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MESSAGE from the publisher
Our Time in the Sun Remember last winter and spring? For months that sometimes felt like years, we were plagued by dark, wet, gray days. After all that recorddrowning rainfall, even the hardiest Pacific Northwest ducks among us wondered if we’d ever feel the sun on our faces again. Yet here it is, at long last. The seasons of our lives can sometimes feel like that when a torrential downpour of change or loss darkens our sky. Stormy patches can come at any age, but they might feel more threatening as we grow older. And it’s easy to wonder if the sun will shine again—to wonder if the best years of our lives are behind us. No! They don’t have to be. Not if we have the courage to shift our perspective. With less life before us than behind us, there can be a profound expansion in our
perception of living—of how we choose to spend our time, give to ourselves and others, and live in the present. As the demands of middleage recede, we are free to pursue our passions, express our own personal style, and to take time to savor life. We have arrived. This is our moment in the sun. Dark days and challenges will come again, as they have throughout our lives. And it’s true, as a reader recently pointed out to me, that those with greater financial resources and good health have more options and choices. Yet it costs nothing to savor a sunset, to enjoy the warmth of the sun on your face, to smile at a stranger, and to lend a helping hand to a family member, friend, or neighbor. We can all shine. We can all be someone’s sun. This issue is full of inspiration and encouragement to fully embrace this stage of life we are living today. Why not warm up to our well-earned wisdom? What have we got to lose? “Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here Here comes the sun Here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right” —The Beatles
“As the demands of middle-age recede, we are free to pursue our passions, express our own personal style, and to take time to savor life.”
OU R VI SI ON 3rd Act Magazine endeavors to inform, inspire, and entertain older adults. Our stories and articles challenge worn-out perceptions of aging and offer a dynamic new vision: Aging is good, let’s celebrate and embrace this stage of life, and let’s age together with confidence. PU B LI SH E RS Victoria Starr Marshall David Marshall EDITOR Victoria Starr Marshall COPY EDITOR Julie Fanselow ART DIRECTOR Philip Krayna WEBSITE Philip Krayna, Gayle Fox ADVERTISING Victoria Starr Marshall, Trish Cooper DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION David Marshall CONTRI BUTI N G WRITE RS Roger Anunsen, Greg Beatty, Ashley T. Benem, Misha Berson, Betsy Case, Aly Colón, Rebecca Crichton, Annie Culver, Dave Ellingson, Julie Fanselow, Sally Fox, Hollis Giammatteo, Dori Gillam, Perry Higman, Priscilla Charlie Hinckley, Jennifer James, Shelley Laurell, Nancy Linde, Don McDonald, Jane Meyers-Bowen, Kellie Moeller, George A. Santino, Liz Taylor, Terry Tazioli COVE R PH OTOG R APHY Copyright © The Boeing Company. All rights reserved. WRITE TO US 3rd Act Magazine wants to hear from you! Email your comments, ideas, and questions to info@3rdActMag.com or mail to 81 Canal Lane, 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 of 3rd Act Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. It is your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, opinion, advice, or other content contained herein. Oshi Publishing, LLC makes no representation and, to the fullest extent allowed by law, disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied. The content published herein may include inaccuracies or typographical errors. Copyright 2017 Oshi Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Oshi Publishing, LLC, 81 Canal Lane Brinnon, WA 98320 · 360-796-4837 Email: info@3rdActMag.com For subscriptions and additional information, see us online at www.3rdActMag.com.
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
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contents FEATURES 24 A MOMENT IN THE SUN Shine, shine, shine—these can be your best years. TERRY TAZIOLI
28 LIFE LESSONS
32 TAKE FLIGHT
Author Perry Higman tracks down heroes of his youth. PERRY HIGMAN Meet Boeing’s trailblazing women. BETSY CASE
46 FEELING INVISIBLE?
Marketers ignore Boomers, but people over 50 spend big. JULIE FANSELOW
52 D RESS FOR DELIGHT Self-expression never goes out of style. SALLY FOX
ARTFUL AGING 10 AGING DELIBERATELY
The joy of doing nothing – a farewell. LIZ TAYLOR
12 G IVING VOICE TO VALUES Life gets better when you rise and shine with purpose. REBECCA CRICHTON
14 H ONOR YOUR LIFE
How to keep it together when you’re falling apart. JENNIFER JAMES
20 THE LIGHTER SIDE
Discover all those things you didn’t know you needed. ANNIE CULVER
60 TURNING YEARNINGS INTO MEMORIES It’s never too late to
live happily ever after. JANE MEYERS-BOWEN
63 LIVING INTO DYING
Host a different kind of dinner party. ASHLEY T. BENEM
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine
16 M ONEY
36 THE SUGAR VS. FAT DEBATE
18 YOU ARE NOW GATEKEEPER
38 C REATE A HEALTHIER
Who is acting in your best financial interest? DON McDONALD
OF THE NEWS Sorting fact from
fiction or opinion. ALY COLÓN
Look who’s been tipping the scales. SHELLEY LAURELL
BRAIN The science behind savoring
a sunset. ROGER ANUNSEN
22 R ETIREMENT. NOW WHAT? Time to update your bucket list. GEORGE A. SANTINO
44 MY THIRD ACT
Paddling the many streams of a life’s journey. DAVE ELLINGSON
49 R EFLECTIONS ON MY CLIMATE CHANGE
Planetary peril becomes personal. HOLLIS GIAMMATTEO
54 VOLUNTEER VACATIONS You can travel the world and help it, too. DORI GILLAM
56 W E’LL FOLLOW THE SUN The great eclipse and more seasonal adventures. JULIE FANSELOW
40 R EPLACEMENT PARTS
Considering a new knee or hip? Pros and cons. PRISCILLA CHARLIE HINCKLEY
43 TAI CHI, ANYONE?
Older adults are embracing the martial arts. GREG BEATTY
IN EVERY ISSUE 8 TIME TO TALK
Help with pressing questions on aging and transitions. KELLIE MOELLER
58 O N THE TOWN
Hit the road for summer Northwest music and theater jaunts. MISHA BERSON
62 BOOKS - WITNESS TREE BY LYNDA V. MAPES
in the Sun
Coming into Our Own
Everyday Heroes Are All Around Us
Is it Time for a Few New Parts? FOR A HEALTHIER BRAIN Savor a Sunset
RETIRED! Now What?
Cover: The first woman to fly a F-15 fighter jet, Nelda Lee, 70, still approaches life with the belief that she can do anything. Photo Copyright © The Boeing Company. All rights reserved.
ROAD TRIP TIME Places to Go, Things to See
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
Reviewed by Jo Shilling
64 B RAIN GAMES
Challenge yourself with these word puzzles.
Make a Difference I recently discovered your wonderful magazine at my local library. Really enjoyed the ideas shared about being active in making a difference and volunteering. (“Kitchen Table Transformation” by Lynne Iser, Spring 2017.) I found a way to do both, volunteering with RESULTS (results.org) to end hunger and poverty in our country and our world. This is something I can do with my family, make new friends, and make a difference. For example, the number of mothers and children dying from preventable causes has been cut in half and we are working to end these deaths completely. Volunteer, join us, or find some other group and make it so! — Willie Dickerson, Snohomish
Enjoy the Wait I read parts of your Winter 2017 issue at my physician’s office and didn’t want to put it down when my name was called! What a wonderful service you’re providing for those of us who are in the “winter of our lives”! Thank you. Thank you! — Adrienne Nichols, Snohomish
A New Spring in Her Step Just picked up the Spring issue. Love it. It is so much more than the usual “senior” publications. Finally, a positive, moving-forward voice in a still-growing and learning life, full of more new milestones to accomplish and enjoy! Truly instills hope and promise for continuation of a full and enjoyable life. Thank you. — Cheryl Rabe, Bremerton
talk to us!
by mail: 3rd Act Magazine, 81 Canal Lane, 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. www.3rdActMag.com
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time to talk BY KELLIE MOELLER
Just as Bette Davis said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” At 50, we all think that we will remain strong and active until we leave this planet, but the truth is, as we age, we have to face limiting health or mental situations that change our abilities and expectations. In spite of the challenges, if we renew our hope with fresh experiences and a flexible lifestyle, we can make our later years happy and fruitful.
I feel like I am becoming invisible as I get older. All the things that made me happy seem to be disappearing. My family is grown and gone, I am no longer working, and my body is not cooperating with me as much as I would like it to. The critic in my head is giving my third act bad reviews. How I can manage being happy and lose this feeling of becoming obsolete?
A Kellie Moeller has worked in the senior housing industry in the Northwest for more than a decade. With an insider’s view and a passion for serving seniors, she gives a fresh perspective on aging. Email your questions to TimetoTalk@ 3rdActMagazine.com or mail your questions to Time to Talk, 3rd Act Magazine, 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320.
With aging comes a certain amount of loss, and no matter how you stack your cards, age will always win the game. Aging with confidence is a choice, and it requires a change in how you find satisfaction. We have all grown accustomed to feeling valued through parenting, a professional career, or our youthful looks, all of which are disappearing. But that does not mean we are obsolete. We have a gold mine of experience, history, and wisdom! Our value and usefulness have switched seats, so it is time to ride along. To feel fulfilled, think about leaving a legacy and lifelong learning. Who can you invest your experience and talents in? What new skill have you always wanted to learn? Teach, learn, and invest your energy in these things and you will find a renewed sense of value and happiness as well as meet new friends along the way. That feeling of being obsolete will be left in the dust!
It would be an understatement to say that these last two years have been physically challenging for me. Diagnosed with heart issues, knee surgery, and macular degeneration, I am coming to terms with the fact that my body is aging. Some days I feel like crawling in a hole or just watching TV all day. I am so discouraged and without hope! How do I age with grace and not lose hope or become a house hermit?
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
Change what you can and surrender with hope to what cannot be changed. The Serenity Prayer says, “Help me accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Growing older has its challenges and most are rooted in the failings of our body parts. Hope depends on taking initiative. Not long ago, my mother gave up driving because of macular degeneration and poor reaction time. It was a huge lifestyle change that required us all to find other ways for her to stay involved in quilting, church, and volunteering. When life is unfair and you just want to mope, don’t give up trying or surrender your hope. Join classes or activities that are within your capacity, use public transportation options for the disabled, allow friends and family members to help you, and find new ways to stay engaged. As you take initiative, your hope will be renewed.
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The Delight of
Doing Nothing BY LIZ TAYLOR
A CLIENT USED TO GIVE HER AGE ACCORDING TO the number of dogs she was likely to have before she died. Her daughter told me she was “two dogs,” meaning about 60. (I bet she also had a bumper sticker that read, “Dog is my Co-Pilot.”) I can identify. I’m passionate about animals, especially dogs, and I figure I’m at the half-a-dog point now, accounting for the rest of my current dog’s life. Thus, at the ripe old age of half-dog, I’m taking stock of my past and estimating my future. It’s good timing, now that I have the longevity I didn’t before. I’m boggled at some of the things I’m discovering—me, with 40 years working in the aging field, feeling pretty confident that I know what’s what. First, there’s the note I created years ago and enshrined on my frig: “The older I get, the more responsibility I have to keep myself healthy and able.” It means only I can do the basics to stay healthy: exercise daily, eat right, and stay social. OK, I did these things (off and on) for most of my life. Today I’m stuck with the results—for good and bad, but they’re pretty good, so now I’m setting my sights elsewhere. Second, I truly don’t want to live forever, but I especially don’t want to live any length of time needing assistance. I have long-term care insurance in case I do, to pay for the quality care that’s not usually attainable on Medicaid. But I hope not to use this extra insurance. If I have a say in my demise, I intend to use it. Many others I’ve talked to feel the same. Speaking of which, I was invited to give the keynote at a caregiver conference a few years ago. My hosts—all women who worked in various capacities in the aging field—took me to lunch
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
the day before. One thing we shared was a love of dogs. Another—and it took up most of our conversation—was that each person intended not to live long enough to need care. We were being practical, not maudlin or sad, in wanting fervently to avoid much of what we’d seen in the daily nitty gritty of old age. Thank you, no, none of us wanted that, despite the “miracles” of modern medicine. Third, I’m realizing that I am nearing the end of my life. Many more years behind me than ahead. I’ve never felt this before, and it’s not scary; it’s a new stage.
Along the way, I’ve discovered how I want to spend this time: doing nothing, at least for the foreseeable future! I don’t mean sitting in a corner and contemplating my belly button—but doing what I want to do. I refuse to wake up to an alarm clock. I no longer hurry. With a little Social Security coming in, I have the freedom to do nothing special with my time but visit friends, walk, do art, appreciate nature, and read copiously. It may not be what you would do if you had the chance, but that’s fine. I also don’t want to live with deadlines anymore. And so I’ve decided to just be old, not write about it. (Well, maybe occasionally.) So this is my last column in 3rd Act. Farewell! Liz Taylor, an eldercare specialist for 40 years, lives in the San Juan Islands, where she is semi-retired. She wrote a popular column on aging for The Seattle Times for 14 years, and has consulted with thousands of older adults and their families. Liz can be reached at email@example.com.
