaw puzzle that can engross me for days. I am willing to be surprised. Inquiring minds wonder. Why did my great-grandpa H. W. Davis, Jr. build a wooden boat in 1930? What did grandpa Dick mean when he told me his ancestors immigrated to North America a long, long time ago? Why did my grandma Weber always say she was from Monaghan, Ireland, when her mother was born in Starbuck, Wash., and her father wasn’t Irish? How could a DNA test help me find unknown ancestors born more than 200 years ago and cousins I never knew I had? I had so many questions and I now had time to learn!


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Genealogy is perfect for me. It’s the marriage of being curious about people, working complex puzzles, and occasionally incorporating surprising new family data into my identity. It connects me to thousands of people around the world and broadens my understanding of who my family is. I am extending the branches of my family tree, and as I do, my tree grows stronger and I feel more grounded knowing more about those who came before me. I’ve also shed new light on family stories or passing comments, and gained new insights about the times and places of my ancestors’ lives. As I study context of a time and place, history comes to life. It would have been more interesting when studying the Civil War in high school history to realize which of my family members were


fighting for the cause. I have more appreciation for my ancestors, their strength, resilience, and courage. They’ve become human to me, more than a collection of names and dates, as I now understand more details of their lives. One Thing Leads to Another While researching H.W. Davis, Jr.’s move to Seattle, I learned that he forgot to pick up his mother’s ashes at the funeral home in 1927. How did he forget his mother’s ashes? The death of his wife, father, and mother occurred within three short years. Was he too busy planning for the design and construction of his new boat, m/v Comrade? Kate Davis, born in 1843, was not interred—her remains sat in a box in the basement of a Seattle crematorium for more than 95 years. While researching, I discovered this fact. I got to be the instigator of her funeral, for the burial at sea conducted from Comrade! We’ve Been Here a Long, Long Time Early colonial Americans are wellresearched, but no living person in my family realized we descended directly from four of the passengers on the Mayflower: Samuel Fuller with his parents, and Richard Warren, preparing a new home for his wife and daughters to join him. This is what grandpa Dick must have meant when he said his “family had been here for a long, long time.” He couldn’t recall any specifics for my fifth grade family tree homework assignment. I now have new insights about our deep roots in North America, which are likely correlated with discovering my African American DNA cousins. This is an area of ongoing interest and exploration, and gives me a more direct connection to the African American experience. It was initially a surprise finding, but now I simply like being more connected to more people. DNA Opens Doors I knew little about grandma Weber’s County Monaghan heritage. I was surprised to learn

Studying maps in the Valuation Office in Dublin helps me understand locations where my ancestors lived.

Piecing Together Your DNA Jigsaw Puzzle Using DNA evidence in my research is my favorite tool. It’s like working a jigsaw puzzle that includes outline pieces rather than a puzzle without any straight-edge pieces. Anyone who works jigsaw puzzles probably starts by collecting the straightedge pieces and forming the outline so all the other pieces will fit inside. All our DNA came from our direct genetic ancestors, so DNA helps point the way to who they are, especially when used in collaboration with the DNA of our family members. I work with a cluster of shared DNA matches to try to identify our common family. Alternatively, I study a specific segment of DNA, and the people who share it, as a tool to seek a common ancestor. I attend the Seattle Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group on Zoom, where I learn new skills, ask questions, and decide what my next steps are in my DNA education. Learn more at www.SeaGenSoc.org


Aging with Confidence

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Studying genealogy has helped me “know” my great grandfather who built m/v Comrade in 1930.

Meeting my fourth cousin Julia in County Galway and sharing a moment with our relative, the young Boggiano in the painted portrait.


that her Monaghan roots were connected with only one of her four grandparents, as it was a significant part of her identity. I decided to use my DNA test results to explore her Monaghan heritage and what a treasure that’s been. I was invited to attend a gathering of the family of her great grandmother in Monaghan. A month in Ireland in 2022 included meeting dozens of cousins and lots of laughter. I discovered the source of my dad’s sense of humor. He died in 2016, and spending time with these Irish cousins was nearly like having him in the room with me again! I now have regular conversations across the Atlantic.

Cousin Mary introduces me to some of the relatives in this Carrickroe, County Monaghan, Ireland, graveyard.

Tips on How to Get Started with Family History Research • Decide where you will record your family tree research results such as on paper or online. Good ideas for online are Wikitree, FamilySearch, or Ancestry. Or get your own software to record your results in Family Tree Maker. • Document what you already know. Include full name (at birth), date and place of birth, marriage, and death. List names of known children. • Interview parents, aunts, and uncles about family history. Write down what they say with details for future reference. • Take a DNA test at Ancestry.com. They have the largest database of testers so you will have the most matches to work with. Also test any living parent. • Choose one area to focus on. Read about the time and the place for historical context. The research wiki at FamilySearch is a great resource for learning about a location. • Look for ways to learn more. Join a genealogical society such as Seattle Genealogical Society and a special interest group in an area of interest. Consider joining Family Tree Webinars and viewing Family History Fanatics on YouTube. • Prepare to be surprised.


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It’s Not All Good News When a DNA match led me to correspond with a newly discovered third cousin, I was sad to hear that her grandmother had been abandoned by her husband, our shared relative, with small children to raise by herself. This happened more than 100 years ago. When a distant Irish cousin has a very non-Irish sounding surname, I became curious and learned that his father died while his mother was pregnant with him. Already having five children under age eight, he was put up for adoption and grew up thousands of miles away. He and I have roots in the same 19th century “neighborhood” in rural Ireland. And There are Surprises Brought up Catholic, and believing we were all always Catholic, I was stunned to see 5 percent Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity in a DNA test. I learned that one of my third great-grandmothers’s Jewish husband converted to Catholicism on their wedding day. “Why did that occur?” is another question to contemplate. On that day in 1823 when John married Catharina in present-day Germany, who would have known the thrill of discovery for me 200 years later. Kathleen L. Weber is a professional genealogist based in Kirkland, Wash. She is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Seattle Genealogical Society. Her book, Arrivals: How My Great Grandparents Got to Washington 1882-1909, will be published in 2024. She can be reached at liverpoolstreetpublishing@gmail.com.



privacy of your own apartment but with 24/7 supervision and assistance with the activities of daily living (such as mobility, grooming, medication management, etc.) from trained and professional staff members. This allows you to enjoy the freedom of your retirement years with the tranquility of mind that assistance is just around the corner, day or night.

Make the Right Choice When it comes to senior living, there are many options available. No matter your needs and desires, or those of your loved one, you can rest assured that the right option is out there for you. Life Plan Communities You might have heard the phrase “Life Plan Communities.” These communities offer multiple levels of care so that residents can transition smoothly between levels of care as you age or needs change. This option brings peace of mind and stability as you are potentially able to stay in one community for the rest of your life. Some life plan communities are even faith-based, like Crista Shores and Cristwood located in Northwest Washington. Independent or Residential Living Independent Living is more of a lifestyle than a level of care. Independent Living offers a similar level of freedom and autonomy experienced in your own home, but without the stress and pressure of home maintenance and upkeep, which can be time-consuming and difficult to manage at any age. Aging with Confidence

This lifestyle offers residents more time, and less isolation than living alone. Especially, when moving to a community with like-minded neighbors of a similar age. Most communities offer a wide range of amenities and activities to make life even more fun and fulfilling. Assisted Living This level of care is like residential living in that residents enjoy the

Memory Care Millions of Americans begin to experience some form of dementia as they age. However, this hurdle does not mean they are not entitled to the same joys and beauties of life as anyone else. Licensed memory care programs are specially designed to help control the negative effects of dementia and memory-related complications and slow progression so that those living with dementia can continue to enjoy life. Quality memory care communities are staffed by professionals trained in addressing dementia-related complications and feature safety mechanisms like magnetically locking doors to prevent wandering into unsafe situations.

CRISTA Senior Living is home to seniors 55 and older, with two campuses located in the Puget Sound and customized to suit your lifestyle. Cristwood, our Shoreline campus, is a Christian Life Plan Community, with apartment living options for independent lifestyles, to assisted living and memory care. Crista Shores, our Silverdale campus, offers apartment living options for an independent lifestyle and assisted living on the beautiful Dyes Inlet waterfront.

If you would like to speak to one of our senior living experts, please call us today at 206-546-7565, or visit cristaseniorliving.com.

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



Resilience: The Simple Truth About Living to 100


hroughout my career I have often asked older patients and research subjects if they want to live to be 100. The most common answers are, “Yes,” “Yes if I can stay healthy,” or “I can’t imagine living so long with all the disabilities of old age and being a burden to others.” Gerontologists, other scientists, and popular writers study populations and geographic areas experiencing remarkable longevity (Blue Zones, for example) looking for common genetic traits and lifestyles that characterize long-lived families and individuals. I am fascinated by what we can learn


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

“luck” allowed him to avoid lung cancer, while others, with less luck, who never smoked, got lung cancer. Persons living to 100 years old—less than one half of one percent, according from the stories from persons who live to the Social Security Administration so long. All of us experience personal and even fewer who live years beyond 100—can teach us a lot through changes, triumphs along with BY DR. ERIC adversities. Persons living to 100 B. LARSON their stories and experiences about navigating the bittersweet must adapt and carry on in the face of life’s adversities—for a long time. nature of life. Resilience, the ability to bend, not I recently enjoyed reading The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable break, in the face of adversity, loss, American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man by or sorrow characterizes thriving David Von Drehle. People often asked centenarians. Evangeline (Van) Shuler, an Charlie White his “secret” of longevity. extraordinary research subject featured His answer: “It was just luck.” He avoided in the book I co-authored with Joan dying in a freak accident through no DeClaire, Enlightened Aging, traveled, actions of his own. His genome didn’t at age 100, from Seattle to Argentina to predestine him to get early heart disease dance in a tango festival. Earlier, she’d or a stroke. Even as a smoker he believed experienced the unexpected death of her