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Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 11
GIVING VOICE TO VALUES
Rise and Shine –
What Gets You Going? BY REBECCA CRICHTON
DO YOU GET UP EACH DAY WITH enthusiasm and a sense of purpose? Judging from the King County Library Wisdom Cafes that I facilitate, many of us desire a sense of purpose yet struggle with redefining what that means as we age. The daily routines and rhythms of most of our lives relate more to habit and necessity than to a deeper sense of calling. Here are five concepts that can help us feel upbeat and hopeful about our lives. They’re listed separately, but they are actually interdependent. Knowing the answer to one can naturally lead you to discover answers for the rest.
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 she is a certified coach.
Something to do Many people anticipate a time where they don’t “have to” do anything. While the thought is appealing, the reality can be disappointing. Having something to do that is more than “routine maintenance” means finding activities that engage us deeply. What have you loved doing in your life? When have you felt most energized and excited? What kinds of activities engaged you? What personal attributes were called forth by those activities? Think of it as a kind of personal job interview in which you are asked what your greatest talents and gifts are for the job you want. What would you say?
of our “bucket list” items or as regular as the exercise class we signed up for to stay in shape. Something to believe in When asked what you value and what sustains you, can you identify what those things are? For many, their spiritual traditions are their foundation. As people become increasingly aware of the serious issues facing the world, they might be moved to activism and involvement in ways they hadn’t been before. Whatever those deep places of certainty and comfort are, knowing them and honoring them grounds you. Something—or someone—to love We often use the word love casually: We love our favorite restaurants, the teams we root for, the new car, old mementoes. While the things we love are important, at least as important are the people we love and who love us. Family, friends, pets, teachers, and colleagues—all are among those whose care and caring matter to us. Something to make us laugh Laughter is good for us. It has health benefits, clears our brains, and can lead to more creativity. The internet has lots of funny things to give us a daily dose of humor, but even more essential is being able to laugh with compassion at our own and others’ foibles, and at life’s absurdities and incongruities. So, tomorrow morning, if you wake up with your stomach tight and a list of un-dones and to-dos hounding you, run through the five concepts and see what comes up. Only you can
tell what is really “yours to do.”
Something to look forward to We hear many reminders about staying in the moment, yet planning for and anticipating future events encourages us to think about the choices we make every day. And looking forward to something can get us through difficult times. What we anticipate with pleasure can be as simple as lunch with a friend, a new class, or a family visit. It can be as unique as one
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
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HONOR YOUR LIFE
Keeping It Together
When You’re Falling Apart BY JENNIFER JAMES
Jennifer James has a doctorate in cultural anthropology and a master’s in history and psychology. She was a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington Medical School. Jennifer is the founding mother of the Committee for Children, an international organization devoted to the prevention of child abuse worldwide.
I WENT TO SEE MY DOCTOR the other day for my pre-surgery checkup for a shoulder replacement. He mentioned I would eventually need a knee replacement, too, plus a new joint in my right hand. I joked that I seemed to be falling apart! With a straight face, he said “Yes, you are.” I laughed, but later the reality hit me. While I had been happily tripping through aging by basically ignoring it, I must accept that I am not one of the lucky ones who will ski until they’re 90 and die while they’re asleep. Still, I am lucky I have the option to keep going as a semi-bionic senior, and I am learning to live this new life by using my penchant for analysis and changing my perspective in three areas: relationships, mind over matter, and physical problems. Loving friendships and family make my life worthwhile, so I give them far more time and attention than in the past. I am, by my nature, a creature of solitude but I want to avoid the loneliness that is one of the scourges of old age. I’ve made friends that are younger than me and I have been very good to my grandchildren and my friend’s children. I want my loved ones to know that I care for them, so my papers are in order, the house and garden are being simplified, and I have created personal legacies. I have a small stone box for my son and each grandchild. Inside are notes to remind them that they are lovable and capable. Yes, a paperweight from Baba they can put somewhere or misplace. But it will have weight. I would have given so much, as a younger me, for something on my desk or nightstand that said someone loved me.
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
Rituals are a comfort, so I have created ones that I can keep wherever I live. I enjoy coffee in the morning, always with a treat. I schedule and look forward to regular meetings with friends, and music helps me get up and putter when I feel stuck. Some days, the best motivators are the needs of those I love and my small furry companions. I am making an album of beautiful photos: of my garden, animals (especially baby animals), scenery, a few memories, grandchildren, and such. Later, I assume I will be able to flip through this album with just a few neurons. I have art jigsaw puzzles to do when my physical and mental skills are tired. When you lose your short-term memory, puzzles are great because you still know what to do with the new pieces—and they work well for me as a meditation, too. The physical and medical stuff is the hardest, requiring resilience and determination. Health maintenance takes up so much time that I plan good things around doctor and infusion appointments. Pain medications and fatigue suppress motivation, so I need to be both a philosopher and a cheerleader. Some days I can www.3rdActMag.com
exercise and some days not, and there is the possibility of a glass of wine as the sun sets. Body maintenance is hard work for me but cleanliness is basic (since, if that goes, they come and get you and put you in a “home.”) You know the drill: nails, haircuts, lotions, showers, reasonable clothes. I find I can stay sort of slender and still eat my favorites even without aerobics just by focusing on other pleasures. My energetic senior disguise works on most days, and it is true that if you look and sound good, you feel good. When I lament my lost energy, I remember all that I have learned since high school. Hey, I would go back to that high school body if I could hold on to my painfully gained wisdom. I have no desire to be that naive, unsafe, and driven again. What I am now feels solid and complete. I have become a good person and I am free anytime to crawl into my lovely bed and take a sweet nap. All this may seem irrelevant to you at 50, 60, or 70, and maybe age will never catch you. I both envy you and wish you well. The thoughts in this column are for all my dear cohorts who are also falling apart. Enjoy every hour you can, love yourself, and all you have been through. In every moment you can stop and find something beautiful to touch, see, or hear. As Louis Armstrong once sang, at any age it is still a “wonderful world.” Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 15
Who is Acting in
Your Best Interest? BY DON MCDONALD
The host of the nationally syndicated Don McDonald Show for over 20 years, Don now co-hosts Talking Real Money with Tom Cock on Seattle’s KOMO radio Saturdays at noon (talkingrealmoney.com). Don also publishes the investing magazine, real investing journal (realinvestingjournal. com).
YOU MAY HAVE A CLOSE FRIEND or even a family member who formally or informally gives you financial advice. You feel comfortable taking this person’s advice because they seem more knowledgeable than you and they are “such a nice person.” Who can blame you for trusting this adviser? You’re not alone. Most investors are confident that their adviser is working on their behalf. According to a recent survey by Financial Engines, a portfolio management company, slightly more than half of American investors believe that their financial advisers are required to act in their in their best interests or as a fiduciary, even though financial adviser is an undefined and wholly unregulated term. The word “fiduciary” was one that few had heard until the past two years when the U.S. Department of Labor started working on a regulation that would require anyone who provides advice on retirement investments to act as a fiduciary, which means putting your client’s needs ahead of your own. Most financial advisers are not required to act in your best interests; they are merely required to offer customers a product that is “suitable.” That means it can’t be bad for you, but it doesn’t have to be the best. Here’s a simple example: Imagine two mutual funds with identical portfolios. Both funds are suitable for your particular situation. Fund A charges a 5.75 percent commission (paid to the broker) and a 1.25 percent annual expense ratio (a portion of which is paid to the broker annually). Fund B charges no commission – 100 percent of
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
your money gets invested – and only charges 0.25 percent per year (a true no-load fund). A fiduciary adviser would have a legal obligation to at least present both funds to you. The “suitability” adviser could sell you the more expensive product and not even verbally disclose the high expenses. (This person must hand you a prospectus, which you are unlikely to read.) Which type of adviser would you rather have? As it is now, most people providing financial advice are not always required to do what’s best for you and your financial future. Is it any wonder that most equity fund investors make less money than they would if they purchased the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index?
While 90 percent of financial advisers may not be required to act as your fiduciary, 93 percent of investors surveyed by Financial Engines believe that everyone who provides financial advice should be required by law to act in your best interests. Yet most of the financial services industry was opposed to the new fiduciary rule, which went into effect June 9 after being delayed by the Trump administration. Your relationship with your financial adviser should not be based on friendship or blind trust. Your future depends on the financial decisions you make today. Working with a fiduciary investment adviser does not guarantee financial success, but it does improve your chances. No matter who is advising, you must ask them if they always act as a fiduciary and then, no matter what they say, get it in writing.
We Love Puppies and Kittens But They Don’t Sit on Our Editorial Board
A Bold, Fresh, Voice for Today’s Older Adults Help us Elevate the Converation About Aging: • Subscribe • Follow us • Dive in Deeper Online at 3rdActMagazine.com
We face a flood of fake news and information today. Trying to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction gets harder and harder. Years ago, we could turn to credible news anchors, such as Walter Cronkite. Or we went to our favorite newsstand for a reputable national newspaper. At the very least, we subscribed to the local newspaper and had confidence in it. The media determined the veracity of our news. After all, being trusted mattered to journalists. But that was then. Now, technology has democratized the process of making, or making up, news. The gatekeeping role of our news media now falls to all of us. Journalists no longer decide what goes public. Information flows unchecked, filling websites, blogs, and tweets. It’s not that fake news is new. Thomas Jefferson complained in 1807, “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” Our old gatekeepers weren’t infallible. Yet in today’s technological world, we’re caught in an informational perfect storm. We can unwittingly contribute to the unpredictability. It can happen when people
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who use social media fail to check what they repost, or re-tweet without reading for accuracy. That plays into what those who produce fake news hope to accomplish. While some believe those engaged in disseminating fake news hope to deceive people, press critic Tom Rosenstiel sees it differently. “The goal of fake news,” he asserts, “is not to make people believe the lie. It is to make them doubt all news.” So what are news consumers to do? How do we decide if we’re reading fake news or true news? How can we act as our own news gatekeepers? When we know what we inhale with regard to “news,” we will know what to exhale. This serves as a litmus test in our search for truth and facts. Here’s a short checklist that emphasizes credibility.
Check out the source. Pay attention to who wrote it. Know the “who,” or the “what,” of the source. Read the “About” section of the writer/website. It may offer insight into the writer. Check out the information. Do other sources corroborate what you’re reading, viewing, or hearing? Have you used such verification sites as Snopes.com, PolitiFact.com, and FactCheck.org? Be aware of your biases. Remember that we tend to read, listen, and watch news with our own built-in prejudices. Be open to reading, listening, or watching news sources with other views. There’s no need to close the gate. Just be sure you know what’s flowing in. It matters. Aly Colón is the Knight Professor of Media Ethics in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. Prior to joining Washington and Lee, Colón spent more than 30 years in journalism, including as assistant metro editor and diversity reporter and coach at The Seattle Times. (A longer version of this article first appeared on Conversation.com)
Aging with Confidence
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THE LIGHTER SIDE
A Bumper Crop of Catalogs with Things
You Didn’t Know You Needed BY ANNIE CULVER
Annie Culver developed a knack for unearthing oddball characters and improbable events as a staff writer for various newspapers. In the early 1990s, she went to work for websites where she wrote sassy essays aimed at women. In recent years, she morphed into a writer for several universities in the Northwest. She retired in 2016, yet still enjoys freelancing.
RETIREMENT BRINGS WITH IT a dizzying carnival of catalogs for independent living. They stuff my mailbox, and each is stranger than the last with curious twists to attract aging Boomers. It’s definitely a new take on growing old gracefully. Remember those thick and fuzzy beige support hose your granny used to wear? One of today’s renditions is called “Support Like Crazy.” Lightweight and silky compression knee-highs now come in a wild array of designs, including flower power, rainbow static, leopard, tapestry, smoke and mirrors, paisley passion, art nouveau, impressionist, circuit board, and fiesta. If you’re ready to transition beyond a dinner napkin, adult bibs beckon with names like “shirt savers” and “designer dining covers.” Complete with crumb-catcher pockets, they can be found in plaid, floral, blue coral, and dog motifs. Patterns add a new spin to mobility as well. Socalled “socialite canes” are available in butterfly, leopard, and peacock. For what’s described as “a fashionable step forward,” how about a cane in polka dot, fuchsia floral, American flag, or blackand-white check? Cane grips come in orange, purple, and green. Fleecy ones add a soft touch to either T-handle or curved-grip canes. You can find a techy cane with a safety alarm that lets loose when you press a button; an extra handle for getting out of chairs; and bright, adjustable LED lights to illuminate your walk. (There are battery-operated LED headlight glides for walkers, too.) Maybe it’s time to illuminate a toilet bowl with an LED in one of seven colors and transform the throne into a nightlight. Its motion sensor turns off 45 seconds after you flush and go back to bed. Ergonomics are a must these days, with
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gadgetry designed to make it easier to stand up while you pull weeds and dust baseboards, yank on zippers, or stay off the ladder when it’s time to clean the gutters. There’s even a thingamajig arm that holds the TP to give your bum a cleaner wipe. Depend-brand undies may be the corner drug store’s go-to option for incontinence. Yet many catalogs sell washable incontinence briefs for men in navy and gray and for women in nude, pink, and black. There’s even a women’s white lacy incontinence panty with a waterproof barrier. I’ve received three catalogs—all of which also address incontinence—that include two- to four-page spreads on personal massagers (aka vibrators), other pleasure contraptions, and DVDs with come-ons claiming to provide sex techniques in explicit detail. I called one of the toll-free order lines and discovered this “sexual health and wellness” inspiration sells at a good clip. Folks who phone in are likely to order something unrelated first because they’re presumably a tad shy about stating their desires for an Apollo Power Stroker, a Triple Tease, or a diminutive waggler masquerading as a red lipstick. When it comes to discreet, the Support Plus catalog wins top honors for featuring a way to keep stinky gas to yourself with flatulenceneutralizing, activated carbon filters designed to be stuck in your underpants. This invention, called Subtle Butt, has its own hilarious web presence, too. If all else fails to grab you, consider Potpourri catalog with its “unique gifts for special people.” For a mere $19.95, you can purchase a six-inch, handcrafted, labeled, and empty “jar of nothing.” On the backside, it describes the jar’s contents: “Zilch, nada, squat, zippo, and not a single thing.” Sounds like Boomer talk to me. www.3rdActMag.com
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Retirement. Now What? BY GEORGE A. SANTINO
George A. Santino helps people who want to break down barriers, including self-imposed barriers, to success. Check out his new book Get Back Up: From the Streets to Microsoft Suites which was an Amazon bestseller. For more information go to georgeasantino.com.
he day will be here soon, or perhaps it has already arrived. You wake up in the morning, just as you’ve been doing for years, but today you have no place to go and nothing to do. Were your friends correct when they said you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself once you retired? When they said you’d get bored and be back in six months? It doesn’t have to be that way. You had a very successful career and you can have a very successful retirement if you approach both in the same way. Before I retired my friends would remind me of what a workaholic I was because of the long hours I worked. They told me that my job was my life and without it I’d be lost. To some extent they were right; I did give my job everything I had, but one reason was so that I could retire early. I did just that at the age of 55. As I approached retirement I thought about what my friends and coworkers had said, and I knew they were right. By putting my life into my job, I had postponed a lot of the things I’d wanted to do. Some of the goals were simple, such as traveling more, but some of my plans were much more difficult to achieve, like recording a CD and writing a book. And of course I wanted to spend more time with the family and get into better shape. I had a long list. I’m sure you had a to-do list at work, including daily things you had to do like
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attend meetings and send and read email. Maybe there were the things you did on a monthly basis like reports and budgets, and of course there were the annual tasks such as performance reviews. When I sat down to make my retirement to-do list, I approached it the same way I’d done at work. I had daily activities like email, social media updates, and finances. I had weekly items such as Italian and piano lessons. And I had longer-term projects like recording a music CD and writing a book. We’ve all postponed some of the things we’ve wanted to do in our life as work and raising a family took priority. Now is the time to bring those things back to the forefront. What have you always wanted to learn? How to speak a foreign language or play a musical instrument? You have the time now. Where have you always wanted to go? Start making plans. Don’t hold back. This is your time. Make that list and don’t leave anything off, no matter how ridiculous the idea might seem. My list included singing. As a kid I always thought I would be a professional singer someday, but the fact is a lot of people can sing and it’s a very hard way to make a living. Now that I’m retired, I don’t have to make a living at it. I can just do it for fun. Four years into retirement, I’ve released three CDs and written six songs. It has been a blast. So whether you’re approaching retirement—or even if you’re already retired—sit down and make that list. What are all the things you’ve put off? Where do you want to go? What do you want to learn? Who do you want to help? How do you want to give back? Who do you want to reconnect with? Whatever it is, you now have the time. So get started, but most of all have a good time. You’ve earned it.
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A MOMENT IN THE SUN COMING INTO OUR OWN
BY TERRY TAZIOLI
They knew her signature 1960s Cadillac, a living room on wheels, that five days a week tooled slowly through the barn area of the old-Northwest elegant Longacres horse race track in Renton. They knew the car’s driver, “Smoky.” Hard not to guess where the nickname came from, given the big mass of red-orange hair that sat atop a much tinier body. Another signature. Few of them, however, knew she was 80 years old, on her way to work, doing what she loved to do, independent, a new chapter in her life. She was the de-facto ruler of the “backside,” as stable areas for racing thoroughbreds have been called for years. She took entries for the week’s racing cards, which meant she knew everybody —trainers, stable hands, owners, the bosses, everybody. She passed out advice. She made—ahem—an occasional bet.
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This was her moment in the sun. Truth be told, it’s a moment many of us long to replicate as we race toward sunset. Who wants to quit and sit at 62 or 65 or whatever age the gods of actuary tell us we must after years at the daily grind? Not my mom Smoky (better known as Elizabeth Tazioli, who died in 2006 at age 94), not me (I learn from example), not increasing numbers of us who simply treat the end of one career as the beginning of another—or three or four, whatever shape they may take. Another career? Do something completely different? Why? Well, why not? There’s too much to do. Too much to offer others. Too much out there not to continue to be a part of it all—or of something. Many of us are lucky enough, or privileged enough, in many ways to do the things we’d like to do at this point in our lives and not have to worry about being paid to do any of it. We do it because we want to. Many more of us are not quite that lucky— or that privileged.
Think about the distance between “I work because I have to” and “I work because I want to.” We’re all somewhere on the line between those two extremes. But it’s not just about continued work, is it? Volunteering, board memberships, travel, consulting. Art, music, drama, writing. So much more. And, I would argue, we as a group may be among the best of the best when it comes to being qualified to press on. Wisdom? Sure. Experience, compassion, talent, courage, passion? Absolutely. Take Jean Godden of Seattle. Godden was a longtime columnist for both Seattle newspapers before she finally left The Seattle Times to run for Seattle City Council. She won. She was 72 years old. She served three terms, and now, at 86, she’s back writing a column for community newspapers. Says Godden: “I think I am enjoying a fourth, or maybe fifth act.” Mack Hogans of Bellevue was senior vice president for Weyerhaeuser. He retired in 2004. Now, he’s head of his own consulting group, affiliate professor at the University of Washington, on the board of regents for Pacific Lutheran University, chairman of the board for Cambia Health Solutions, and more. And these are new ventures, added to the activities he already does. This guy will wear you out. “It keeps my brain and mind active, sharp and challenged … it appeals to my heart,” he says. How about Seattleites Theresa Morrow and Bill Ristow? These former Seattle Times employees made a pact when they retired: “We decided we needed a goal as a couple. So we wrote a mission statement for our retirement. We wanted to give back in recognition of the good fortune we had enjoyed in our careers,” says Morrow. They have done just that. Over 10 years, they’ve trained more than 1,000 people in journalism and creative writing in six countries: Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ukraine, and Bosnia. They’re still at it,
Aging with Confidence
increasingly at home in the United States as well as abroad. Morrow adds, “We know that we will continue to learn with every project we take on.” Like Godden, Martha Choe served on Seattle City Council. Then she became chief administrative officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And now? “I’m ‘rewiring,’” Choe says—and that’s not a typo, folks. She is a consultant, serves on a number of boards (“organizations doing their part to make the world more equitable, healthy, and just”), and mentors young people. “I have decided to ‘charge’ for my time by requiring that whomever I spend time with gives back in some way to make the community better and to pay it forward,” she says. Then there are the folks who don’t leave the arena where they’ve spent much of their adult lives. They just find “other things” to do within their chosen group. Like Sister Susanne Hartung. She began working with the Sisters of Providence, her religious order, when she was a teenager in Portland. She later joined the order—and she’s still there. “Ageless,” she says, when asked her age. She still works full time for Providence Health & Services, where she seems to be everywhere. “My life is fuller than anyone can imagine,” she adds. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 26)
There’s too much to do. Too much to offer others. Too much out there not to continue to be a part of it all.
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Ellen Ferguson says she’s “mucked around museums” for more than 40 years. She finally landed at the Burke Museum, where she’s now co-chair of the campaign for the new Burke that will open in 2019 on the University of Washington campus. Like Sister Susanne, you see her everywhere—political
Who wants to quit and sit at 62 or 65 or whatever age the gods of actuary tell us we must after years at the daily grind?
fundraisers, other museums (she co-chairs the board for Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum), political fundraisers, student mentoring. “There are so many places to plug in,” she says. “It’s just a matter of choosing the right fit. Is there commonality here? You bet. Once these folks get started, they don’t stop. You can’t stop them. They don’t stop themselves. They simply do. Certainly, they do for themselves, but far more for others. It is a point each makes, beyond any accomplishments they might have had or the plaques and awards they’ve collected. They indeed are in the sun these days. In fact, none of them ever left it. Terry Tazioli spent 22 years as Scene and Travel editor for the Seattle Times. Since retiring from the Times in 2008 he has served in various volunteer positions, hosted a national PBS book show called WellREAD, and now co-hosts an online and on-air book club produced by the UW bookstore and KOMO-TV’s Seattle Refined afternoon program.
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Aging with Confidence
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Life Lessons from
MY OLD HEROES BY PERRY HIGMAN
When I was in Gatewood Elementary School in Seattle in the early 1950s, my parents and grandparents often praised men and women of action and accomplishment they knew and admired. I listened carefully. Their stories and their lore were part of my upbringing. Nearing retirement in 2006 I was pondering my own life, so I decided I’d try to look up some of those old guys and see how they’d turned out. What luck! Some were still alive. A pleasant nostalgia began to set in. I had idealized these men throughout my boyhood: a cowboy, a race car driver, a hydroplane racer. How would it be to check in with them now? Who were they really? As an adult, what could I learn from them? Lesson one: People are easy to find. The internet works. I first heard about Deb Copenhaver (born
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1925 in Creston, Washington) in an argument between my dad and his father about who was the best cowboy of the day. I was in the fourth grade and Deb was World Champion Saddlebronc rider in 1955 and ’56. I met Deb in person when I was 62. “Don’t get me wrong,” he told me that first day. “I loved my time in the sun in my rodeo years, but my life is much richer now.” As my friend now for 10 years, I know he’s right. Mira Slovak (born 1929 in Cifer, Czechoslovakia) became my dad’s hero in 1953 when he flew his Czechoslovakian Airlines DC-3 to freedom in West Germany. He became my hero when Bill Boeing Jr. hired him to drive the Miss Wahoo unlimited hydroplane in 1956. He was Mr. Boeing’s personal pilot as well. As kids in West Seattle we figured out where his apartment was on Alki Beach. Mira won a number of races in the Wahoo, and went on to win the national championship in Miss Bardahl and the Tahoe www.3rdActMag.com
From left: Deb being recognized for his career at the 2010 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Photo: Molly Morrow; Deb in the early 50s with son Jeff up on famous bucking horse Badger Mountain. Photo: Copenhaver Collection; Mira Slovak (right) with Miss Wahoo crew member. Lake Washington, 1957. Photo: Bob Carver; Hershel remembers big wins in the early years. Photo: Laurie Lyon; Deb and Cheryl Copenhaver at their home in Creston, Washington. Photo: Copenhaver Collection; Mira (right) and Perry (author) with his Bucker Jungmann trick plane. Photo: Sandra Higman
Miss. When I reconnected with him in California he was in his 80s—not driving boats in competition but still in demand as a stunt flyer at air shows. I learned of Hershel McGriff (born 1927 in Bridal Veil, Oregon) from my grandfather Harry. Harry was a passionate sports fan of Northwest men and women, from Al Ulbrickson and the UW rowing crew to Gretchen Fraser (1948 Olympic gold medal in slalom skiing). At 22 Hershel and his co-driver Ray Elliot drove his Oldsmobile Rocket 88 racecar from Portland to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and won the inaugural 1950 Mexican Road Race, beating some of the best drivers in the world. From there he went on to a stellar career in NASCAR, and was still qualifying and racing well in 2012. Second big lesson: Our lives can continue in fascinating and satisfying forms far beyond our youthful years. My parents obviously aimed high, like many of our moms and dads do. “If you work hard you can be a world champion, win the big race, etc., etc.” I bought into it totally. My little boy’s brain believed I could do anything. Slowly through my school and working years I realized that I didn’t have my heroes’ superlative talents. Aging with Confidence
A disappointment? Sure. But those heroes inspired me to find my own singular abilities, and even though I didn’t accomplish what they did, I’ve learned to dance well in my own world, while also finding joy in theirs. (I do love cars, fast boats, and horses.) Third lesson: The point is not to become someone else, but to find ourselves. These heroes of mine had jobs where their well-being was constantly in danger. They know reaching old age takes luck and the “grace of God.” They are all glad they made it. None has ever mentioned feeling betrayed or defeated by age. They know age is real and cannot be avoided. They are slow and stiff and have lost, and gained, some replacement body parts, but age has not changed their spirit. They love their past trophies but always have known their fame was temporary and that someone better is out there. Their egos
“Take a chance. That’s how my heroes got where they got. Risk a new opportunity, a new project, a new friendship, a new place. I took a chance in looking up my heroes and it sure made my life richer.”