husband while the pair were working he was young, White said, “I just plowed as “retired” Peace Corps volunteers in along and followed my mother’s advice India. Despite her loss, she returned to do the right thing.” to India to complete her tour of duty. As White approached his life’s end, he After age 100, when she lost friends, her distilled his philosophy of life into a list secret was to “make new friends.” When of brief commands. Each phrase reflects she needed to move from independent wisdom he gained from a remarkably to group living, she organized a break- long life: fast table and her requirement for “Think freely.” membership was to “bring a joke to “Practice patience.” breakfast everyday.” As an avid reader, “Make and keep friends.” when her eyesight failed, she turned to “Tell loved ones how you feel.” books on tape from the library. “Forgive and seek forgiveness.” Ben Stevenson, who lived to be 101, White’s list contains familiar, simple was a devoted caregiver for his wife truths. I like a conclusion author Von when she suffered a series of strokes and Drehle drew from White’s life— dementia. Later, living by himself, he confirmed by my experience observing had a horrific accident long remarkable lives. A MORE FROM when he was dragged life well-lived may consist CHARLIE WHITE: by his horse. He was of two parts: From youth “WORK HARD.” hospitalized in a local through adulthood, we ICU and I told his “SPREAD JOY.” discover the complexdaughters that, given ities of life and are “TAKE A CHANCE.” his very old age, he “complexifiers.” Then, if “ENJOY WONDER.” might never recover. we live long enough, we Stevenson, however, FROM THIS AGING become simplifiers. Our had bu i lt physica l, AUTHOR: “ACCEPT, lives may still be complex, cognitive, and social BE GRATEFUL, AND but our response to CHERISH AGING.” reserves throughout that complexity can be life. He proved resilient distilled into simple and was able to adapt ph r a s e s le a d i ng to to extreme adversity. discrete actions—from He not only recovered, White’s mother Laura’s but much faster than advice to “do the right expected and went on to thing,” to “do unto others as have an active social life in you would have them do unto an adult living community. you,” to sound advice from On his 100th birthday, I White, “Make some mistakes. enjoyed his hilarious doggerel Learn from them.” about his life, along with his family The experiences and wisdom and the many friends he gained after centenarians leave us are simple truths his accident. What about Charlie White? Was even if life itself is complex, even he “just lucky?” Yes, and he did have bittersweet. a remarkable life. One bit of White’s general advice when faced with disappointments and losses was “let it go.” Later, when asked how he managed, especially the death of his father when

Aging with Confidence

Dr. Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, is the author, with Joan DeClaire, of Enlightened Aging. He is the founding principal investigator of the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, ongoing for about 30 years. ACT recently was awarded a $55.6 million expansion grant from the National Institutes of Health.


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winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



The Quest for Strength BY MIKE HARMS

Mary, who is 77, knew that strength training was important. It meant being able to spend more quality time with her two grandchildren. Also, maintaining her balance was becoming a concern. Strength training seemed intimidating at first. “I felt old,” Mary says. “I didn’t know if I would be overwhelmed or unable to do the exercises.” When Mary started strength training with me in my gym, we emphasized fundamental movements like pushing, pulling, squatting, and hinging at the hips. Performing exercises with proper form was the top priority. “Progressive overload” is a principle of strength training. It means that when we train consistently and increase resistance incrementally over time, we get stronger. Mary put this principle into action. Six years later, she continues to enjoy the benefits. “I’m feeling confident in my movement s” she says. “My posture


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

Strength in numbers! Mary, who is 77 years old, progressively improves at a variety of exercises targeting strength, balance, and endurance, including dumbbell bicep curls (left), medicine ball slams (middle) and kettlebell suitcase carries (right). is straighter. I have more energy. My walks are longer and faster. Friends have commented on my increased energy.” There’s more. “l have a prescription for an anxiety medicine that I take as needed,” Mary says. “I haven’t felt the need for a pill since I began training.”

SECRETS OF GIANTS Alyssa Ages competes in Strongman athletics. She lifts and moves very heavy things— like kegs, boulders, and automobiles— for sport. She weighs about 120 pounds, but possesses the raw strength to pull a 50ton truck. She felt “invincible,”

until the day her body “betrayed” her: She suffered a miscarriage. The process of rebuilding her body inspired Ages to explore how the pursuit of strength can transform us. She shares her findings in her book, Secrets of Giants: A Journey to Uncover the True Meaning of Strength. “Lifting weights didn’t erase the burden of my trauma, but it reminded me again that I could endure hard things,” she says.

GETTING STARTED I advise my clients to speak with a doctor prior to starting a strengthbuilding program. Also, if someone has an injury or recurring pain, I recommend seeing a physical therapist (PT). A PT will provide rehabilitative exercises, which I then integrate into a client’s strength program.




As a personal trainer who’s certified in training older adults, I recommend making the investment in 1:1 training. The right coach will personalize a strength training regimen for you and will help you maintain proper exercise form. Alternatively, or additionally, you can join a small-group class. Check out Enhance Fitness, a low-cost, evidencebased group exercise program that started in Washington state. One of my favorite strength-building exercises is the Farmer’s Carry. Hold a weight in each hand at your sides and walk for a set distance or time. When performed correctly with the core engaged, shoulder blades down and back, and upright posture, this exercise strengthens shoulders, legs, core, forearms, and grip. Whatever path to strength you choose, remember that progress takes time and consistency. Enjoy your journey to a stronger self! Mike Harms is a personal trainer and gym owner in Edmonds, Wash. He is certified in personal training and group training for older adults.

Aging with Confidence

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winter fall 2023/24 2023 | 3rd Act magazine


At 6 feet 2 inches and 250 pounds, wearing full-body protection, Alan Moe makes a formidable assailant. So it feels pretty liberating that, at 73, I’m slamming an elbow into his helmeted face then sending a swift kick to his padded groin. It’s an excellent way to practice self-defense skills without worrying about hurting him. Too much. “I can take the hits

Situational awareness is essential, yet people walk around with their heads down, fiddling with a smartphone. “Not only is that a distraction but it takes away the very senses you need,” Wilson explains. “That goes for earbuds and headphones, too.” Being alert allows for another skill—avoidance. “Your best option is always to avoid a problem if you can. Cross the street. Go

“That can be calls to stop or back off. But if he keeps coming and gets in your face or grabs you, defend yourself.” That means total commitment. “At level five we say, go nuts and go home,” Wilson says. Aim for the most vulnerable parts—eyes, throat, groin, knees and feet. He offers this pointed prompt: balls and eyeballs. “One of those will always be open. If

WHEN NO MEANS NO but sometimes I get my bell rung,” he laughs. “It’s an honor to give people the experience of using full force.” He role-played the bad guy at a one-day class led by instructor Andy Wilson, 52, owner of the martial arts school MKG Seattle, where self-defense students learned the five A’s of personal safety: Attitude, awareness, avoidance, assessment and action. “Being prepared mentally is half the battle,” Wilson says. “Having the right attitude includes how you carry yourself—shoulders back, eyes up, confident with a good stride. You don’t look like a victim.” Awareness also means to trust your instincts. “If you’re uncomfortable, don’t ignore it. Pay attention to those feelings.” Be alert to inadvertent signals, he says. Flashing expensive tech draws unwanted attention. “If an attacker sees something valuable, including jewelry or a watch, that’s a target. Keep any signs of wealth out of sight,” he advises.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

As We Age It May be More Important Than Ever to Learn Skills of Self-Defense by Connie McDougall

into a store. Run away. There’s a phrase in self-defense: Distance equals time equals options.” If it comes time to do something, a quick assessment is in order, Wilson says. Look for a way out. Are there people nearby? Is there a car, a door, anything that can be used as a barrier? Escape is always the first priority. Then, depending on the threat level, taking action follows a force continuum, which starts at one, do nothing, ramping up to five, maximum force. Level one isn’t passivity. “If someone has a gun to your head and wants your purse, give it to him,” says Wilson, “and be a good witness to give police information.” Sometimes it’s best to be verbally assertive. “Take a step back and give clear commands,” he says.

he’s protecting his groin, his eyes are vulnerable. If his hands are over his eyes, his groin is vulnerable.” It’s not a matter of inflicting pain, he notes. “People high on drugs may not feel pain. It’s about getting a reaction. A thumb in the eye or a hit to the throat; everyone reacts to that. And then you escape.” If something isn’t working, try something else, like stomping on the top of a foot. “We don’t advocate punching, though,” says Wilson. “Effective punching depends on ability and mass.” The idea is not to defeat an assailant or knock him out. It’s to discourage and end an attack, then escape. Weapons are a personal choice, Wilson says, but if you're going to carry (CONTINUED ON PAGE 34)


Left: Alan Moe played the role of assailant in the class, and says he enjoys volunteering for the role because it gives people a chance to experience reallife, maximum force; right: instructor Vanessa Nelson demonstrates a groin kick with MKG owner and instructor Andy Wilson.

Sequence at left: Student Mary O'Brien practices escaping from ”assailant” Alan Moe. The technique includes pushing him up with her hips so he falls forward then wriggling out and breaking free; right: Sam Albert dons full-body gear so that self-defense students can practice using realistic force in the exercises.

Aging with Confidence

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



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something, including pepper spray, know how to use it under stress. “And remember, a weapon can be taken away and used on you.” In his self-defense classes, ages range from teens to people in their 80s, but the strategies are the same for everyone. “I tell people, do everything to the best of your ability and modify according to those abilities,” Wilson says. “In class, you get a good sense of your strengths and weaknesses. Most important, it promotes thought.”