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From left: Hershel beneath the painting of his 1986 Winston West Championship. Photo: Laurie Lyon; Mira piloting the Miss Wahoo in the 1957 Apple Cup on Lake Chelan. Photo: Bob Carver; Hershel and Sherrie McGriff at home in Green Valley, Arizona. Photo: Laurie Lyon; Hershel and Sara Christian (sponsor’s wife) celebrate one of his Grand National wins in 1954. Photo: NASCAR; Deb Copenhaver, Casey Tibbs, Bill Linderman. Three great bronc riders of the 1950s. Photo: Helfrich
“I had idealized these men throughout my boyhood: a cowboy, a race car driver, a hydroplane racer. How would it be to check in with them now? Who were they really? As an adult, what could I learn from them? and passion made them relentless competitors, but never have they lost their humility. All point out that youth is difficult, too, and things can go painfully sideways at any time. Just a few days before his 92nd birthday, Deb fell in the shower and broke two ribs. “At least now I have time to heal and the VA’s paying,” he said. “I broke my sternum in 1957 and it took me out of a run for another world championship.” Mira cringed remembering terrible wrecks in Miss Wahoo, Miss Exide, and Tahoe Miss. (“My best hospital memories are when I was in a coma,” he said.) Humor helps. These people all knew they were not easy to live with while reaching toward the top, but they cite fulfilling personal relationships gained as they have grown up. They are honest and acutely self-aware. Although Hershel can still pass the required
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NASCAR physicals, he says he may go back to school (though he grins and doesn’t rule out a comeback on the track). Always a competitor— his brother has a Ph.D.—he confesses sleeping through high school to work all night and finance his racing. My heroes are still growing and learning. They have shown me that we have choices, no matter how bleak the outlook. Mira was diagnosed with stomach cancer several years ago. We talked openly about the likelihood it would kill him. He kept working on his airplanes as long as he could while trying to settle his affairs before he died in 2014. Both Mira and Deb (who still plans to breed the best race horse on the planet) have told me “there’s nothing wrong with dying in the middle of a dream.” My heroes have also shared things that are proven to keep us going. Travel is one. Deb served in North Africa in WWII, and rodeo took him all over the Americas. Hershel raced in Japan, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. He still has an active fan club in France where he and Bill France took some stock cars to Le Mans in 1976. Mira grew up in free Czechoslovakia until he was 10, then lived under Nazi and Soviet rule. He’s been a multilingual international figure his whole life. www.3rdActMag.com
Life Lessons continued
Music is another. Deb can sing with the best and still yodels when he feels good. He sang with Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers at the Madison Square Garden Rodeo Finals in 1952, and won the Saddlebronc title as well. Sometimes he harmonizes with his old friend Bonnie Guitar (Female Country Vocalist of the Year in 1966), who lives down the road in Soap Lake. Hershel is also fond of American country music. Mira loved European classical music. It was always playing in his shop, the perfect soundtrack for a pilot who loved the wide open skies. My heroes make it a point to stay in touch with true friends. Again, the internet and phones work! Pets and animals are prized. Hershel loves keeping hens who enjoy life in the designer chicken house his wife built. Mira and his wife, Ingrid, had a cute pair of small dogs (named after famous kings) that accompanied them everywhere. Deb has his barn cats, his dogs, and gets teary-eyed over great bucking horses he’s known and prize quarter horses he’s owned. My heroes practice gratitude. None ever forgets to thank God and those who nurtured and guided them throughout their lives. All have a strong sense of personal style. Dressing well can make us feel good. Yes, all were Aging with Confidence
celebrities and needed to please their sponsors. But they continue to be aware of their public appearance in their own unique ways. Mira always looked formally dressed; he would never wear jeans, even around his shop and hangar. Deb wouldn’t think of going to the Corner Cafe in Creston without shaving, putting on a newly pressed bandana, and a nice hat. Hershel has perhaps the most “Northwest” look: He’s fond of untucked open flannel shirts over clean white Ts, with jeans and tennies—an early ancestor of “grunge” from the woods of Oregon. Finally, my heroes taught me to keep moving. Keep walking, riding (get instruction: even Hershel, one of NASCAR’s best drivers, took lessons before riding his lovely Harley), working, thinking, reading. Hershel alternates days between a mountain bike and lifting weights at a local gym. Eat well: Deb weighs the same he did when riding broncs. Mira needed a good heart, eyes, and nerves to fly tricks in his hot-rod Junker biplane. Take a chance. That’s how my heroes got where they got. Risk a new opportunity, a new project, a new friendship, a new place. I took a chance in looking up my heroes and it sure made my life richer.
Perry Higman was born in Seattle and traveled by car with his parents and grandparents all around the western U.S. He taught Spanish, English, and creative writing at Eastern Washington University and has also worked as a ranch hand and horseshoer. He loves motor racing, rodeo, and the mountains. See a list of his books at highpeaksbooks.com.
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Life Lessons from Boeing Trailblazers
BY BETSY CASE
he recent movie Hidden Figures introduced many of us to women who worked behind the scenes to send men into outer space. There are heroines in the aviation industry too, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few of them and share their inspiring stories. Six years ago I got an unexpected call from a Boeing executive who asked whether I’d like to write a book about the women of Boeing—women have been active in the company since its start in 1916. My mother had always inspired me to champion women’s issues, so I was thrilled about the idea. I replied, “I think it’s high time their stories are told!” And during the writing journey that became Trailblazers: The Women of The Boeing Company, I made treasured new friends and learned valuable life lessons. Here are three of them:
Above: Nelda Lee stands on the tarmac after her record-breaking flight. Right: Trailblazing women made 100 years of history in aviation at Boeing.
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ever take no for an answer Dr. Sandi Jeffcoat inspires me with her dedication to sharing the love of science, technology, engineering, and math with young women. On a job interview in the early 1970s, Sandi, the first African-American woman to become a member of the Boeing Technical Excellence Program, was told she would not get the position because she was “black and a woman.” She thanked the interviewer and then approached the receptionist asking to speak to “the person who runs this organization.” She did—and presented him with multiple reasons why she was the ideal candidate. She got the job. Now retired from Boeing, Sandi says, “I’ve been proving everyone wrong ever since.”
lways be willing to give it a try Nelda Lee was hired by McDonnell Douglas in 1969 and became the company’s first female flight test engineer in 1978. She and her brothers were inspired by parents who raised them to believe they could do anything, as exemplified by a favorite family tale, “The Truck Story.” While working with Nelda’s two brothers in the pasture of the family farm, Nelda’s dad turned to 8-yearold Roger, asked him to get in the truck, drive to the barn, and retrieve a needed tool. Wild eyed, Roger said, “But dad, I can’t drive the truck.” The response was “How do you know you can’t unless you try?” Roger hopped in the truck, drove to the barn, and returned victorious with the tool. Years later, Nelda became the first woman to fly an F-15 fighter jet. How do you know you can’t fly an F-15 unless you try? Nelda still approaches life with the belief that she can do anything. At age 70—three years into retirement—she plays her trumpet, swings a mean golf club, and stays fit in innumerable ways including bicycling. She tirelessly supports Women in Aviation International (she’s in their Pioneer Hall of Fame); WhirlyGirls, a worldwide organization of helicopter pilots; and The 99s, an association of female pilots founded by Amelia Earhart. She speaks to girls about aviation at every opportunity. And she is
passionately involved in 100+ Women Strong, an organization she helped form at Alabama’s Auburn University to recruit, retain, and reward female engineering students with scholarships and internships. She recently earned the Auburn University Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2016. On aging with confidence, Nelda advises, “Do something that engages you every day, even if you do it by yourself. Stay in touch with younger people—be part of their lives!” And finally, she says, “The older I get the more important I think it is to give back—do something for somebody else because in turn you help yourself.”
ave passion for what you do Barbara Jean Erickson-London, a University of Washington home economics major in the 1940s, had a passion for flying. She quit school, became a Rosie working on B-17s, and then became the only Women’s Airforce Service Pilot (WASP—women who ferried airplanes from factories to military bases in World War II) to receive the Army Air Medal during the war. Her photo is on my book’s cover, her face shining with her joy for flying as she sits in a C-47. Her dream of being a commercial airline pilot after the war was never realized, but her passion for aviation was her legacy: Her daughter was a commercial pilot for 28 years and her four grandchildren are pilots. While writing Trailblazers, I encountered corporate roadblocks, but I rarely took no for an answer thanks to Sandi. I had to dig hard for information about nearly-forgotten women, and I kept on trying because of Nelda. As for having passion, the book become a labor of love—for Boeing’s trailblazing women, their extraordinary courage, and the life lessons they can teach us all. Author Betsy Case began her career as owner of a Seattle advertising agency for 13 years. A marketing writer at Boeing for 18 years, she created a wide variety of communication materials. She also authored In Plane View, The Jumbo Jet: Changing the World of Flight, and Houseboat: Reflections of North America’s Floating Homes.
Aging with Confidence
Photo Copyright © The Boeing Company. All rights reserved.
| 3rd Act magazine 33
Guiding seniors and their families to the resources they need ®
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3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
When is the Right Time to Consider a Move? There are signs that considering a move to a senior community may be a good idea: ¡ Is your loved one feeling
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with managing their needs and your own? Moving to a senior living community can improve a person’s well-being, both physically and emotionally. A move can be beneficial when care services or social activities are needed, or when managing dayto-day household chores become a challenge.
Many people put off discussing making a move to senior living until they are forced to due to an accident, severe cognitive decline, or multiple trips to the hospital. The need for housing in an emergency situation can severely limit your options. Moving before an emergency forces a move, gives you so many more choices. Your options aren’t limited to only those facilities with current vacancies. When you find a community you like, you can be added to their waitlist until they have an opening or you decide to move forward. Another advantage to making a move as a healthier person is that they can make the transition and integrate more easily, take part in social groups, enjoy activities and events, and improve their physical and mental condition. It may take multiple
conversations over the course of a few months to come to a decision. The important thing is to keep an open dialogue between all those involved about needs and preferences. Talking to a Housing & Care Advisor can help you get a clear understanding of all of the options. And, in the case of an emergency before a decision is made, you’ll have resources on hand. At CHOICE Advisory Services, we specialize in finding the right housing option for you or your loved ones. A CHOICE Housing & Care Advisor will take all aspects into account: care needs, social and location preferences, finances, etc. From touring with you and making sure all of your questions are answered, to following up after your move, you can count on CHOICE to be with you every step of the way.
Call CHOICE today at 1-800-361-0138 or email us at email@example.com
HELPING SENIORS AND THEIR FAMILIES FIND THE RESOURCES THEY NEED
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 35
Tilting the Scales on Sugar BY SHELLEY LAURELL
AFTER HALF A CENTURY of studying sugar and fat and their effects on heart disease, scientists still can’t carve anything in stone. Sadly, part of the reason comes from within their very own ranks. The role of sugar in heart disease was downplayed for years, and a new study shows how the sugar industry was cozying up to researchers to make dietary fat our biggest enemy. Last November, an article titled “Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association—Internal Medicine, revealing that sugar industry chiefs paid Harvard scientists to downplay the role of sugar on poor heart health. This dubious alliance began in 1967, exactly 50 years ago. The aging sugar industry needed to keep up demand for its product, so it paid scientists to hide certain harmful truths about sugar while highlighting the harmful effects of consuming fat. Through this simple revelation, it appears
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
that we may have been getting our information on sugar and fat filtered through the lens of 50 years’ worth of tainted science. Pretty unsettling, right? It’s hard not to ignore the fact that the bad information on nutrition and health came from the science world itself. No wonder we never seem to make progress in the debate between sugar and fat. To this day, it’s hard to know how much sugar or fat to eat. Even choosing a nutrition bar gets complicated! This new study involved many tedious hours spent poring over documents stored in libraries all around the country. It came about through the efforts of Cristin Kearns, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, and two of her colleagues who wanted to know how the sugar industry shaped the debate on fat. In her abstract, Kearns writes that as far back as the 1950s, scientists knew that consumption of sugar (sucrose) posed a risk for the early
warning signs of coronary heart disease. Through an organization called the Sugar Research Foundation, the sugar industry began a long-term campaign to downplay that information and instead to sway the blame over onto fat. How do you sway public opinion against one type of food, while promoting the other? You fund research projects—specifically, a decadeslong campaign of anti-fat research. Beginning in 1965, the sugar industry began sponsoring research into heart disease, according to Kearns’ article. Their first sponsored project was published in none other than the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most respected medical research journals in country. The “study” was a research review, and it claimed to find evidence that eating too much fat and cholesterol would lead to CHD. Of course, by then there were volumes of research supporting evidence that sucrose was also a risk factor, but the NEJM review downplayed that evidence. And so the story continued, well into the 1970s and beyond. Kearns’ team found evidence of a long-running attempt to paint sugar in a healthier
light while pointing fingers at fat as the real culprit when it came to heart disease. Meanwhile, America was getting older, eating more sugar, and putting heart health on the line. Does anybody remember those days back in the 1980s when fat was the diet demon of the day? We all felt the effects. Doctors, magazines, and health experts all proclaimed the evil of dietary fat. They said very little about what sugar does to the body. Meanwhile, many of us took the advice we’d been given. The fat-free products industry boomed with products like fat-free half-and-half, low-fat cheese, and even fat-free peanut butter. So what’s the answer? What can we learn from all this? Kearns weighs in on this in the conclusion to her study. She says that policymakers should give less weight to research that’s funded by the food industry. And that goes for the rest of us, too. Find out who is funding any new study you read, whether it’s about sugar, fat, dairy, or anything else on the menu—and think moderation, no matter what you eat.
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Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 37
Savor a Sunset, Create
“Savoring” is a wonderful, emerging branch of brain research. The term was coined a decade ago by Dr. Fred Bryant from Loyola University in Chicago, whose groundbreaking work led to a steady stream of solid studies that can inform us how to prolong and leverage the brain-healthy benefits of certain types of memories. Bryant offers this definition of savoring: the capacity to attend to the joys, pleasures, and other positive feelings BY ROGER ANUNSEN that we experience in our lives. “To attend,” as in pay attention! As in put down the iPhone! Or, as you might say to your dog … Sit! Stay! When was the last time you looked at When memories are savored, they will be stored and a sunset? That’s an easy-to-answer will remain wired in your brain for the rest of your life. question that would not generate much “Doses” of brain-healthy neurochemicals are expressed brain activity. But a slightly different and flow during a savored sunset as multiple memories are question will make your brain a smidgen permanently encoded in your brain. As you invest those leisurely yet focused moments, minutes, or even hours of healthier: When was the last time you your time, your brain’s neurochemical laboratory will be savored a sunset? Take some time delivering valuable compounds that cascade through your before you answer because we don’t brain and body. The glow from those sunset-triggered chemicals then linger in your system after the actual really “savor” every sunset, at least not experience ends through what is called the neurochemical as applied brain science defines it. cascade effect. Whenever you retrieve that stored memory, the same chemicals flow again! There’s even more evidence-based good news. Dr. Richard Davidson and his team at the University of Wisconsin looked at both how much emotion was involved in savoring something, and how long those emotions endure. Research revealed that protracted activation of a brain region called the ventral striatum is directly linked to sustaining positive emotions and reward. Davidson and team used the viewing of beautiful sunsets to identify this important part of your limbic system that is linked to sustaining the feelings and perhaps the benefits of the flow of positive neurochemicals being expressed. You generate those beneficial chemicals when you really focus on that sunset and when you linger.
a Healthier Brain
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
Fact: Savoring cannot be outsourced. But savoring can be learned, practiced, and even mastered. It’s a D.I.Y. investment that that will, it it’s done properly, pay dividends throughout your life. Martin Seligman, author of Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, advises that “practicing the technique of savoring intensifies and lengthens positive emotion. That makes for wonderful days and afterglows.” In one case, the afterglow has lasted since 2003. That year, as part of a clinical trial at Western Oregon University we savored a summer solstice with 15 wonderful mature minds. As the sun’s final direct rays disappeared, participants began looking back at me as if to ask “OK. Now what?” I smiled and said “What are you looking at? The sunset is that way.” For nearly an hour, we sat and savored the marvelous, oh-so-gradual color changes. That’s when I learned a new term that I added to my NeuroLexicon. Georgia pointed out a part of the sky and said, “That’s a perfect ‘Blue Sky Pink.’” “A perfect what?” I asked. She explained that her family would often stop whatever they were doing and “just sit” together to enjoy a sunset. As the evening sky’s palette gently colored the clouds, the kids would search and search until one of them saw that first swath of Blue Sky Pink. I suddenly realized as I looked up that Blue Sky Pink is like no other color. Since that moment, I have never savored a sunset without searching for a glimpse of Georgia’s Blue Sky Pink. Next time you stop your life to behold a sunset, wait for it, search for it. You’ll know it when you see it and your mind will react with a loud and clear “a-ha!” Final question: What is your favorite sunset of your entire life… so far? If you have more than one, please continue thinking until you narrow it down to that one, maybe with that one person. Do not rush your answer! Once you’ve got it, those golden memories are ready to be mined. The digging begins with the re-activation of your ventral striatum by focusing, really focusing on that single sunset. If you were in an imaging machine right now, we’d see your brain lighting up as it reconnects with those gold-plated moments you encoded years or decades ago. Or as Dr. Bryant offers, “Time is less likely to fly when one is aware that one is having fun, that is, when one is savoring.” Happy brain-healthy savoring! Roger Anunsen is a brain health educator and program consultant based in Portland, OR, where he teaches college gerontology courses including The Aging Mind. Roger has been working in the field of memory and aging since 2001 and is a co-founder of MINDRAMP Consulting that provides nationwide brain health events, staff training and educational courses.
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 39
BY PRISCILLA CHARLIE HINCKLEY
ook out the window. If it’s not raining— or even if it is—you’ll probably see a dog walker, a jogger, or a neighbor working in the garden. We hike, ski, swim, run, play basketball, or push grandchildren in strollers, and it’s all very Northwest. In the gym or the mountains, we like to be active, and we want to stay that way. Active lifestyles keep us healthy, but with age, we’re more at risk for osteoarthritis. That’s when the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in our joints deteriorates. Injuries, weight gain, repetitive stress motion, genetics, or malformations in our joints increase our risk. For some unclear reason, women are somewhat more at risk than men. As the cartilage continues to wear down, it becomes rough, and there’s more friction when the joint moves. Eventually, you can be left with bone rubbing on bone. Nancy Branom, a teacher, has a congenital problem with her hip joints. She had no problem as a college athlete, participating in baseball, swimming, and the high jump. As an adult, she and her husband are avid walkers and have traveled extensively, keeping very active and fit. Then, as Branom approached 60, she began to experience “a hiccup in the giddy-up.” There was very little pain, but her leg felt “frozen,” making walking difficult and climbing stairs even worse. Physical therapy didn’t help, and together, she and her surgeon decided on a hip replacement. Six weeks after surgery, Branom was walking again with no pain. That was three years ago, and this summer, she’ll have the other hip replaced. She’s looking forward to it. In the meantime, Branom developed arthritis in her right shoulder. The pain was a daily reality, and five months ago, she had a shoulder replacement. “I want to be able to garden, lift
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
W WHEN IT’S TIME weights, and do yoga,” she says. She’s had physical therapy twice a week since the surgery, and while her shoulder is feeling better, it’s not healing as quickly as her hip did. Branom doesn’t expect her shoulder to be the same as before arthritis. “Maybe I won’t do the same yoga moves or bike as much, or even stretch as much,” she says. On the other hand, she can still walk well without pain, and anticipates no similar problems with her second hip surgery. When joint pain becomes debilitating, it’s comforting to know that there are options. Surgeons can replace your knee, hip, shoulder, ankle, wrist, or elbow. Knee replacement is the most common; about twice as many Americans are living with knee replacements than hip replacements, the next most popular joint surgery. In the United States alone, there are over 600,000 knee replacement surgeries every year. The majority of patients do very well, regaining mobility and no longer suffering pain. However, surgery should never be the first step to relieve knee pain (or any other joint pain). Dr. Seth Leopold is an orthopaedic surgeon and a professor of orthopaedics and sports medicine at UW Medicine, as well as editorin-chief of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. (Orthopaedics is the spelling used at the UW.) He says a good physician should first look for nonsurgical approaches such as losing weight, modifying activities, using a knee brace, or walking with a cane. Physical therapy or injections in the knee may also help. If you’ve tried these options and pain is still limiting your quality of life, your doctor might ask if you’d like to consider knee replacement. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 42)
APPROXIMATELY 53,000 EACH YEAR IN US • Recovery: about 6 weeks to regain full shoulder movement
• Implants may last 15 to 20 years (less if lots of stress on shoulder)
APPROXIMATELY 3,000 PER YEAR IN US • Recovery: about 6 weeks before being able to push against anything or put weight on the arm; complete recovery of strength and motion may take up to a year
• Activities with high impact or chance of falling are not recommended after replacement
TOTAL WRIST REPLACEMENT • Recovery: about 3 months
• Limitations on lifting weight, activities that put stress on wrist, and activities with high risk of falling • Implants may last 10 to 15 years with careful use
OVER 300,000 EACH YEAR IN US • Recovery: about 3 weeks with walker or crutches, then 4 weeks with cane; no sporting activities for 4 more weeks
• High impact activities not recommended • Implants may last 15 to 20 years
OVER 600,000 EACH YEAR IN US • Recovery: about 3 to 4 weeks with walker or crutches, then 2 to 3 more weeks with cane
• High impact activities not recommended • Implants may last 15 to 20 years
HUNDREDS EACH YEAR IN US • Recovery: about 10 weeks, then up to a year to get back to normal activities
• High impact activities not recommended • Implants may last 10 years or more
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 41
Priscilla Charlie Hinckley has been a writer and producer in Seattle television and video for 35 years, with a primary interest in stories covering health and medicine, women’s and children’s issues, social justice, and education. She enjoys taking a light-hearted approach to serious topics.
Then there’s this: Results differ, and not all surgical patients get back to their former activities. Leopold says that about one in five may still have residual pain and functional limitations a year after surgery. Also, knee replacements last about 15 to 20 years, so depending on your age, there might be a second surgery in the future. Sallie Neillie, a health care professional, was a gymnast in college and a runner for 18 years. Besides the health benefits of fitness, she met her future wife when they became running buddies. Eventually, a college injury to her ACL and a later injury to her meniscus forced her to stop running. Rather than surgery, Neillie chose to stick with other treatment. Physical therapy helps strengthen her muscles to support her knee. She is diligent about her PT, saying that “you have to be disciplined and do your part.” She’s been able to replace running with walking, and she uses an elliptical machine five days a week. “It’s all about not pounding,” she says. Neillie adds that, someday, she may decide to have her knee
replaced, but for as long as she can, she’ll keep it under control with exercise and PT. If you decide that surgery is the right plan for you, Leopold advises that you choose a
We hike, ski, swim, run, play basketball, or push grandchildren in strollers, and it’s all very Northwest. In the gym or the mountains, we like to be active, and we want to stay that way. surgeon who combines a high level of surgical skill with a high regard for your well-being. Ask questions: What is the doctor’s experience with the procedure? Has she done a fellowship in replacement surgery? Is her practice limited to joint replacements? Be sure you feel a connection to your surgeon, too, because an empathetic doctor will make everything easier.
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3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
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Tai Chi, Anyone?
The Martial Arts are Booming in the Pacific Northwest BY GREG BEATTY
ACROSS THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, people are enjoying themselves by swinging swords, rolling across mats, and practicing the best way to gouge someone’s eyes. In other words, they’re studying the martial arts. How many Boomers are doing this, and why? Roughly 75 percent of the students at Seattle tai chi school Embrace the Moon are over 50. Some visiting masters from China are as old as 70 and are still explosively powerful. The Chinese art of tai chi is a natural choice for older adults: Studies have shown it improves balance, including in adults with neurological disorders. School founder Kim Ivy (who turns 60 this fall) mentions other benefits: Many of her students find tai chi mentally challenging in unexpected ways, and “learning Taiji is good for the brain as well as the thighs.” Though few expect to apply tai chi in a self-defense setting, practitioners find it broadly beneficial because tai chi emphasizes relaxation and aligning mind, body, and spirit. Spencer Anthony-Cahill, 56, chief instructor at Kulshan Aikikai in Bellingham, makes similar points about aikido’s appeal. This modern Japanese art is counterintuitive for many people, because aikido students practice martial arts as a way to “de-escalate conflict.” AnthonyCahill suggests that a practice emphasizing “self-realization” appeals to people with more experience, which may be why so many of his students (and fellow teachers) are over 50. However, aikido isn’t just about feeling good. Because aikido practices blending with attacks and taking falls, students fall less often and hurt themselves less when they do. In general, aikido students move through their lives more Aging with Confidence
effectively. Of course, the price of getting there is learning to fall. That usually means a few months of bumps and bruises while students are learning to get “round.” Even the more directly practical martial arts are drawing boomers. Greg Sluys, 59, founder of Longstryke martial arts in Bellingham, teaches practical self-defense skills drawn from World War II close-quarter combatants. Sluys says closequarter combat attracts students because of its practicality. It emphasizes learning gross motor skills people can apply under stress, which will be the case if they ever have to defend themselves. Realistic self-defense training starts by respecting who you are now, and what your body can do. No one will ask you to do high kicks if you can’t do them. Overall, the biggest attraction for a combatstyle martial art is knowing you are learning how to protect yourself from the kinds of attacks you’re most likely to experience in the real world. Sluys, who spent decades in Goju karate before starting his own school, says any martial arts school should fit who you are as a person and respect you as an individual. Because there is no overall licensing body governing martial arts instruction, students have to find a school with a good feel and principles that mesh with what they want to achieve. By visiting schools, talking with teachers and students, and researching online, you will find the martial arts that will best help you meet your goals.
Greg Beatty lives in Bellingham and writes everything from children’s books to essays on cooking disasters. When he’s not writing, he teaches college classes online, spends time with his wife, walks his dog, takes care of the grandkids, and yes, practices martial arts.
| 3rd Act magazine 43
MY THIRD ACT
PADDLE PILGRIM BY DAVE ELLINGSON
“Are you retired?” That question
was coming with annoying frequency. Did I look so old? Was it an invitation to a club I wasn’t ready to join? Was I simply in denial? If this were a multiple choice question for my college students, I suppose the correct answer would be d.) all the above. Perhaps I chafed at this query because, in the unit I taught on aging in my human development course, “retirement” was a social construct of the post WWII years which “scrap-heaped” (my words) older Americans in an attempt to make jobs available for GIs returning from the war. I knew from personal experience that my farmer grandfather never “retired.” He kept working productively into his 80s and extended his “coffee breaks” accordingly. The words of the poet Robert Frost capture my sentiment. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
It wasn’t until a sabbatical several years ago that I had the time and the solitude to ponder the question of my third act. I had decided to take my kayak for a journey down the Mississippi River. This adventure, which was part Huck Finn boyhood dream and part academic study of environmental issues, became a spiritual pilgrimage. Over 2,350 miles and two months I enjoyed the wildlife, history, music, culture, cuisine, and people along the river landscape. But equally important, I explored my own “interior landscape” and what my future might hold. Each day I took time to write reflections in my blog about how the river was becoming my teacher. Just before I reached the halfway mark near St. Louis, I wrote a letter to the river: Dear Miss, After nearly a month together I feel we have grown quite close. Each day as I begin my paddle you greet me and I discover something new about your personality. While I am only a beginner, you have been greeting others for thousands of years. You have become my teacher. I have learned many lessons. I have been humbled by your twists and www.3rdActMag.com
turns, eddies, sweepers and whirlpools, and exhilarated by your rapids, tail-winds, and strong flow after a rain. My sore hands, aching back, stiff knees, flagging frame, and frequently struggling spirit all remind me of my limits, my age, and my mortality. But that is good, because you teach with a clarity and truth that I need to hear and embrace. And while I may curse you with some regularity I praise you for the “wisdom” you invite me into each morning as I set out from your shores. Roll on, mighty waters! Your humble “Paddle Pilgrim” When I returned home my blog grew into a book, Paddle Pilgrim: An Adventure of Spirit and Learning Kayaking the Mississippi River, with many opportunities to share in pictures and stories my journey of discovery. And what was the discovery? It was the convergence of several great loves from the first two acts
of my life: the natural world, writing, and adventure. I have joyously embraced my new identity as the Paddle Pilgrim. To mark the official beginning of my third act, I recently paddled the Erie Canal and Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty, retracing the route my Norwegian relatives traveled in the mid-19th century. Next summer I will paddle and write about my ancestral fjords in Norway. My third act is the stirring confluence of the many streams of my life journey becoming a powerful river flowing toward the sea. Now when I am asked if I am retired, I respond without hesitation, “Let me tell you about my paddle pilgrimage.”