Escape is always the first priority. Then, depending on the threat level, taking action follows a force continuum, which starts at one, do nothing, ramping up to five, maximum force. Taking the class was freeing for 58-year-old Mary O’Brien, especially being told to shout “No!” when delivering a kick or chop. “Nice girls don’t yell,” she says, with a laugh. But even more, as a nurse who must walk to and from her car in downtown Seattle, and as a woman who experienced sexual assault in the past, she found empowerment. “I feel a greater confidence to respond by setting boundaries to protect myself, my community, and even for the perpetrator’s own good,” she says, “because wounded people don’t get a license to wound others.” Connie McDougall is a former news reporter and current freelance writer of nonfiction and personal essays. A lifelong student and proud English major, she has pursued lessons in flying, scuba diving, tai chi, Spanish, meditation, hiking, and Zumba.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24


Aging … It Giveth and Taketh Away BY LARRY MOSS

“Your face is marked with lines of life, put there by love and laughter, suffering and tears. It’s beautiful.” —Lynsay Sands, author

According to the Oxford English Dictionary there are more than 171,000 words in current use. That tells us that there is clearly no shortage of adjectives to choose from when trying to describe something. For the sake of this article and this magazine’s theme, let’s consider the word “aging.” In my opinion, of all the word choices available, the best and absolutely perfect descriptor is “bittersweet.” It is so spot on, Peter Mark Roget—the creator of Roget’s Thesaurus—would be hardpressed to suggest a better alternative. Like any respectable oxymoron, this self-contradicting word cuts both ways and simultaneously makes us think of the joy and the sadness that accompany old age. It makes us take stock of that which we have gained and of what we have lost. It conjures up how age both enriches and diminishes us. It reminds us, to paraphrase Job, that aging giveth and taketh away. Ask any older adult about the downside of aging and you’re likely to hear a lengthy recitation of assorted maladies that include deteriorating physical health, loss of mental acuity, financial concerns, the death of one’s peers, loneliness, and more. Realistically, we all know that these conditions are pretty much inescapable and that they come with the territory. Fact is, longevity takes its toll on all of us and it manifests in many unpleasant and painful ways. But, when we find ourselves griping about our various age-related woes, all it takes is for someone to say, “Hey, consider the alternative,” and that’s it. End of discussion. There’s a lot to be said for perspective, right? But why dwell on the negatives of old age when the other side of the ledger lists so many plusses and offers so much positivity? Certainly, living a long time gives us much to celebrate and be grateful for. So, try this. Sit down in your favorite easy chair and

Aging with Confidence

consider all the meaningful experiences and wonderful relationships you’ve had during your long life. Think of all the interesting characters you’ve met who made a lasting impression on you—or vice-versa. Rejoice in the fact that you have friendships that go back 50, 60, 70 years or more. Now take a moment and bask in the warmth of your multigenerational family. Treasure the breadth of knowledge you have accumulated and have enjoyed passing on to your children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren. Think of all that you have seen, heard, tasted, smelled, and touched all these years—nature’s beautiful vistas, fabulous music, sumptuous meals, fragrant flowers, a warm embrace, and more. Yes, aging is undeniably bittersweet. All of us have living proof of that. So, as we continue along this wondrous journey, we must accept the bitter and the sweet, the pleasure and the pain, and the joy and the sorrow. Most importantly, we must remind ourselves to savor each day and be grateful for our long, well-lived lives. Larry Moss is a retired advertising creative director and jazz piano player. He recently published a memoir about how playing the piano played such an important role in his life.

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



The Caregiver’s Journey



In the first three parts of this four-part series, you learned about how to move through the active experience of caregiving. In this final part, you’ll learn strategies for recovering and moving on from your caregiving role once it is over.

Part 4: When Caregiving Ends When your support is no longer needed, there are ways to reclaim— or reframe—your life. Because the caregiving journey is unique to each person, you may find that your own direct experience may end with the recovery of your loved one, with his/her care assumed fulltime by nursing home or memorycare staff, or upon that person’s passing. Just as your life was affected by becoming a caregiver, it is also affected by relinquishing that role. When that happens, you may find yourself feeling any number of emotions, such as confusion (“What do I do now?” “Where do I go from here?”), guilt or regret (“I didn’t do enough to help”), and anger or resentment (“Why didn’t anyone else help me more?” “I gave up so much of my own life to do this”). Not surprisingly, you may even feel a great sense of relief (“I’m so glad it’s over”), which may trigger a sense of guilt for feeling this way. Of course, in the case of losing your loved one, the most common and overarching emotion you may feel is grief—conventional grief, which looks back on the past once a person has died, or anticipatory grief, which you can feel while that person is alive but deteriorating due


winter 2023 2023/24 3rd Act magazine | fall

to advanced dementia or a terminal illness. Whatever you feel, and whatever you do, it’s important to know that you have a right to grieve and recover in your own way, rather than live up to anyone else’s expectations of how to deal with your new circumstance. Here are some strategies for making the transition from caregiver to whatever new experiences await you: Give yourself time and space to recover. This includes eating healthier, exercising more regularly, catching up on your sleep, and not making any major commitments or plans until you feel ready to do so. You might consider keeping a journal in which you can process your memories, describe any issues you may have regarding your caregiving experience, work out ideas for how you would like to be, and what you would like to do going forward. Resume pleasurable activities. If you gave up any hobbies, sports, or other pursuits because of your caregiving responsibilities, now can be a good time to get back to them. Included in this strategy is creating more

Part 1: Preparing for Caring Part 2: Looking After Yourself Part 3: Getting Extra Help Part 4: When Caregiving Ends

opportunities to laugh and play—on your own as well as with others. In short, find ways to reconnect with your pre-caregiving self. Join a grief support group. Hospice and other organizations offer small groups where you can share your feelings as well as gain insights and strategies for coping with your grief. Seek one-on-one counseling if suicidal thoughts or any other negative reactions—including longlasting (known as “complicated”) grief—interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis. Rethink your relationships with others. One of the most disorienting impacts of intensive caregiving can be the loss of friends who pull away and forget about you as well as the creation of stronger bonds with those who stay in touch and support you. Now free of your caregiving role, you can decide how to move on and with whom to do so. Reprioritize and reframe your goals. You may find that caregiving has allowed you to change in some significant ways. You may now have different wishes for your life and


strategies for fulfilling them. Would you like to go back to work? Take some lifelong-learning courses? Seek a life partner? Travel more? Retire? Decide on those factors of greater importance to you and begin to focus your attention on incorporating them into your future. Mark your transition in a formal way. Sometimes the funeral of a loved one is not enough to make it clear to yourself and others that you are now resuming your life’s path or beginning a new one. Consider creating a rite-of-passage ritual for yourself that honors where you have been and where you would like to go. Invite people close to you to take part by sharing a meal, offering a poem or other words of encouragement, and wishing you well on your way.

Returning to Work

One of the greatest challenges many caregivers face is the prospect of returning to work, out of financial need, personal desire, or both. Since workplace ageism can be a barrier to older adult employment, it’s important when applying for a job to have a positive attitude about your ability to work after having assumed the obligations of a caregiver. Here are some tips to help make that transition successfully: Create a network of support. Let your family, friends, and acquaintances know that you are now looking to reenter the workplace and ask them for suggestions of companies to approach, as well as specific people to contact. You might even ask one of them to role-play an interview with you to sharpen your ability to market yourself. Update your skills. Research and get

Aging with Confidence

training in the latest developments in your field, especially those involving computer or other technical innovations. Employers will want to know that you can hold your own and hit the ground running when you begin your new job. Be transparent about—and proud of—your time away from the workplace. Don’t try to hide the gap in your work experience, apologize, or express regret regarding your caregiving efforts. Instead, discuss how you have grown from the experience and how it makes you a more valuable asset to an employer. Express your willingness and ability to learn new things, as well as your eagerness to be a productive member of a team. Emphasize the skills you acquired along the way. Consider how well you performed your many responsibilities and tasks during that time. Cooking, housekeeping, and personal grooming tasks aside, it’s also common for family caregivers to take on the problem-solving roles of accountant, nurse, scheduler, legal representative, personnel manager, activities coordinator, and counselor, to name just a few. All of these skills are transferable to a

workplace environment, and you should be prepared to explain this in an interview. Sharing your experience. If you choose not to seek formal work, consider how your caregiving knowledge might otherwise help others caring for their loved ones. Being a mentor, continuing your participation in a caregiver support group, advocating for more caregiver community resources, and volunteering at an organization that supports family caregivers can be rewarding ways to pass along the valuable lessons you learned. Whether your caregiving journey is a relatively brief or very long one, it can be a time of incredible personal growth—practically, psychologically, and spiritually. As that journey ends, you should take pride in having assumed a noble role in preserving the dignity and quality of life of someone you loved. Jeanette Leardi is a Portland-based social gerontologist, writer, editor, and community educator who has a passion for older adult empowerment. A former caregiver to her late parents for more than a decade, she now gives popular presentations and workshops in journaling, memoir writing, ethical will creation, brain fitness, creativity, ageism, intergenerational communication, and caregiver support to people of all ages. Learn more about her work at jeanetteleardi.com.

Want to Know More? Resources for more tips, strategies, and support: • Caregiver Action Network – Life After Loss https://www.caregiveraction.org/ feelings-you-may-have-life-afterloss • Finding the Right Support Group https://www.caregiveraction.org/ finding-right-support-group

• The Center for Prolonged Grief, Columbia University https://prolongedgrief.columbia. edu/for-the-public/complicatedgrief-public/overview/ • Family Caregiver Alliance – Grief and Loss https://www.caregiver.org/ caregiver-resources/caring-foryourself/grief-and-loss/

winter fall 2023/24 2023 | 3rd Act magazine


Older Adults with Dementia but Without Close Family Who are They? Who Cares for Them? BY JANELLE TAYLOR

What happens to older adults who do not have close family when they develop dementia? The truth is, we hardly know. Population aging together with changing patterns of marriage and childrearing mean that growing numbers of people in North America reach advanced ages without a living spouse or children. This matters because the incidence of dementia increases with age, and considerable support and care are needed to live well as the condition progresses. The vast majority of this care is provided by spouses and children. There is reason to worry that older adults who lack family in these two relationship categories may be vulnerable if they develop dementia. Until now, however, very little research has examined the topic.

Older adults with dementia without close kin I am a medical anthropologist and I research social and cultural dimensions of illness and health care. (I am also the daughter of a mother who lived with dementia for a very long time). Our team has worked with information collected as part of a long-running medical research study of dementia called the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study. Since the early 1990s, this study has been following participants recruited from the membership of an integrated health-delivery organization in Seattle to identify those who develop dementia. Our team has been examining the research data and administrative documents generated by the ACT study, with an eye to what they can tell us about the circumstances and needs of older adults who were kinless when they developed dementia.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

Qualitative analysis of ACT administrative documents, some of which contained clinical chart notes from participants’ medical records, proved to be an especially rich and informative source of data.

Surprising findings We recently published what we believe is the first article on kinless older adults with dementia, and some of the findings might surprise you: • This circumstance is not rare. In our sample of community-dwelling older adults, we found that 8.4 percent were kinless at the time they developed dementia. (This is probably a conservative estimate because more would likely become kinless after the onset of dementia, upon the death of a spouse and/or child). • This is a predicament to which anyone may be susceptible. The life trajectories that led people in our sample to be kinless at the time they developed dementia were quite varied. Some had never married or had children, but others had outlived both spouses and children. • The average age of the kinless older adults in our sample at the time they developed dementia was 87. Half were living alone at that point, and onethird were living with unrelated persons such as hired caregivers. Most were women who became kinless late in life and unexpectedly. • A person’s role as caregiver (at the time they developed dementia, or prior to that) could have important consequences for their own ability to access care. For example, some in our sample had previously moved to a residential setting to meet the needs of a spouse, which could mean that they were well situated to access care later. On the other hand, at least one of the 64 kinless older adults with dementia in our sample was serving as caregiver for a roommate (who also had dementia), which triggered an intervention when it led to a situation that was dangerous for both parties. • Some of the kinless older adults in our sample seemed to have little support, but others received considerable support from relatives such as nieces, nephews, sisters, grandchildren, and others. • Some received support from neighbors and www.3rdActMag.com

Tips for Solo Agers For people who are aging solo, this research offers no easy answers, but it does point toward some questions worth considering:

friends that could in some cases involve quite extensive hands-on care. In many instances, however, neighbors and other community members appeared to have gotten involved only at moments of crisis, as a form of rescue. This research affords a rare window into the circumstances and needs of a potentially very vulnerable group that up to now has remained largely invisible. Our findings have implications for clinicians and health systems, but also for society more broadly. “Who cares?” is, on one level, an informational question about caregiving networks—one that our team, through this research, has begun to answer. On another level, however, “who cares?” is a provocation. The predicament of kinless older adults with dementia should provoke all of us to work to better support people facing a form of precarity that anyone may be susceptible to in late life. Janelle Taylor is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on social and cultural dimensions of illness and health, and over the years has addressed a range of topics, including reproductive technology and medical education as well as dementia and caregiving. Previously Published in The Conversation.

Aging with Confidence

• Would your current living situation make it easy to access help and support, if you should need it in the future? If not, consider looking into available options sooner rather than later. • Have you ever spoken with your health care providers about your living situation, who is most important in your life, and/or your concerns about your future? Having such information may help them better support and care for you. • Do you have an active network of social relationships? Neighbors, friends, fellow volunteers, fellow members of clubs, or other organizations can all be valuable sources of support. • Are publicly supported dementia programs available in your area? If not, consider getting involved in efforts to advocate for them. • Have you thought about what would be your wishes (for medical care or for your finances) if in the future you were unable to articulate them? Have you talked about these matters with people close to you and documented them in ways that can have legal force?

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine


Jennifer James On the

Bittersweet ( but Mostly Sweet) Reality of Being 80 by ANN HEDREEN Photo by ERNIE SAPIRO


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24



You are giving a talk to an audience of executives at a swanky resort. The keynote speaker at this conference is the Dalai Lama, but that’s not on your mind, because you’re focusing on your presentation. The room you’re in is rectangular and long, and you’re standing behind a podium at the end furthest from the door. And then, in walks the Dalai Lama and his retinue. Your instinct is to duck down behind the podium, panic for a few seconds, and then rise back up and continue speaking. The Dalai Lama and his people stand in the back and listen politely. Afterwards, he approaches you. He puts his hands on top of yours and says, in his unadorned English, “You are a powerful woman. The world needs more powerful women.” This was not a nutty dream I had. This was something that actually happened to Jennifer James during the period of her life when she was a sought-after motivational speaker—a period that came after her career as an awardwinning radio personality. And her career as a professor at the University of Washington, and as the founder of the Committee for Children, the pioneering nonprofit developer of socialemotional learning programs. The story of James’ encounter with the Dalai Lama had nothing directly to do with our topic for an afternoon of conversation in the book-lined library of James’ beloved Burien home overlooking Puget Sound. James had agreed to talk about the bittersweetness of reaching 80. The plan was to focus on what we gain and what we lose as we navigate the last chapters of life. But she’s a great storyteller and you know what, the Dalai Lama episode might just fit right into what James has to say about what it feels like to reach 80. The Dalai Lama is a great believer in happiness and kindness. And one of the first things James says is that she has never been happier than she is now, as she and her husband prepare to put their home on the market. James has lived there for 34 years. She built it with her previous husband, who died of cancer in 2002. She also kept coming back to the importance of kindness. Aging with Confidence

“Believing, at 80, that I may not always have been loved, or even good, matters little because I have always tried to be kind.” When the Dalai Lama episode actually happened, James was at the apex of a full and fulfilling life. She was a powerful woman. Is a powerful woman. Though now her power has nothing to do with jetting to far-flung conferences and giving talks to CEOs. Now her power lies in setting an example, for all of us, of the joy to be found in letting go. No more guilt. No more meetings. What you gain at 80, says James, “is yourself. And I think it sounds self-centered, selfish, egotistical—but it isn’t any of those things. It’s that you have one life. And it’s (CONTINUED ON PAGE 42)

James with her son and family in Hawaii. She looks forward to spending more time with her grandchildren.

Above: James as a child on her family's farm in Spokane, and as a young woman. Right: James was a Seattle Times columnist for 18 years.

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stopped reading, writing, seeking, and questioning. Hence wonderful if you do good for everyone else, but you don’t her library, with its floor-to-ceiling books, including the want to get to the end of it not knowing who you are.” 20-volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. This means you may need to do some work before you Will it be hard to let go of all those books? No. Because get to 80, especially if you have regrets. Otherwise, those James is ready for a lighter life. “I love this house, but I regrets will “dog you all the way to the end.” What she’s don’t want to live here anymore. It doesn’t make sense for talking about is acknowledging that all your desires and the new free me.” dreams didn’t come true. And that you weren’t always good, The new free me. “When you’re a certain age, you get to let alone perfect. do just what you want. Total freedom.” Because, James says, “I wasn’t a good parent in the earliest years,” James says. “You’re invisible.” But she means that in a good way. “You She was 20 when her son was born. “I was working, and can dress the way you want to, you can be irreverent, even going to school, and didn’t have time. But I’m so silly—it’s just a freedom to be and feel.” James lucky. I have this wonderful son, who in his late says she’s always been a hedonist at heart, 40s came to me and said he needed to process the kind of person who doesn’t just smell a that. So many parents don’t want to be told that rose, she “smashes it into her face.” And she “Acceptance loves humor, too—it’s “a wonderful tool for they weren’t a good parent, but I’m not like that. We processed it over about two years. I would adaptation, because the minute someone of who we say it took me another five or six years to forgive laughs at something they’re releasing tension.” myself. And you don’t really forgive yourself. But she has one qualifier, and she puts it are and how You understand.” bluntly: “I came from poverty. I somehow we have James’ son now lives in Hawaii with his wife made money. If you don’t have money and you and two teenaged children. And that’s going to ill, a lot of what I’m saying is just …” Just lived … is the are be her next chapter: Hawaii. “I never knew that noise. Not everyone gets to feel new and free being a grandmother was going to be the very supreme gift at 80. “I will tell you I have been very lucky.” best thing to happen to me,” says James. And whether we have money or good health of aging.” She’ll be halfway round the world from or we don’t, there are going to be challenges where her life started. James was born in (one of James’ is rheumatoid arthritis) and London during World War II. Her parents, both there are going to be losses. Which is why, on the London police force, were often called in as Susan Cain wrote in her book Bittersweet: to clean up bomb sites during the Blitz. When How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, we she was four and her brother was seven, they immigrated want the time we have left to be “charged with love and with their mother to Spokane, where they started their new meaning.” American life on a chicken farm. Their father, a detective, In an email after our conversation, James added this: closed his cases and followed soon after. But he never seemed “Acceptance of who we are and how we have lived … is to belong here, James says. Once a “wonderful, charming the supreme gift of aging that eliminates any fear of death. Welshman,” he became abusive, and an alcoholic, and died Examining regrets, choices, fixing what you can, making by suicide when he was 56. amends when you can, opens the door to a special kind of Meanwhile, her mother “wanted a new world, a new peace of mind.” chance. She was incredibly resilient, intelligent, loved “We all want happiness and do not want suffering,” animals and plants. But she was totally disinterested in the Dalai Lama says often, and that is why he urges the parenting or housekeeping, and she was cold. I think that’s cultivation of “warm-heartedness,” a wonderful word which how she survived. I think a bad childhood is either a gift I’d like to believe includes much of what Jennifer James is or it destroys you. And I’ve been able, after a long slog— getting at—kindness, humor, and the brand of hedonism it’s still very hard for me—to see it as a gift.” that has to do with smashing your nose into roses. The gift, for James, was her thirst to understand what Ann Hedreen is an author (Her Beautiful Brain), teacher of memoir makes us who we are. Why do we do the things we do? writing, and filmmaker. Hedreen and her husband, Rustin Thompson, own Noise Productions and have made more than 150 short films and She earned her PhD in cultural anthropology, holds White several feature documentaries together, including Quick Brown Fox: An master’s degrees in psychology and history, and has never Alzheimer’s Story. She is currently at work on a book of essays.


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hat my 88-year-old neighbor Bill built himself a treehouse last year is no surprise to anyone who knows him. Every weekday at 7:30 a.m., he fires up his truck for the three-minute drive to Hot Shots Java. There he joins a longstanding group of regulars on the coffeeshop’s sidewalk—many of them the town’s emeritus business owners and leaders. Sometimes their spouses and partners tag along. Occasionally a passerby joins in. They discuss town politics and news. They solve the world’s problems. When one of them is an unexpected no show, a call gets made to make sure all is well. Bill lives his life with a vigor that is enviable. He got married this year to a lovely woman with a wide circle of friends. His annual birthday bash is an opportunity for everyone—our neighborhood, the morning coffee regulars, and his (and now her) multitude


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of friends—to celebrate our good fortune in knowing him. For the past 85 years, the groundbreaking Harvard Study of Adult Development has been researching what it takes to thrive as Bill does. It is the world’s longest in-depth longitudinal study of human life and its findings were published in the 2023 New York Times bestselling book, The Good Life, authored by the project’s directors, Marc Schulz and Robert Waldinger. Chock-full of the lived experiences of study participants as well as research, conclusions, and advice, it is an engaging and worthy third act read. Beginning in 1938, the health and habits of the study’s original 724 subjects (a group that included President John F. Kennedy), their spouses, partners, and more than 1,300 descendants have been continuously tracked using interview questionnaires, videos, and medical results.