Opposite: Cass Lake Sunset In Minnesota, Photo: Jim Lewis. This page, clockwise from top left: Two million strokes down the Mississippi!, Photo: Brian Soergel; Welcomed by a squadron of Pelicans, Photo: Jim Lewis; River Cuisine – It’s all good!, Photo: Jim Lewis; Erie Canal Paddlers, Photo: Dave Ellingson
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 45
Not on the Bottom Line
Marketers Ignore Boomers, But People Over 50 Spend Big (and More Wisely) BY JULIE FANSELOW
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
Four million people will turn 50 this year, and they’ll instantly become invisible, joining more than 100 million other Americans who’ve already disappeared—at least to most companies that seek to sell us stuff.
$ome Way$ We $pend Our Money
Even though Americans over age 50 hold about 80 percent of U.S. household net worth, about 90 percent of all marketing targets people ages 18 to 49. Much of the remaining 10 percent actually directed toward us makes you think older Americans buy little more than prescription drugs, walk-in bathtubs, large-button cell phones, and emergency alert pendants. “Even worse than being ignored, of the stingy trickle of ad dollars allocated to targeting Boomers, much shows up in depictions that are clumsy, cringe-worthy and condescending,” writes Barry Robertson of the Boomer-Plus Consulting Group, which folds in the older members of Generation X (born in the late 1960s, and now turning 50) to create an even more powerful demographic bloc. One big reason for this oversight: Most ad agency employees are young, and they’re creating ads for people their age. It shouldn’t be a big news flash, but older Americans have a lot of money to spend, and people over 50 actually account for 60 percent of all retail sales. Just as interesting as what we buy is why we spend how we do. Here are a few characteristics that experts have noted about seniors’ immense spending power.
Boomers are big leisure travelers, taking an average of five trips for fun each year and spending an estimated $120 billion annually on getaways.
CARS People over 50 spend nearly $90 billion each year on cars. That’s 28 percent more than people under 50, and University of Michigan researchers found in 2013 that the peak age for new car purchases is now 55 to 64. Source: The Nielsen Company and BoomAgers
PETS Boomers lavish love on our animal companions, spending $32 billion on food, care, and supplies in 2015— close to half of all spending on pets that year. Source: PetBusinessProfessor.com
MOVIES Adults over 50 are more likely than younger people to go to the movies and go more often, too. We’re especially fond of indie “art house” films and appreciate the growth in smart, mature films made for and marketed to us. Source: AARP
VALUE – AND VALUES Everyone likes a good deal, but older Americans especially like to get good value for every dollar we spend, so we prefer
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 47
Older American$ have a lot of money to $pend, and people over 50 actually account for 60 percent of all retail sale$
quality items that will last. Eyeglasses are a good example: Although many younger people who wear single-vision glasses are buying cheap eyewear online, Boomers with more complex prescriptions happily turn to hands-on professionals who can outfit us in person with state-of-the-art progressive lenses in a stylish frame that helps us see well and look good. We’re also eager to have our spending reflect our values, whether that’s supporting favorite charities or companies whose political leanings mesh with our own. A 2015 study by Age Wave found that Boomers will donate about $6.6 trillion in cash and $1.4 trillion in volunteer services between now and 2035. That’s a healthy chunk of the estimated $15 trillion that people over 50 will inherit over the next few decades. NEW HOUSEHOLDS It’s not just millennials who are finally leaving their parents’ homes. Between downsizing, remarriages, and late-in-life divorces, people over 50 have a big appetite for buying everything we need to feather a new nest, from furniture to housewares. Meanwhile, people who plan to stay in their current homes are investing in upgrades to make those dwellings safe and comfortable. TECH-MINDED Although tech savvy is often identified with youthfulness, people over 50 are avid consumers of both old media (TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines) as well as new (social networks, streaming services, and apps). A study by Slice Intelligence actually found that men ages 65 and up spent close to a thousand bucks on Apple products in 2014, the most of any age group. After all, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were both born in 1955, and Boomers were present at the creation of modern technology.
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
NOTHING BEATS EXPERIENCES The occasional cool new gadget notwithstanding, many older Americans have little need or appetite for more stuff, so many of us spend our cash making memories. When we reach the point in our lives where we’re downsizing our possessions so our loved ones don’t have to sort through them, choosing travel or charitable giving over knickknacks or closets full of clothes makes sense. STILL REBELLIOUS For decades, some Boomers have led the way in questioning mindless consumerism, and many older people have reined in spending, either by choice or necessity. A study by JPMorgan Chase found that day-to-day spending among people 65 and older fell nearly 8 percent from 2014 to 2016. Millions of us are still living in the long shadow of the 2008 recession, which harmed many middle-income Boomers who’ve had to delay retirement plans. (In fact, a majority of Boomer households still have at least one person working.) Many people over 50 continue to help adult children who are stymied by student loan debt or other needs. But many of us are just spending less out of principle. Whidbey Island resident Vicki Robin, co-author of the landmark 1992 book Your Money or Your Life, is now in her 70s and continues to advocate for mindful attitudes toward money. “Enough is the quality of having everything you need and want but nothing in excess, nothing that burdens you,” she told The New York Times last November. That sounds like a financial goal to which we all can aspire. We can also insist that companies and marketing agencies not take us for granted. Millions of people are turning 50 every year, and older Americans are a growing, diverse demographic eager to learn about new brands and innovations—even as we’ve learned that money is only one way to measure happiness. Julie Fanselow is a Seattle-area writer who occasionally muses on money matters at surelyjoy.blogspot.com.
reflections on my climate change By Hollis Giammatteo
In trying to bring the enormity of climate change into focus, I look to the garden. It’s spring as I write this, as colorful and glorious a spring as I can remember, and while delighting in the specifics, I cannot bear in mind the looming threats of climate change. They feel abstract and huge, and although The Enormity portends catastrophe, it has no immediate impact on my today. Along with most people in the U.S., I do not doubt that climate change will harm us, but I cannot make it real. Yet while I cannot ask myself to rally, and help solve this issue, I can learn how to pay attention. I start by thinking back to my college days in Painesville, Ohio, some 50 years ago. Occasionally, a friend and I treated ourselves to dinner at the inn, and one time its waiter— ancient, long-faced, and solicitous—said in the saddest voice ever, “There is no perch. There are no more perch in Lake Erie.” How we laughed as he slipped from the dining room to fetch us warm buns and salads. Why, then, we wondered, were perch still on the menu? Lake Erie was declared dead in 1969, the result of billions of gallons of untreated industrial and agricultural wastes and human sewage dumped daily from Cleveland and Detroit and from 120 lesser cities. The lake was dying of suffocation. That same year brought the burning of the Cuyahoga River, and we would joke about that,
Aging with Confidence
too, albeit uneasily. Images of a burning river emptying into a sewage-choked lake provoked outrage, and the great advances of the early 1970s—the first Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts—were set in motion. I had begun, not yet quite to realize, but to observe that things in my industrial corner of Cleveland, Ohio, were slightly off. When does observation become realization? Even prior to my moments of the perch and of the burning river was The Steel. In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where my 1950s childhood unfolded, there was a silly-sounding thing called polyps which everyone shared. In all moist body parts, polyps democratically gathered. Emissions from Bethlehem Steel’s blast furnaces explained the polyp population, the ubiquity of plugged sinuses and hacking coughs. Black particulates, like miniscule shrapnel, advanced upon the laundry that hung outside on warm, spring days. But The Steel was god, and panacea. Our steel made the New York City skyline. It built Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Garden, the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, the Chrysler Building, the Waldorf Astoria, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Hoover Dam, the U.S. Congress’ Rayburn Building, and the Supreme Court. Bethlehem Steel was the second-largest steel producer in
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the country, and one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world. I am a child of steel. I was born in 1948, and I first traveled to Europe with my parents in 1955. My father, then the president of the International Welding Society, was helping to rebuild Europe along with engineers and scientists from many parts of the world. But on that trip, I encountered pollution for the first time. The towns in Belgium and Holland were treasured for cobblestone streets crisscrossed by canals, but they stank. Mattresses and garbage and the carcasses of fish and rodents floated on brackish water between ancient parapets. Warned of the stench, hotel guests were urged to book rooms not overlooking the canals. These impressions cast a slight pall over that first trip to Europe, so recently over the war, although barely over the devastation. The conditions—polyps and pollution—began to require a pause. Why were progress and profit the heroes of the story, and not the woundedness of nature? Could not consequence be factored into the narrative? Even the argument in defense of nature, posed today—that clean air and water are human rights—suggests our remove from nature. Would a deer consider access to the sparkling stream her right? When you have to instill right into the sentence, it is already too late. It suggests that we’ve taken ourselves out of nature in order to have a right to consume it. Looking back on my Bethlehem childhood, I’m curious, both about the resignation to polyps and pollution, but also about what was known. What quantity of particulates was released by the five blast furnaces across the river? Beyond the polyps, what impact did such air have on the dwellers in our valley?