The oldest of the group lived through adverse historic events including the effects of the Great Depression and military service in World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Researchers discovered common threads among those who felt they lived a happy life, even those who suffered loss and trauma. They had relationships. Not just any relationships, but warm, reciprocal ones. And a sense of purpose. As participants aged, their payoff for having both was improved mental and physical health including fewer incidents of inflammatory conditions like diabetes and heart disease. The study’s findings held true across gender, class, wealth, and status differences. Bill is an inveterate, energetic builder and tinkerer. He has a small collection of British cars needing constant maintenance and friends who want to help. The entire neighborhood held our collective breath watching him climb a


ladder to build that treehouse for his 87th birthday bash. He’s responsible for much of the signage, murals, and beautification in our community. This past summer he single-handedly painted the concrete steps leading to uptown because he decided they needed a jolt of color. He refuses to describe himself as retired. For seniors, our work was once a source of relationships and purpose. We spent a chunk of our waking hours interacting with employees, colleagues, and clients. The Harvard research found that no matter what job, conditions or pay, people who had friends at work were more engaged than those who didn’t. And those who fared the best in retirement found other ways to replace the social connections and purpose that sustained them at work. For 46 years I worked in education surrounded by smart, passionate people. A few were good friends. Others were professional confidants and cheerleaders. I wondered how I would ever replace that supportive orbit once I was no longer working, and felt lucky when many of us became retirees about the same time. We helped each other navigate that first year’s downshift from occupational overdrive into the new decisions we faced. How to make the Medicare choice? Should I downsize my home? What volunteer opportunities are there? Now that my former collegial web has settled into their post-work lives, I’m grateful for social media that keeps us connected. We marvel online over each other’s travels, offer support for new hobbies, and thumbs up comments about the state of the world. Sometimes we meet for wine. The study’s longevity mapping revealed important age developmental tasks that enhanced the relationships and sense of purpose of the happiest participants. During midlife (ages 41-65), they looked beyond their working and parenting years. They asked themselves Aging with Confidence

questions like, “Who are the people and purposes I care about and how can I invest in them?” In late life (ages 66+), the authors say the most satisfied seniors were better at maximizing highs and minimizing lows. They “feel less hassled by the little things that go wrong and are better at knowing when something is important and when it is not.” They prioritized choices according to the amount of time they believed they had left. Undergirding the most successful navigators of life stages, challenges, and external events was a supportive web of relationships. How long you’ve known the other person or how frequently you see them are not as important as the support you give and receive. Participants

relationships we may not turn to when we’re in distress, but that nonetheless provide us with jolts of good feeling or energy during our days, as well as a sense of connection to larger communities.” Using the study’s most useful interview questions, The Good Life outlines helpful activities for readers to assess the quality of their own relationship web. Their research identified seven key elements of an optimal support system—safety and security; learning and growth; emotional closeness and confiding; identity affirmation and shared experience; romantic intimacy; informational and practical help; and fun and relaxation. Eighty-five years of research data prove it’s never too late to strengthen


described their most valued relationships as “someone you can count on” and “someone who adds value to my life.” But it also turns out lesser relationships can contribute to a thriving, healthier life. Bill drives to the local hardware store daily—sometimes three times a day. He chats up the clerks, says hi to customers he knows, and checks out the newest gadgets. I stop for a latte on my daily walk, as much for the comforting routine of a morning chat with my favorite barista as for the caffeine. Those interactions contribute to our relationship support quota. “Casual friendships may be the most overlooked relationships we have,” say the authors. “These are the

the relationships you already have or to build new ones. The COVID years were a reminder that no one is truly selfsufficient. “We can’t confide in ourselves, romance ourselves, mentor ourselves, or help ourselves move a sofa,” say Waldinger and Schulz. “We need others to interact with and to help us, and we f lourish when we provide that same connection and support to others.” Ann Randall is a freelance writer, organizational consultant, and independent traveler who loves venturing to out-of-the-way locales, from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. Retired from a career as a teacher and union organizer in public education, she now observes international elections, does volunteer work in India, and writes regularly for 3rd Act, Northwest Travel & Life, West Sound Home & Garden, Fibre Focus, and others.

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Finding the Joy in Sorrow 46

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Music can reach us in a way that words alone cannot. BY SALLY FOX My sister died last May. The family knew her death was imminent, but we hoped that she’d make it, at least, to her 70th birthday in June. The cancer, though, wouldn’t wait. Although expected, the news of her death toppled me, and I fell to the floor, where I lay keening for some time. But after the initial rush of tears slowed, I needed to work on my aboutto-be-published book and continue with my day. I slipped on a cloak of numbness and put my grief on the back burner. A month later, working in the garden, The Wailin’ Jennys’ version of “By Way of Sorrow” came through my earbuds. The melody and lyrics slipped a shawl of comfort and compassion around me, and my tears gushed forth. I kept hitting rewind so I could continue to sob. My numbness melted away, and after 15 minutes, new feelings surfaced. I found, hidden amid the sorrow, a pearl of joy. I knew I loved my sister deeply as my heart filled with gratitude.


Beautiful music and art can carry us through sadness and profound loss with a redemptive power. Sad, even tragicsounding music offers a paradoxical gift—a pleasure often living in their beautiful poignancy. Brain scientists even have a word for this phenomenon: “pleasurable sadness.” Often, music can reach us in a way that words alone cannot. Choral composer Jake Runestad wrote the piece “Please Stay” as a message to those contemplating suicide. At the end of the composition, chorus members speak words of encouragement taken from the writings of survivors. The piece moved me, as did the comments that followed the YouTube video. One person wrote, “My choir teacher told me to promise I would listen to this tonight. I did. And it saved me for one more night.” Listeners left similar remarks after a video of Peter Gabriel's megahit, “Don't Give Up.” A talk is less likely to have that kind of impact. Songs lure us into listening when we are feeling broken so that we can hear the lesson: “No matter what you are feeling, you are not alone." Sadness and depression can be devastating. Often, they leave us feeling cut off from others. Vivek Murthy, the 21st Surgeon General of the United States, writes about the epidemic of loneliness in this country, isolating many. Songs like “Don’t Give Up” remind those struggling, “Others have faced similar pain. You’re OK and you'll make it through.” Visual art can reach us in similar ways. I was spellbound when I viewed Käthe Kollwitz’s statue in Berlin, “Mother with Her Dead Son.” Without needing words, the work speaks to the heartbreak of war and a mother’s devastation. My experience of the piece left me sad but connected to all who have endured great loss or had their lives torn apart by war. I felt compassion for our great human community. Great art invites us to view or hear it with all our emotions without judging ourselves for what we are feeling. Others have experienced similar, complicated feelings. Knowing that may allow us to reframe our circumstances and find meaning even in the worst times.

Holding Paradox Beauty is always available to us, shining through both joy and sorrow. Like light and darkness, or happiness and sadness, joy and sorrow live as polarities or paradoxes— opposites that always come together. Try to eliminate or suppress one side of a polarity, like sorrow, at your peril. In this country, many act as if they can make happiness “win out” over sadness. The result can lead to a false universe like that in the movie Pleasantville, where negative emotions were suppressed and the world went colorless.

Aging with Confidence

Our current cultural bent toward promoting happiness without welcoming sadness, grief, loss, or melancholy can be damaging. It compounds the already complicated feelings of those who are unhappy by suggesting that they are failures, defective because of their sadness. We aren’t meant to always be happy or sad. Sometimes, we may need to turn around our mood by putting on an upbeat song when we’re blue. Who can resist the cheery song “Happy” or the viral video showing people around the globe dancing to its beat? “Happy” almost always brings me to my feet and gives me another mood enhancer—movement and dancing. Feelings are designed to flow. Finding the beauty in the sad as well as the glad keeps us from being stuck in any one emotion.

Becoming a Maker By creating beauty, we gain a way to use our experiences as fodder for our creative expression. Artists, composers, writers, and choreographers have channeled painful feelings into pieces of great beauty. We can use all our feelings when we create. We don’t need to build masterpieces to take pleasure in the process of expressing ourselves. For example, I like to improvise sounds when I’m stressed or agitated. Often, I hum. Even five minutes of humming can reset my body’s nervous system and decrease my anxiety. My vagus nerve, which regulates my parasympathetic nervous system and helps me rest and relax, loves it when I hum. I also sing. There’s no sorrow too big or grief too deep for the voice to hold. Whether sad, angry, depressed, listless, or ecstatic, I can turn my feelings into sound. Who cares whether I sound good when singing has so many benefits, such as deeper breathing, relaxation, and stimulation for my imagination? When we raise our voices, different emotions can flow naturally through us. If we’re singing in a group, we benefit from social interaction. Writing stories about our lives is another way to heal ourselves, as I discovered in writing my book. Dr. James Pennebaker and others have documented the power of writing about our experiences. No matter what trauma we have experienced, journaling about it allows us to become a witness to our lives and reshape our stories about the past. Putting our thoughts on paper can be healing even if we never show anyone what we write. Sharing our stories, though, can be a way of connecting our experiences to those of others. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 48)

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Making art can also be transformative when we give ourselves space to express what we carry within. Whether we paint detailed oil landscapes or roll out clay worms, we invite our creative spirit to join us and help us channel difficult emotions into generative activity. This past summer, I discovered the power of creating art. Over a period of five months, I lost eight friends, including a sister-inlaw. Not surprisingly, I didn’t feel called to socialize or be part of large gatherings. Instead, my studio beckoned, and I found a sanctuary at my art table. There, I let myself be enchanted by the flow of paint and fascinated by colors, lines, marks, and shapes. Often, two hours in the studio passed in

a flash, and I emerged restored. I still missed my sister, sister-in-law, and others. Yet, in creating some small thing of beauty, I found a sense of agency and stayed out of depression.

Beauty Brings Hope When we find beauty, whether in a piece of music, an artistic masterpiece, a fallen leaf, or our creations, we touch into something bigger. Beauty can transport us to a deep part of ourselves where we may connect to the eternal and discover an ember of hope at the heart of whatever we’re facing. In that hope, joy and sorrow can live together. Realizing that hope, we gain the courage to face a challenging world. Sally Jean Fox is the author of Meeting the Muse after Midlife: A Journey to Meaning, Creativity, and Joy and is a creativity and transitions coach. She lives on Vashon Island, Wash.

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For as long as human beings have had life, they have been trying to either survive or extend it. On December 30, 1999, Sarah Knauss entered the final day of her life at a nursing home in Pennsylvania. Despite the loss of her hearing and recent doses of oxygen, she was not ill at the time. The week before, she visited her hairdresser and wished a volunteer at her nursing home a Happy New Year. At the time, Knauss had a daughter, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. Knauss passed away peacefully that afternoon, two days short of the year 2000. It would have been the third different century of her life. She was 119. At the time of her death, Knauss—born in 1880—held the crown of the oldest person alive. She was part of a group of supercentenarians pushing the upper limits of human longevity. The current average life expectancy for the U.S. population is 76.1 years, but many live beyond these estimates. The number of centenarians (those at or over the age of 100) is projected to reach more than 25 million by 2100. The modern movement striving for this longevity is one of abundance. The “antiaging” industry is estimated to be worth $600 billion by 2025. Researchers are beginning to

Aging with Confidence

pinpoint the maximum length of human lives. One study, published in 2021, found that the upper limits of human lifespans could lie around 120-150 years. Outside of Silicon Valley, there are a number of different worldviews committed to aging and death and our ability to change it—life-extensionists, longevists, super-longevists, anti-death activists, and anti-aging activists. James Strole, the executive director of the Coalition for Radical Life Extension—a nonprofit based in Arizona that connects people who seek to alter their lifespans—prefers the immortality worldview. “I want to live with vitality and strength in an unlimited way,” he said in a recent interview. Strole’s organization hosts a yearly event called RAADfest—the Revolution Against Aging and Death Festival. RAADfest (a “Woodstock for radical life extension,” Strole said) features speakers from the longevity and life-extension community. At the first RAADfest in 2016, Strole—who has no scientific background— (CONTINUED ON PAGE 50)

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recalled sharing what the movement is about: “I said, ‘Look, we shouldn’t be fighting each other on this planet, we should be fighting our worst enemy: aging and death.’” Back in the late 1990s, Knauss offered a view on her lifespan. According to a local paper, when she was told about being the oldest living person alive, Knauss replied, “So what?” For as long as human beings have had life, they have been trying to either survive, extend, or immortalize it—and altering life has often involved considerations of older age. In 1550, an Italian nobleman named Louis Cornaro wrote, “I never knew the world was beautiful until I reached old age.” A popular view at the time of his writing was that humans were endowed with a certain amount of “vital energy,” according to Carole Haber, a professor of history at Tulane University and the author of a 2004 paper on the history of longevity movements. The key to living longer, they believed, was maintaining and conserving this energy through moderation in diet and lifestyle. During the Enlightenment, this view of older age persisted in the minds of prominent 17th- and 18th-century thinkers. Many during this time saw old age as a unique stage in life. “It’s [aging] good if you are economically viable. And a man,” Haber said in a recent interview.


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In the 1800s, scientific discovery in France rapidly altered this view of aging. Paris became the first site of autopsies linking physiological changes in the body (like damaged arteries, eyes, or hearing) to old age itself. Physicians in the 19th century began questioning the course of aging: What is part of the aging process, and what is a disease? “And they came to the conclusion … that what is normal is a disease. And that disease is called aging,” Haber said. Aging was then something to attack or solve. Haber cites a small—“though well-publicized”—group of men in the early 20th century who took charge in the fight to reverse aging with sexual gland transplants. This notion of attacking aging persists into the 21st century with a modern approach. Strole told me he has used stem cell therapy and nutritional supplements to keep his body “vibrant.” One theory of today’s immortalists like Strole is the longevity escape velocity, the notion that technology advances in prolonging life will exceed the rate of aging bodies. Strole hopes to “live long enough to live forever.” Matt Kaeberlein, a former professor of pathology and former director of the Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute at the University of Washington, emphasized to me that “there’s just no evidence that we’re getting closer to that at this point, based on published peerreviewed scientific data.” www.3rdActMag.com

The scientific possibilities around extending our healthspans only come with dedicated resources and attention. “The probability of what could be accomplished is sort of lost when you talk about unrealistic expectations,” Kaeberlein says. Increasing lifespans to 150 years may be an achievement, “but who is that going to benefit if that’s not available to everyone?” says Alessandro Bitto, an acting assistant professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Washington. He points out that many people still fall below the median life expectancy. While the language and financial incentives around altering lifespans may be recent innovations, the modern characterization of older age—as a stage in life, as an economic threat to American progress, and a foil to the early days of Cornaro—morphed into something akin to death. Haber writes that the new anti-age movement’s “ideas and actions ultimately serve to marginalize the very process of growing old.” In 2017, the aging philosopher and Professor of Gerontology Jan Baars wrote, “we do not die because we have become old but because we have been born as finite human beings: death is given with life.”

As one moderator put it at the 2023 RAADfest, many people don’t just want to make life last longer—they want to make life last. Strole himself claims that “we learn to take on the mortal mind.” But Baars proposed a “repositioning of aging,” as learning to live a finite life that views aging not as a problem but as a process, one with which we are all engaged. Many organizations have dedicated resources to understanding the later stages of our finite lives. The founding of the American Geriatrics Society and The Gerontological Society of America, Haber wrote in the 2004 study, worked to separate “normal” old age from “treatable, pathological conditions.” “You know, it’s really very peculiar. To be mortal is the most basic human experience and yet man has never been able to accept it, grasp it, and behave accordingly,” Milan Kundera wrote in Immortality. “Man doesn’t know how to be mortal.” Learning to live within this paradigm of aging is and will always be part of our history. Part of being human is grappling with what it might mean not to be. Zachary Fletcher is a freelance journalist covering aging and other news, most recently for The Kitsap Sun and USA Today. His work has appeared in PBS's Next Avenue and The Sacramento Bee, among other publications. Learn more about him at https://fletcherzachary.weebly.com/.

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At 78, I Learned Whole New Skill Sets and Am Having a Blast BY CYNTHIA HAMMER


ome things are meant to be. About the time COVID came along I received a memoir from a friend in Australia and thought, “Heck, during COVID isolation, why don’t I write my memoir?” So, I did. At first, it was to be a little memoir I would give to my children, but then I really got into the writing and found I had a lot to say. I had never written a book, so I took free online writing courses. Learning how to write dialogue, the importance of simple, concise, straightforward language, and the value of description was fun and challenging. My writing kept improving, and that was satisfying. I shared my writing with friends, who said, “This is good as well as informative.” They encouraged me, but I also learned that friends typically say that.

Working with a Professional Editor

I hired a professional—a developmental editor. He cost as much as a college course, and working with him was like taking one. I had written 55,000 words. His first action was to discard 15,000 of them, restructure my memoir to read like a hero’s journey, and have me write 6,000 new words


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“My days are exciting, interesting, full, and fun. What could be better when you get ready to celebrate your 80th birthday?” to fill in the journey’s gap. Then, it was on to submit book proposals. Could I find a publisher for my book, even though I was a first-time author in a challenging market?

Finding a Publisher

I read that only 2-3 percent of authors find a publisher, which was intimidating information, but COVID made submitting proposals easy. Instead of needing to mail out proposals to numerous agents and publishing companies, they now accept proposals as email attachments. I spent


days researching where to send my proposal and set up a form to track who I emailed and the status of my replies. I sent more than 50 emails and got five replies, all negative. I was ready to give up and consider self-publishing when I got a call. A publishing company was interested! Oh, wondrous joy! They liked my writing. They would take a chance on a firsttime, 78-year-old author. My book, Living with Inattentive ADHD, was released on August 29, 2023.

Another Learning Experience

Working with a publisher was another learning experience, but less fun. There are two advantages to working with a traditional publisher:


It increases the likelihood of having your book reviewed. Recognized, national ADHD authorities write positive reviews about my book. They wouldn’t have given my manuscript a second glance if I self-published.


Most publishers access huge markets for distribution. On the day of its release, my book was available on Amazon and other stores in the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Australia.

The Downside

Then There's Marketing!

I developed new skills writing a book and working with a publisher. Now I have to learn book marketing skills. But there is more. While writing my memoir, I learned that my late-in-life diagnosis of the inattentive type of ADHD continued to be a problem for others.

Helping Others

I created the website www.iadhd.org, completed paperwork to establish a nonprofit called the Inattentive ADHD Coalition, and established a board of directors. Then, I focused on educating about inattentive ADHD by writing blogs, publishing online articles, creating a presence on social media, and recording, editing, and posting videos on our YouTube channel. (Search for Inattentive ADHD Coalition). My labors of love continue—selling my book, writing articles, doing author presentations, and leading the nonprofit where I am the executive director. My days are exciting, interesting, full, and fun. What could be better when you get ready to celebrate your 80th birthday?

Cynthia Hammer, MSW, discovered that she had the inattentive type of ADHD at age 49. She has written a memoir/self-help book, Living with Inattentive ADHD, published by HatherLeigh Press. She is also the founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization, Inattentive ADHD Coalition (www.iadhd.org)

The downsides of working with a publisher:

1 2 3

You have no control over when the book will be published. It was almost two years between signing the contract and having my book published. Most contracts give the author very little money. My $16.95 paperback book pays me $1.27 in royalties— talk about an unpleasant learning experience. Publishers typically expect authors to market their books. So, I do lots of work, and they make most of the money. I didn’t know this when I started.

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70 for



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A Personal Challenge for My 70th Birthday Becomes a Fun Way to Explore Western Washington by MARGOT KRAVETTE

I’ve journeyed to more than 70 Western Washington destinations in two and a half years. Some are well-known, others less so. Each, however, provided an opportunity for me to grow, learn, and thrive. My escapade began in December 2020 as I was considering how to celebrate my upcoming 70th birthday. COVID had shown its face nine months before and was still going strong. How could I celebrate my special birthday—just two months away—during a pandemic? As an amateur photographer, it occurred to me that a great adventure would be to honor my 70 years by photographing and writing about 70 locations in Western Washington and then to create a way to share what I saw and learned. It was clear I would not be able to commit the time required for this

September 2022

Follow in My Footsteps Here is a partial list of some of my discoveries and when I visited them. You can find all 70 at 3rdActMagazine. com.