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
“I am not inclined to march, to join, to rally. Though it feels that direct political action is acclaimed as the most powerfully effective way to engage with these issues, I require a jolt of a more personal nature.” The question that grabs my attention is one of when—when do the warnings that peek through the familiar leap out of the frame? And where am I in the picture? Seattle, a proudly green city, routinely incorporates climate change concerns in its discussions about growth management. Thirty-year projections of the changes to our climate posit torrential downpours as the new norm, along with subsequent flooding, landslides, hurricane-force winds, and increased avalanching. That rings a familiar bell, but an odd and differently alarming scenario is also projected: surges in population from climate change refugees who will relocate to our comparatively benign region. As the globe warms, the Pacific Northwest will be relatively protected from the scourges of extreme weather. Seattle’s infrastructure cannot even now catch up with the needs of our burgeoning population. How will the city prepare? The Earth’s warming is a scientific, data-driven phenomenon, and again, what does this have to do with me? I am not inclined to march, to join, to rally. Though it feels that direct political action is acclaimed as the most powerfully effective way to engage with these issues, I require a jolt of a
more personal nature. The giant golden spruce that did not request its meeting with the chain saw. The magisterial black-maned lion that did not ask to be shot with both crossbow and rifle before being skinned and beheaded. I am a complete pushover for innocence and beauty. Another very small example of this affinity: A few springs ago, I watched two baby squirrels navigate their entrance into the larger world of tree and sky. They were tiny and perfect, and completely open to the baffling All around them. But I also recognized the courage required to negotiate their way out of their nest high up in the hollow of a snag and down the stout trunk toward the relative safety of the branch below them. It took time and patience for the mother to teach them their claw work and clinging, and ease them toward the perilous descent, head first. One caught on faster than the other. The more timid baby darted in and out of the entry, and it took much maternal chatter to persuade the baby to stay outside and keep trying. I assumed that the lessons progressed accordingly, and that the collection of pests in my garden was happily augmented. Then in late summer, when plant life withered and crisped, I came across the flattened body of a baby squirrel. I remembered that early spring morning when the baby—tentative, exposed to the challenges of her climbing, leaping life—was given her first lesson. I assumed it to be that baby squirrel. Perhaps it wasn’t, but the wave of sadness that came over me when I discovered the small, desiccated body was disproportionate both to the size and the import of the creature. She had been, mere months ago, so willing in her innocence, and perfection and beauty, and this is how I connect
Aging with Confidence
with human-caused climate change: It is my sorrow at the loss of innocence and beauty. The notion to connect The Enormity with beauty first came to my attention through film. I found myself moved and mobilized by Jeff Orlowski’s Chasing Ice, a stunning documentary about James Balog’s multi-year photographic project, recording the melting of the great ice sheets and glaciers across the Arctic due to climate change. His is a beauty-forward approach, so to speak; a record of the catastrophic changes through images of harrowing beauty. Years are packed into seconds as ancient mountains crumble and melt. The images convince; we need no further polemic. I look to the garden again, and think of the arrival of migration species—the swallows, the grosbeaks, thrushes, among many more. When will the butterflies come? What have I put in the garden to attract them? Nothing that I know of. I reach for the catalog, recently come, and see buddleia—“‘Little Angel,’ Butterfly Bush and Pollinator attractor”—on page 74. Ah. The Enormity recedes in the vibrancy and variety within the catalog pages. The order is placed. A small step is taken. A practicing Buddhist for over 30 years, Hollis Giammatteo has sought experiences that challenge her practice, from teaching writing to working with the elderly. She co-founded, managed, and wrote plays for The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and for Rhode Island Feminist Theater. Hollis has published in a variety of magazines, and her memoir, The Shelf Life of Ashes, was published in 2016 by She Writes Press. Visit her website at hollisgiammatteo.com
Many local organizations are addressing climate change. Actions run the gamut from monitoring ecological projects to mounting protests. A brief list: • Seattleaquarium.org • Seattleaudubon.org • Washington Native Plant Society (wnps.org) • The Nature Conservancy (nature.org)
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“An older woman looks more interesting than a young girl, because a young girl is still trying to figure out who she is.” – Anna Martinsen
Dress for Delight Self-Expression Never Goes Out of Style BY SALLY FOX PHOTOS BY ERNIE SAPIRO
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
At this point in your life, you know who you are. (Hallelujah, right?) And since we’re all getting older, why not get a little bolder? That goes for many choices, but what better way to express our boldness than with our clothes? That’s how great personal style is born! Our younger selves often worried what others would think, but now we know that what we like is what really matters. We have the freedom to express ourselves, and say “Hey world, watch out, we’re here and we’re not hiding!” (Of course, if you prefer muted hues to bright colors, that’s OK, too.) The bottom line is that from Seattle to the San Juans, people are throwing out the rule book on “ageappropriate” dressing and creating styles that are uniquely their own. And being ourselves is a sign of generosity, since it gives other people permission to be themselves, too. It’s interesting that so many large stores tend to ignore the 50-plus woman, often using junior-size mannequins and fashion models who look like they’ve barely escaped puberty. But flying under the radar of the marketers and merchandisers might be a good thing. It gives us more freedom to enjoy ourselves on our terms. In her corporate days, Benita Horn had to toe the line wearing the buttoned-up suits, Peter Pan blouses, and little bow ties of the 1980s. “I dressed to make myself as invisible as possible,” she says. Today, at 70, she leads her own consulting firm, and she wears colorful tops, shawls, dresses, and jewelry that remind her of her African heritage. By expressing herself through her clothes, Benita sends a message of encouragement for cultural diversity in the workplace. Anna Martinsen, 74, a former image consultant and personal shopper at
Nordstrom, loved working with her older clients since (as she notes in the words opening this story) they were more secure in their sense of personal style. Still, when some clients came into their personal shopping sessions complaining about their hips, waist, or legs—or promising “to lose five pounds”—Anna helped them to see themselves as beautiful just as they were and learn to play off their best features. Does having style mean spending a lot of money? Not at all! Equipped with a few good-quality, base pieces, you can inexpensively customize your look by finding jewelry and accents that will add color, variety, or a bit of bling to your wardrobe. Plus, it’s fun to look for accessories at thrift stores, vintage shops, smaller boutiques, or even at big-store sales. Anna keeps many classic, timeless pieces in her wardrobe, knowing they become her and will never go out of fashion. She might start with a simple black tunic, add leggings, and finish the look with a striking (but not necessarily expensive) piece of jewelry to be comfortably elegant for a night at the opera or dinner with friends. Benita also keeps a backbone of neutral basics in her wardrobe, then indulges her love of textures, colors, and fabrics. Some days, she’ll throw open her closet doors and—borrowing an expression from a favorite friend—ask, “Who wants to come with me today?” Maybe it’s that big amber pendant from Kenya. Or a beaded necklace made by a member of the Maasai tribe. Benita knows the best clothes often come with a great story. “As we age, we can downplay what we’ve lost, and flaunt whatever’s good,” counsels Anna. Do you love high heels and enjoy wearing them? Have fun! Prefer more grounded comfort shoes? No problem. Wear a scarf for a bold splash of color around your neck, and no one will notice your shoes. Or add some bright red laces or multicolor socks to announce, “I’m going my way.” In the end, it’s not just about clothes, it’s about freedom. And fun. You’re the star of your own life, so act like it, and feel free to treat each day as a performance. Sally Fox is a coach, speaker, podcaster, and owner of Engaging Presence, a firm that helps individuals and organizations develop and share their best brand stories. She is currently working on a book about finding your creative work in the third act of life. Find her blog at engagingpresence. com and listen to her podcasts at 3rdActMagazine.com.
Aging with Confidence
Style at Any Age • Fit is everything. Alterations are your friend. • Sizes are deceptive. Try on everything. • Get a great haircut. • Don’t buy something saying, “I’m going to lose 5 pounds.” • Pay more for quality clothes you’ll be wearing for a long time. Think cost per use! • Remember, you’re your harshest critic. We all have assets we can maximize and enjoy!
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See the World (and Help It, Too) on a Volunteer Vacation BY DORI GILLAM
I’m in Zambia building houses with Habitat for finish the houses once the teams leave. Humanity. It’s 2009, my first Habitat build. The The real work? The human connections we rain is jackhammering on the tin roof of the make while tentatively trying to interact. We community house where our team waits for our offer a few poorly-pronounced words in the local daily instructions, which we won’t be able to hear language. We use makeshift hand gestures. We because of the noise. It’s day three of rain like we learn each other’s folksongs and teach village have never seen in Seattle—rain that invades the children to do the Hokey Pokey. There’s a lot of village wherever it wants, making laughter. new roads and ruts, drowning The take away? “I have worked corn patches, and soaking the on a team, touched different mud huts. It is impossible to work. cultures, learned new skills, and Before the rains came, we had made lifelong friends,” says Oralee finished the foundation and had Kramer. “On each build I see new started making adobe bricks from perspectives of community life, the rich red earth, drying them in family, work, and home.” I agree the sun. We felt great about our with Oralee. We could never progress. experience these things looking out Brady Wright, one of the a tour bus window or staying in a — Muhammad Ali volunteers, looks at the rain five-star hotel. outside and chats with Charles, Many people have enjoyed the local mason, about his frustration. “I don’t feel a couple of beach vacations, toured another I’m being very helpful,” Brady says. country, seen a few national monuments, and “You came!” Charles replies. It is astounding visited a theme park. If you work for a living, you to him that 17 people from the United States and probably see a vacation as a way to rejuvenate. If Canada are building a house in another country you are retired, it’s not even called a “vacation.” for a stranger. (Vacation from what? It’s simply a trip.) So unless The first-time volunteers worry we won’t finish you require spa-like peace, volunteering to help the house because of the rains. Our team leader, someone—or further a cause—while traveling is Jessie Strauss, stuns us by saying, “We’re not only a refreshingly addictive combination. When you here to build houses.” The veteran volunteers help someone while learning something new, you understand. She continues, “We’re here to build are energized. bridges, also.” Some of us wonder if she’s talking Jessie says, “On Habitat trips you see local life about actual bridges, since it’s been raining so as it really is. I find that more fascinating than much. touring museums. And people say to me, ‘It’s so Once our 10-day build was over, we were good of you to do this,’ as if it is a sacrifice. I never hooked. Jessie told us that in all the Habitat trips feel this is a sacrifice. It’s fun!” she has led around the world (now more than 40), Whether you count turtle eggs, bottle-feed only two were finished from bare dirt to roof. baby goats, maintain hiking trails, or teach We were there as cheap laborers to forward the English, you are building bridges that our official process. The homeowners and local contractors international ambassadors and diplomats can’t.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.
Dori Gillam speaks on aging well, aging in community, and planning for a good death. As a Seattle native, she has a bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and has worked for Sound Generations, AARP, and the Center for Creative Aging.
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
Brady was delighted another way in Zambia. The house we were building was owned by a woman named Justina. We had laid bricks about waist-high level on two sides of the house, and the job site was decorated with shovels, one work glove, buckets caked with dried mortar, and a couple of skinny, skittish chickens. Brady finished lunch with the rest of the team in the community house and walked back to the job site, where he noticed Justina sitting alone on the dusty concrete floor, her back leaning against one of the half-finished brick walls, eating her lunch. Brady paused, sensing he was interrupting something. “Hi Justina. Ah. Are you having your very first meal in your new house?” She smiled, nodded, and continued to eat. Brady had experienced new home ownership himself. However, in this village, where most houses are made of mud and sticks, a 400-square foot Habitat house is not just a house. It is a different world: dry and safe, with windows and a door that lock, and a shiny corrugated tin roof to shield against the sun and rain. Justina would not only have a new house; she’d have a home for her family—and some newly-energized friends who volunteered on their vacations.
Get Inspired Here are
some websites to explore for ideas on volunteer travel. • habitat.org • seedsoflearning.org • safepassage.org • workaway.info • wta.org • smilingattheworld.com • ecotours.com Volunteering Abroad Over 50 www.over50andoverseas.com A wonderful resource of international volunteering and travel opportunities for persons over 50 years of age.
Aging with Confidence
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We’ll Follow the Sun TIPS FOR SUMMER TRIPS TO SAVOR BY JULIE FANSELOW
Where will you be on the morning of Monday, Aug. 21? The total solar eclipse that day may be the best reason to plan a road trip over the next few months, but we have other ideas, too. HEAVENLY SIGHT
Julie Fanselow is a veteran travel journalist who lives just north of Seattle. The ninth edition of her book Idaho Off the Beaten Path came out in April.
The last total solar eclipse viewable from our region was in 1979. The next one won’t be until the 22nd century (though one will pass through Northern California in 2045). Viewing a total eclipse can be a once-in-a-lifetime event, which is why the one this summer is creating such a stir. The celestial phenomenon will sweep eastward across North America from the Oregon Coast to South Carolina. In Oregon, the eclipse will start about 9 a.m. and reach totality at 10:18 in the Willamette Valley and a few minutes later in Eastern Oregon. For about two minutes, as the moon fully shadows the sun, the center of our solar system will disappear except for a shimmering ring around its edge. Although all of the U.S. will experience a partial eclipse, millions of people want to travel into the 90-mile-wide path where the sun will be
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
totally obscured. Most hotel rooms and campsites along that swath have long since been reserved for the event. Some first-come, first-served camping will be available on public lands, but competition will be fierce and roadways will be clogged as day trippers jockey for good viewing spots. So now is the time to get in touch with family and friends along the route to arrange a visit. CANADA CELEBRATES Our region is blessed to have such easy access to Canada. Whenever news headlines from the other Washington get you down, it’s a snap to travel across the border to briefly bask in a kinder society. We have special cause to do so this summer as our neighbors to the north celebrate the 150th anniversary of when French and British colonies spanning North America joined in a confederation to create the Dominion of Canada. If you don’t get your fill of pyrotechnics on July 4, consider the Celebration of Light, which features fireworks over Vancouver’s English Bay on July 29, Aug. 2, and Aug. 5 plus the Shorefest music festival along Sunset Beach those same three days. Both events are free, although VIP seating is available at several venues. Fireworks are also a popular Saturday-night feature at the famous Butchart Gardens near Victoria, though you can enjoy a less-crowded visit on a weekday. About 60 percent of the population of www.3rdActMag.com
JazzAlley_1/3rdpg_v4.qxp_Layout 1 12/5/16 12:40 PM
Richmond hails from Asia, so the suburb just south of Vancouver is the perfect spot for Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s take on the huge street festivals that happen on the other Pacific Rim. (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Like traveling to Asia, minus the long flight,â&#x20AC;? one Seattleite wrote on TripAdvisor. com.) The Richmond Night Market takes place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through early October, with plenty of exotic food choices and entertainment. For more British Columbia travel ideas, see hellobc.com. DIAMOND DESTINATIONS The Seattle Mariners barely missed postseason play in 2016, andâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;despite plenty of injuriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scrappy squad may still be in contention for a playoff berth come late September. Even Aging with Confidence
if theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d appreciate hearing friendly fans in the stands for their last regular-season series, set Sept. 29-Oct.1 in Anaheim, California. Angel Stadium is the fourth-oldest active park in Major League Baseball, though it seems newer since it was renovated in the 1990s (by then-owner Disney) to become a baseball-focused venue. Although itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surrounded by parking lots, you can get to this ballpark by train: Amtrak and Metrolink trains run to the rail station less than a mile away, and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also bus service from nearby Downtown Disney. (Yes, Anaheimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous theme parks are just a few miles away, too.) If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re really True to the Blue, you might tack on the Marinersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; next-tolast series when the team meets the Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum Sept. 25-27. The Coliseum is a dump, but tickets and food are unusually cheap by big-league standards. Spend the night in the Bay Area after the Sep. 27 day game, then youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have a travel dayâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;just as the Mariners willâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;to get to Southern California for the final three-game set in Anaheim.
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ON THE TOWN
Hit the Road NORTHWEST SUMMER THEATER AND MUSIC JAUNTS BY MISHA BERSON
the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre) changes daily. You can see several different shows over a weekend, enjoy shopping at local boutiques, and visit the town’s fine eateries. (I’m a big fan of Larks Home Kitchen and the casual, creekside Greenleaf and Thai Pepper cafes.) Packaged bus trips to Ashland are available, if you don’t want to make the eight-hour drive south from Seattle. Lodging reservations are a must. Details: osfashland.org or call 800-219-8161. MORE OF THE BARD, IN BC
Thinking about taking some short getaways in the beauteous Northwest this summer? A quick trip of a day or more can be as refreshing and rewarding as a longer break. And adding a cultural element to your journey can be the frosting on the cake—or ice in the lemonade. Here are several suggestions for jaunts that combine the arts with eye-catching scenery. OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Misha Berson writes about the arts for The Seattle Times and many other publications, and is the author of four books, including Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination (Applause/Hal Leonard).