Aging with Confidence

project and continue working, even part time. So, I decided to retire on the day I turned 70 and dedicate a good portion of my time to this endeavor. My goal was to launch this undertaking on my 70th birthday in February 2021. To do so, I would need to accumulate a list of places to explore, learn how to develop and maintain a blog, and plan how and when I would visit, photograph, and write about each destination. To get started, I emailed friends to share my idea and ask for suggestions of unique places to visit. I made the same request on social media. Within a few days I received more than 100 recommendations! In preparation for each journey, I research the target location to learn as much as I can in advance. My research is primarily online and utilize several travel books that offer different perspectives: Little Washington—A Nostalgic Look at the Evergreen State’s Smallest Towns by Nicole Hardina, focuses on tiny towns in Washington; Washington for the Curious—A By the Highway Guide by Rob McDonald, Shawn Carkonen, and Clarence Stilwill, is organized by state highway; and Exploring Washington’s Past—A Road (CONTINUED ON PAGE 55)

August 2021


Skagit Valley Snow Geese—January Hoh Rain Forest—May Camlann Medieval Village—June International Kite Festival—August Kubota Gardens— October

Union Bay Natural Area—November


Bloedel Reserve— February Mason County Forest Festival—May Makah Indian Reservation—June

December 2022

Sequim Lavender Festival—July Cape Disappointment— August Skagit River Eagles— December


Seattle Central Library—January

George Tsutakawa’s Fountains—March Winlock Egg Days— June Canoe Journey— August North Cascades Blue Grass Festival— September

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Guide to History by Ruth Kirk and Carmela Alexander, chronicles the state’s cities and towns. I also collect brochures and newspaper and magazine clippings, which are helpful resources. The product of all this research is an itinerary of the points to explore and, based on location, the best order and time of year to see them. Each journey is like a scavenger hunt as I check things off my itinerary then discover even more than I had anticipated. I don’t think I expected to learn so much while doing this project. My initial thought was that I’d focus on the photography and write something describing the images. But each time I start writing there is so much more I want to say. My blog post for each destination contains some history or background followed by observations and feelings I experience during my visit. I love the feeling of discovering something new. It’s energizing and makes me want to learn more. I often identify commonalities between the community I am visiting and my own, even if on the surface they appear to be very different, which is illuminating and powerful. The journeys can be tiring. There is often considerable walking required—at times some hiking—and a whole lot

of information to absorb. I must intentionally pace myself to prevent becoming overwhelmed. I have learned to pay attention to both my body and mind and slow down or stop for the day once either is saturated. My very first journey was to Skagit Valley, where the snow geese and trumpeter swans vacation from the frigid weather at home in the Arctic. In my blog I wrote: “As I set up my equipment carefully, thinking through all the settings I wanted to use, I looked around and was mesmerized by the beauty and peacefulness that surrounded me. My breathing slowed, and as I took it all in, I knew I was in the right place, doing exactly what I was meant to be doing at that moment.” In early September, I reached my goal and completed my 70th journey at the North Cascades Blue Grass Festival near Bellingham. My journey continues. I’ve now set a new goal of visiting at least one location in every county, including Eastern Washington. Margot Kravette is a retired health care leader whose longtime hobby has been travel photography. She has captured creative images around the U.S. and abroad. Her most recent work can be found at https:// InspiredJourneys.live. Her photos are also on display at three King County, Wash., bus shelters.

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3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

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Sweet & Sour Savory & Spicy BY REBECCA CRICHTON


ifty years ago, I moved from La Jolla, California, to Victoria, British Columbia. I knew nothing about the Northwest. I thought Victoria, on Vancouver Island, was on the large island next to a larger land mass and was famous for lemurs. Who doesn’t love lemurs? When I asked where the monkeys were, people regarded me with a combination of alarm and hilarity. I joked that I left Southern California because the weather “lacked nuance.” The Northwest, on the other hand, proved to be “reliably obscure.” In my 46 years of living here, I rarely complain about the shades of grey or the range of temperatures from mainly moderate to mostly moderate.

My interest in food and cooking inspired me to propose a cooking show to the local Victoria TV station that was chartered to provide community content. Anybody could pitch an idea, get a regular slot, and have a cameraman turn on the camera and come back 30 minutes later to count you out. This was almost 20 years before the Food Network began in 1993. Long before professionals learned how to make food sexy. No closeups of sizzling, juicy steaks, piles of pasta tingly with pesto. None of what sends us into sensual trance in front of the many food shows we ingest 24/7. I called my half-hour show Cooking with Taste. The premise was that if you knew how things tasted and what you were hankering to taste, you could create food that would deliver that to you. My first show honored the familiar flavor combination of sweet and sour. I made dishes that spanned a meal starting with appetizers (my five-ingredient avocado sauce) and continuing through dishes that included savory, sweet and spicy, ending with some variation using lemons, such as a pie, mousse, or curd. Back in 1973, nobody would have predicted that Americans’ favorite foods in 2023 would include Vietnamese Pho, Japanese sushi, and other specialties from foreign cultures. In Seattle, (CONTINUED ON PAGE 58)

Aging with Confidence

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I live within three blocks of restaurants including Greek, Mexican, sushi, Thai, Northwest fusion, tapas, and bubble waffles. Our retrained and enlivened palates now crave new flavors, with sugar holding the helm against the other basic tastes. We imbibe drinks with bitters and balsam, crunch wasabi peas, blinking back the tears. We continually up the ante on the Scoville Scale for hotness. We are familiar with chocolate and chili, hot honey, sriracha, gochujang, furikake, zhug, Thai green and red chili sauces, Indian curries, and miso, which blends with sweet, savory, and spicy with equal ease. Pomegranate molasses, one of my favorite ingredients, will always deliver a sweet/sour note to sauces and salad dressings. The following recipes offer ideas and options for mixing flavors over the course of a meal. Rebecca Crichton is executive director of Northwest Center for Creative Aging and presents programs on that topic in the Seattle area. She worked at Boeing for 21 years as a writer, curriculum designer, and leadership development coach. She has master’s degrees in child development and organizational development, and is a certified coach.

use an entire small pack) • 1 - 32 oz. can sauerkraut (no need for expensive kind) • 2 large cans diced tomatoes • 1 quart chicken broth • 1-3 cups leftover wine–white, red, whatever you have • 1-2 T. powdered sour salt (citric acid)–start with 1T and then see if you want/need more • 1–2 c. brown sugar • Salt and pepper

Directions • In a large soup pot, cook the beef in hot oil until it loses color and begins to brown. • Add onions and garlic and cook down and begin to brown. • Add both red and white cabbages and let cook until they also reduce and release their liquids. • Add sauerkraut with its liquid. • Add tomatoes, wine, and chicken broth. • Add sour salt and sugar. • Stir and bring to simmer. • Simmer soup for several hours (at least two) until meat is tender and falls apart easily.

Keep testing for the right balance of sweet and sour. I almost always add more sugar and, depending on how much sour salt I start with, I might add a bit more. Just add 1 teaspoon at a time as it is very powerful.

Grandma Annie’s Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup

This soup is a variation on Russian cabbage borscht. It is the essence of what a really good sweet and sour soup can be. While it can be vegetarian, the depth of flavor from meat changes it to something sublime. It also calls for an ingredient most people don’t know: sour salt (citric acid). You can find this at markets that sell Kosher or Eastern European food or, although it sounds weird, you can get food-quality Citric


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

acid at a pharmacy. It is inexpensive and a little bit goes a long way!

Ingredients This makes many quarts, but it freezes very well so you might as well make a lot! • 2 T. olive or other oil • 2–2 ½ lbs. stew beef • 1 red cabbage–shredded • 1 green cabbage–shredded • 2 large onions–red or white, sliced • 3-6 cloves whole garlic–chopped or shredded (I use Trader Joe’s already peeled and

If you can make this a day ahead, the flavors deepen overnight. And it is just fine served the same day. It can be kept at a simmer for a long time, which also improves the flavor. Serve as is or with sour cream or yogurt to stir in.


My new approach to fruit and vegetables that are a bit past their prime is to roast them. It works splendidly for cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, cut in quarters, and grapes of any color. Other seasonal fruits can be treated the same way. Heat oven to 350 degrees


• Wash tomatoes or fruits and cut in half or quarters if needed. Grapes and cherry or grape tomatoes don’t need cutting. • Combine herbs, oils, and other ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat well. • Spread in foil-lined pan and roast at 350 for up to an hour, turning pan and moving ingredients around so everything cooks and become juicy or “plummy” and browned. Herb mix for 1 lb. tomatoes or fruit • 1 T. Herbes de Provence • 2 T. plain or flavored olive oil • 2 T. sumac • 2 T. flavored or balsamic vinegar (I use tarragon vinegar with green grapes) • 1 T. sugar for tomatoes or other fruit if it isn’t too ripe • 1 tsp salt

Terrific on a charcuterie board. Or with roasted meats, curries, grain bowls, or as a bruschetta topping over goat cheese.

• 1-2 T. pomegranate syrup (optional) Mix together. Store in refrigerator. Use this on salads that have mixed greens and some combinations of fruit, nuts, and cheese.

For example: • Oranges, kalamata olives, red onions, pine nuts, and crumbled feta • Pears, candied walnuts, crumbled gorgonzola, or blue cheese • Apples, pecans, or walnuts (toast them in the oven a bit to bring out the flavor) • Grated sharp cheddar cheese

cream—don’t worry if it isn’t smoothly incorporated. • Gently crush the meringues—you want big pieces of meringue, broken from their original form. • Layer meringues, whipped cream, and lemon curd and whatever fruit you are using so there are two layers of each.

You can use individual glasses or other glass dishes or put it all in a large glass bowl. Serve right away. This amount should serve four people depending on size of containers.

Easy Eton Mess with Lemon Curd— An Assembly Job Rebecca’s Salad Dressing

Enough for two large salads

• 2 T. Dijon or other specialty mustard (coarse grain, hot/sweet, etc.) • 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar • 1/3 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar • 1/3 c. good quality olive oil • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional) Aging with Confidence

Ingredients • 1 package of meringues (small or large, any flavor that appeals) • 1 jar lemon curd (Trader Joe’s has a good one and it is available in most grocery stores) • 1 pint whipped cream or a can of whipped cream • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, or mixed berries Directions • Fold lemon curd into whipped

winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



Eating Out on Your Night Out BY MISHA BERSON

Dinner and a show. The two go together like, well, a show and dinner. For many of us an evening out (or even an afternoon) includes a meal or before-show refreshments with friends, followed by entertainment. But sometimes it’s hard to know where you need to go before you head out to take in ballet or symphony, or patronize a music club, theater or art exhibit. You are probably hoping that, preferably, it will be someplace where you can park once, or take one ride on public transportation, for both destinations. And not spend an arm and a leg, in addition to the cost of admission to your event. Here are some suggestions, by venue, for a modest or moderately priced pre-show nosh or meal near cultural hubs in the Seattle area. Bon appetit! Misha Berson writes about the arts for crosscut.com and many other media outlets, teaches for the UW Osher program, and is the author of four books, including Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination (Applause/Hal Leonard).


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DOWNTOWN SEATTLE If you are headed to a theater performance at ACT Theatre or the 5th Avenue Theatre, or to an art exhibit at Seattle Art Museum, maybe a concert at Benaroya Symphony Hall, consider the following: Elephant and Castle Pub. On 5th Avenue, within blocks of several cultural institutions is this roomy and informal, British-style pub. The offerings include standard, hearty English pub grub like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and shepherd’s pie, as well as burgers and other comfort fare. www.elephantcastle.com/ Japonessa Sushi Cocina. This Asian standby features a full complement of sushi, including rolls with a Latin spice twist, and such fusion items as sukiyaki tacos. Close to both Benaroya and SAM, the restaurant has an excellent (and very popular) happy hour seven days a week. https://www.japonessa.com Pacific Place restaurants. Close to the 5th Avenue, ACT Theatre and the Paramount Theatre is the Pacific Place shopping center, which has several casual and convenient eateries and inexpensive evening parking. Pike Place Chowder is a favorite spot


for clam chowder. And Dai Tai Fung is one of the city’s premiere dumpling emporiums—though it is often crowded, so line up early. www.pacificplaceseattle.com/dining/ SEATTLE CENTER You’ll find many entertainment options here, and cozy eateries convenient to McCaw Opera House, Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle Repertory, and other attractions. Plaza Garibaldi. For fans of mainstream Mexican food, this is a pleasant bar and restaurant on 1st Avenue, with a large menu and hearty portions. There is the usual array of tacos, burritos and enchiladas, as well as a fairly large seafood menu raging from raw ceviche to the less customary dish Campechana, which is a stew of shrimp, octopus, and avocado in a mild tomato sauce. www.pgaribaldi.com/ Bahn Thai. A charming standby on Roy Street for decades, this attractive Thai restaurant offers standard soup, noodles, and stir-fries, but also some house specialties like pumpkin curry and fried fish cakes. Open for lunch as well as dinner. www.bahnthaimenu.com Toulouse Petit. For a somewhat more upscale repast, you can try the colorfully decorated, happening lower Queen Anne bar and bistro with a New Orleans slant. Roasted chicken with biscuits is on the menu, as are steaks, gnocchi, and numerous seafood small plates. Open for lunch, brunch, and dinner, reservations are strongly advised. www.toulousepetit.com VILLAGE THEATRE, ISSAQUAH One of the area’s most patronized musical theater venues, the Village Theatre is on the picturesque Main Street of this Cascade Foothills town. Fins Bistro. Many a theater fan has chosen Fins for convenience

(it’s actually in the same building as the Village) and reliably fresh and appetizing seafood. The menu is compact, moderately priced, and appealing, with entrees of miso black cod, Alaskan halibut, and ahi tuna, along with steaks, gumbo, fresh oysters, and an array of salads. www.finsbistroissaquah.com Chicago Pastrami. On the other end of the food spectrum is the cute and casual budget spot across from the Village. It boasts genuine Chicago pastrami—one of the few places to do so in the Puget Sound area. For a quick, delicious repast, you can get a classic pastrami sandwich, a Reuben (with sauerkraut and French dressing) and several different choices of hot dogs, and, just for a change, a gyro sandwich. Hard on the arteries, but worth it! www.chicagopastrami.com

BELLEVUE ARTS MUSEUM AND MEYDENBAUER CENTER THEATRE In the heart of Bellevue, blocks from the Bellevue Square shopping mall, the city’s accomplished museum and nearby theater—which hosts the Bellevue Symphony, a blues and jazz series, and the International Ballet Theatre company, as well as imported acts—are prime Eastside culture outposts. We count more than 20 restaurants within walking distance, with just about every kind of cuisine—Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American,

continental, seafood, burgers, pizza—in every price range. It’s a fast-changing lineup of eateries for a fast-growing city, so we suggest consulting this website for the skinny on current choices from the Downtown Bellevue Association: www.bellevuedowntown. com/explore/dining

EDMONDS CENTER FOR THE ARTS Locals have a gem of a performance space in downtown Edmonds. It is a popular tourist spot, north of Seattle, for diverse marquee acts from all over. The 2023-24 season includes Hawaiian dance and music, the WE SPEAK Festival (a celebration of spoken word poetry and storytelling), a one-woman show based on the life and career of the late U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the pop orchestra Pink Martini, and more. The Santa Fe Mexican Grill & Cantina. Part of a local chain of eateries, this laid back, family-friendly restaurant has all the classic Mexican dishes, moderate prices, and a great location in the center of downtown. www.santafemex.com Thai Cottage. Regulars at this pleasing Thai café near the arts center praise the pretty décor, variety of curries, and noodle dishes. It is open for lunch and dinner, with reasonable prices at both seatings. www.thaicottage.net winter 2023/24 | 3rd Act magazine



assionate remain

rs ahead. Guided by explored she found nting, and d wonder.

personal hows us, embrace



ogression her old aring the reedoms, age,” she

Meeting the Muse After Midlife—A Journey to Meaning, Creativity, and Joy

MMting the Muse After Midlife



“There’s more.” In a moment of clarity, Sally Jean Fox realizes that the life path she’s invested so much in is no longer working for her. She has no idea what to do or what needs to change, only that there is more. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery told with courage and vulnerability, as Fox begins peeling back layers of self-judgment and starts to the listen to her inner voice—the muse, Isabel. After It’s a crossroad many of us reach as we pass mid-life. Having checked all the boxes our culture tells us we must check—education, family, career—we come face-to-face with a life stage that, on the surface, appears to ask less of us and it can be deeply uncomfortable. Especially if we are carrying around unresolved baggage and limiting beliefs. In Meeting the Muse After Midlife, Fox takes us with her as she faces her fears around growing older, and the realization that embracing creativity is a key to navigating aging S A L LY J E A N F O X with meaning and joy. This is the time for engagement, not retirement, and she must find the courage to experiment. First step is to embrace a beginner’s mindset and not hinder expression by seeking perfection. Being a beginner gives us permission to explore and try new things without judgment, and Fox throws herself at improv, speaking, performing, painting, and writing. When self-doubt arises, Isabel—and later, her second muse, Marco—offer wise words of encouragement. It’s not an easy journey, not for Fox, not for any of us. But having an inner dialogue with a wise muse of our own, the trustworthy support and encouragement of friends, and a guidebook by someone who’s on the path does ease the way. Meeting the Muse After Midlife is a quick and easy read and—as one of her cohorts—I could relate to many of Fox’s misadventures and challenges. I especially like how the book is organized into bite-size chapters, which provide an opportunity to pause and reflect before moving on. It’s a great memoir with helpful insights on living our next chapter. Now, if only I could meet my own Isabel. There is more. If you are a regular reader of 3rd Act Magazine, you will be familiar with Fox’s wonderful writing. Over the years she has contributed numerous articles and essays related to aging with confidence. You can read all her essays at 3rdActMagazine.com. Just type “Sally Fox” in the archive window to retrieve her stories along with numerous podcasts she has produced on aging. Meeting the Muse After Midlife is available at Amazon.com. A JOURNEY

MMting Muse Midlife



GAMES FOR YOUR BRAIN What Do They Have in Common? 1. T hey all have stars. 5. They all have horns. 2. T hey are all types of 6. They all have rings. golf clubs. 7. They all have eyes. 3. They all have 8. They are all types of buttons. sugar. 4. They are all purple.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

ANSWERS (Puzzles on page 64)

Anagrams 1. Inks, Sink, Skin 2. Evil, Live, Veil, Vile 3. Gnus, Guns, Snug, Sung 4. Leap, Pale, Peal, Plea 5. Acres, Cares, Races, Scare

6. Caret, Cater, Crate, Trace 7. E mits, Smite, Mites, Items, Times 8. T eaks, Skate, Steak, Stake, Takes

Art and Sol 1. Arteries 2. Arthritis 3. Articles 4. Articulate 5. Artifacts

6. Solidarity 7. Soliloquy 8. Solitude


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for your brain

Exercise your brain and have some fun with these puzzles designed to stimulate different cognitive functions.

What Do They Have in Common? (easy)

Each question contains a list of several items. Can you figure out what they have in common? 1. The U.S. flag, Hollywood, and the night sky.

5. A car, a bull, a shoe salesman, and a brass band.





2. Chipper, driver, and wood.

6. An engaged woman, a telephone, a school bell, and Saturn.

3. Blouses, elevators, and your belly.

7. A hurricane, a needle, and a potato.

4. Eggplants, Barney, bruises, and amethysts.

8. Corn, cane, beet, and maple.

____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

Anagrams (harder)

The letters of each word in this list can be arranged in multiple ways to form other words. We provide the word and the number of anagrams that are possible to make.

1. Inks (2) ________________, ________________

5. Acres (3) _______________, _______________, _______________

2. Evil (3) _______________, _______________, _______________

6. Caret (3) _______________, _______________, _______________

3. Gnus (3) _______________, _______________, _______________

7. Emits (4) ___________, ____________, ___________, ___________

4. Leap (3) _______________, _______________, _______________

8. Teaks (4) ___________, ____________, ___________, ___________

Art and Sol (hardest)

All the answers in this word definition game begin with the letters ART or SOL. 1. The blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart.


2. Joint disease.

__________________________________________________________________ 3. Examples of this part of speech are a, an, and the.


4. Having the ability to speak fluently and coherently.

6. Trade union instrumental in the collapse of Communism in Poland.


7. A speech given by a lone character in a play.


8. A state of seclusion or isolation, either chosen or enforced.


__________________________________________________________________ 5. In archaeology, these are found items of cultural interest that were made by a human being.

__________________________________________________________________ Reprinted with permission from Nancy Linde, author of the best-selling book 399 Puzzles, Games, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young, 417 More Games, Puzzles, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young; and 299 On-the-Go Games and Puzzles to Keep Your Brain Young. She is also the creator of the website Never2Old4Games.com, which is used by many senior-serving organizations in the U.S. and Canada.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2023/24

ANSWERS ON PAGE 62 www.3rdActMag.com

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