One of the region’s most popular cultural destinations is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. This charming Southern Oregon town is home to one of the largest and most respected drama companies in North America, offering an inviting 2017 season that runs through Oct. 29. The company was founded in 1935 to present the Bard of Avon’s plays. This year, it plans stagings of Julius Caesar (“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!”), The Merry Wives of Windsor (“Why then, the world’s my oyster”), plus Henry IV, Part I (“O, while you live, tell truth, and shame the Devil!”) and Part 2 (“We have heard the chimes at midnight”). But the festival, with its high standards of acting and production, has long since branched out to produce a variety of works. This summer features the romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love, based on the popular film, as well as Homer’s epic, The Odyssey. The Disney musical Beauty and the Beast will also get an airing, along with several new plays. Because OSF performs in repertory, the bill of fare at its three Ashland theater venues (including
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
For a closer option, head to Vancouver, BC, to visit another esteemed Shakespeare company, Bard on the Beach. Its productions unfold each summer in two peaked show tents perched in Vanier Park, high above Vancouver’s beautiful English Bay. The drive from Seattle is about three hours each way, or consider the daily Amtrak and bus services. Vanier Park itself is a treat, with a panoramic view of water and mountains, places to picnic, and an interesting museum devoted to Vancouver’s history. But the Shakespeare shows are also worth the trip for cogent interpretations of the classics and performances by some of Canada’s best thespians.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Allen Elizabethan Theatre. Featured is the set of OSF’s 2013 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.
MUSIC CONTINUES IN THE BARN Although the official Olympic Music Festival has moved to Port Townsend, world-class performers will continue to perform this summer at the festival’s original Quilcene barn venue. Free afternoon performances will be held there on five weekends beginning Aug 12. Hosted by Alan Iglitzin, who kicked off this annual chamber music event 33 years ago, the performers in the barn this season include many longtime friends of the festival returning to share their favorite music in this unique setting. Details at concertsinthebarn.org.
The repertory schedule this year (running through Sept. 23) sports the frolicsome comedies Much Ado About Nothing and Two Gentlemen of Verona. On a more serious note, The Merchant of Venice and The Winter’s Tale are on the schedule, too. There are special shows that include a barbeque dinner and a great seat to watch the city’s Celebration of Light fireworks festival, or enjoy a pre-show wine-tasting. Tickets: bardonthebeach. org or 604-737-0625.
Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend. Photo courtesy of Centrum Arts Center
PORT TOWNSEND BECKONS
Music lovers enjoy a visit to Port Townsend, where there’s a full calendar of festivals all summer long. Port Townsend is a two-to threehour drive from Seattle, depending on traffic and ferry schedules. The prestigious Olympic Music Festival (various dates through Sept. 10) recently moved from its longtime quarters in a Quilcene barn to the Centrum arts center in Port Townsend. However, its mission to bring classical ensemble works performed by respected veteran players and rising younger instrumentalists continues. Works by Vivaldi, Brahms, Bach, Schubert, and other chamber music masters will ring out at Aging with Confidence
the Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park. There’s a special program Aug. 27 for youths and their families—a great way to introduce a child to a grand musical tradition. If your taste leans more toward jazz, and you like the idea of sampling some of the sweetest sounds at small clubs in picturesque Port Townsend or at Centrum’s McCurdy Pavilion, consider the annual Centrum jazz fest (July 2729). Among the participants are flutist Hubert Laws, singer Dee Daniels, pianist George Cables, and other jazz luminaries. Get details on these and other summer arts events at centrum.org or call 360-385-3102 ext. 110.
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Turning Yearnings Into Memories BY JANE MEYERS-BOWEN
Jane Meyers-Bowen is the Marketing Director at Garden Court Retirement Community. For more information, contact her at 425-438-9080.
ucket lists! We all have one, and yours may have three items or 30 things that you want to do or experience before you move on from this life. But some dreams seem impossible. Have you ever yearned for an experience so long that you were ready to give up on ever seeing it happen? At the retirement community where I work, we realized last spring that seven residents who married during or just after World War II had never enjoyed the “white weddings” of their girlhood dreams. Either they’d married in a quick ceremony before their husbands reported for duty, or they’d had limited means and other priorities once their men were home. Decades later, these women had lost their husbands and they are now in their 80s or 90s. But their dreams were still alive—and last June, once we’d learned of their yearnings, we decided to help make those dreams come true. Wedding gowns were loaned by staff members and bridal stores. Special hair and make-up sessions contributed to the excitement. Finally, in the presence of their family and friends, each bride was escorted down the aisle to traditional music—and of course, photographers captured the moment. After the ceremony, everyone shared their joy at a reception, eating wedding cake and toasting to the love in their lives. It’s hard to explain what transpired, but everyone who watched these beautiful, beaming brides felt a little more hope and excitement about what the future would bring. That’s the power of finding a way to make the impossible happen. As we start to let go of large family homes, neighborhoods, relationships, and roles, we sometimes fear there is nothing left. But we are
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
actually on a threshold, and what can emerge is a self that is whole, strong and fully alive. Psychiatrist Carl Jung described how, as we move from a focus on family and career, we enter a phase of duty to our own soul. It is then we can attend to those bucket lists and start to live the unlived and become our fullest selves. In her book Thrive, Ariana Huffington writes of the second part of life as a time of “redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving” instead of the pursuit of money and power. William Martin, author of The Sage’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life, calls for a new model of aging. Rather than being “gray-haired teenagers” still pursuing the “illusory gusto of youth” or just growing older and waiting to die, we can find the courage to seek a deeper self. Role models for doing this are everywhere. Self-taught artist Anna Mary Robertson Moses didn’t start painting in earnest until her late 70s, which is why we know her by her nickname “Grandma Moses.” She was motivated not by fame, money, or power but by a desire to tell the story of a rural New York farm wife and celebrate the daily lives of farm communities close to her heart. What is your heart’s desire? Whether it’s honoring the love of your life, finding the artist within, or taking a stand, you have the opportunity to map out a larger life. With money and power no longer defining success, you can free yourself from competing with others and move to serving others, fighting for the good of all, or simply finding the perfection in imperfection. As our belated brides discovered, no matter what your dreams, it’s never too late to live happily ever after.
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 61
Stories That Matter From The People You Love
Lov i ng L eg ac y Vi deo See video samples and pricing at: LovingLegacyVideo.com, or call 206-679-8381 for more information. • Save yourself the time and frustration of trying to do it on your own • Dig deep into your life experiences through insightful and introspective interviews • Connect generations of your family members with a unique and tangible video legacy We guide and film autobiographical interviews in the comfort of your own home.
your stuff, they want your stories.
Your children don’t want
Body Expressions 1. Spine 2. Eye 3. Blood 4. Toe 5. Bone 6. Hair 7. Heart 8. Jaw 9. Mind 10. Mouth Borrowed from Arabic Note: The Arabic origin is in parentheses.) 1. Coffee (qahwa) 2. Zero (sifr) 3. Sherbet (sharba) 4. Cotton (qutn) 5. Assassin (hashashin) 6. Guitar (qiithaar) 7. Lemon (laymuun) 8. Mascara (maskhara) 9. Checkmate (shaah maat) 10. Admiral (al-‘amiir) 11. Giraffe (zaraafa) 12. Racket (raaha) Anagrams 1. Sepal, Pleas, Lapse, Peals, Leaps, Pales 2. Teals, Slate, Tales, Stale, Least, Steal 3. Warder, Redraw, Drawer, Warred, Reward 4. Tinsel, Inlets, Enlist, Listen, Silent 5. Padres, Spared, Rasped, Drapes, Spread, Parsed 6. Lusters, Results, Rustles 7. Rattles, Startle, Starlet 8. Pertains, Painters, Repaints, Pantries (Puzzles on page 64)
for your brain
Witness Tree: Seasons of Change with a Century-Old Oak BY LYNDA V. MAPES / Reviewed by Jo Shilling FOR SURVEYORS in the late 18th and 19th centuries, a “witness tree” was simply a natural survey post used to mark the corners of a piece of property. But such an evocative term morphed to mean a tree that had witnessed great events during and after the Civil War. In Lynda V. Mapes’ capable hands, a Witness Tree comes to mean so much more. Mapes, a Seattle Times environmental reporter, was offered a fellowship in forest research at the Harvard Forest in Massachusetts. As a route into her subject, she requested and was assigned a 100-year-old red oak growing from the corner of a stone fence. Its base is 10 feet around. Its crown spreads 83-and-a-half feet. “It was big. So big, I couldn’t see its top without dropping my head all the way back to my shoulders. It had no branches at all for the first forty feet, then flared to a wide crown that dominated its grove. It was a wild tree. If I wanted to climb it, I’d need professional help.” But climb it she did, as well as journal every phase of every season for a year. As we learn from her wonderful prose, the make-up of trees is remarkable. They need nothing more than sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to grow and reproduce. Yes, soil is necessary to root them to the ground, and the biosphere at a tree’s roots can be an important source of nutrients. But, she writes, “Trees are interstitial beings, connecting the atmospheric and terrestrial realms. They are rooted in the ground, but made from thin air, conjuring the sky, the atmosphere, and the sun to earthly form. For this alchemy they embody wonder; they are a transubstantiation that has amazed people for centuries. For really, who would think something so solid and long-standing as a tree could be made from the limpid, quicksilver ingredients of sun, water, and air?”
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
Shockingly, Mapes tells us, this species of tree is thriving due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, “…the last twenty years show one dominant characteristic: growth, the fastest ever recorded and faster than in any other species.” With over 600 species of oak, that is cause for some relief. But not much. When it comes to climate change, Mapes does not equivocate: “Climate change, the trees, streams, and puddles, and birds, bugs, and frogs, attest, is not a matter of opinion or belief. It is an observable fact. Leaves don’t lie; frost isn’t running for office, frogs don’t fund-raise, pollinators don’t put out press releases.” What we have is “the testimony of an unimpeachable witness: the natural world.” And there is loss. Mapes’ descriptions of Hemlock Hollow (also in the Harvard Forest) are some of the most moving in the book. Western hemlock are recently infested with hemlock wooly adelgid, native to East Asia, and hemlock mortality from these invaders can be 100 percent. Although the insect can be killed by deep cold, with warming winters it shows no signs of abating. “I tell the story of hemlock because it is important to know how forests are faring in our changing world is not one story, even in one forest. For now, red oaks are surging … but there is no way to know, for one, if their reign, too, will be cut down in the future by an invasive pest, a change in rainfall or temperature … We did none of this on purpose. But to feel nothing in the plight of some of mankind’s oldest companions on this earth doesn’t feel right either.” The forests and trees Mapes describes have been witness to what we have already done. We can hope they will remain to witness what we choose to do about it.
LIVING INTO DYING
Death Comes for Dinner BY ASHLEY T. BENEM
“Would you like wine with that?” What’s the recipe for a good dinner party? Well, in my family it’s one serving of good spicy Italian food, two-plus glasses of wine, a sprinkle of giggles, a side of random drama, a second helping of storytelling, and hugs slathered with kisses for dessert. Give or take a spilling of the beans, it’s bound to be a good time. For many of us, food is love and when it’s a gathering, laughter is always the guest of honor. But others get invited, too. Death shows up pretty often. Let’s face it: He’s often there as the “Plus One” guest. At many events, we find ourselves talking about who died, who’s sick or dying, who almost died … and then there are the slightly under-the-table, grateful-it-wasn’t-me stories. Here’s a game changer: What if you intentionally invited death to the dinner party? Not via mystery theater, or a full-blown murder, but as a conversation. Death, as it turns out, is a busy guy, so I get to come in his place all the time. I’ve led “Death for Dinner” events for women’s circles, men’s golf groups, gardening clubs, book clubs, friends, and family members. The group plans a dinner party and invites me to come to facilitate a conversation about death and dying during the meal. We chat and compare stories about what each person would want for their funeral arrangements. People dream up the kind of fantasy funeral they could create for themselves as we explore
Aging with Confidence
options. Maybe we’ll cover fears or concerns about extended hospital stays. We talk about advanced directives, living wills, medical interventions, and procedures. Ideally, everyone leaves with a written medical advanced directive at the end of the evening. In some cases, we create written death plans that cover all the detail that bring your unique personality into your dying and death. These can cover where you want to do your dying and how you want to die (including options of voluntarily stopping eating or drinking and death with dignity). We can sort through all the options of what to wear at the funeral. Do you want a casket, shroud, or a wicker basket to be buried in? There are more choices than you can imagine. An expert can help everyone navigate the choices and guide the conversation and questions. The best part of having a “Dinner with Death” is how it can be an informal, casual evening with folks with whom you already have a relationship. It makes the topic more approachable when there’s food, wine, and laughter. (Laughter definitely helps this dish go down.) Expect a smorgasbord heaped with feelings, laughter, assumptions, guesses, and even a few tears—all the ingredients for a memorable, meaningful dinner party. Ashley T. Benem is the founder of the non-profit A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery Service and the creator of the Art of Death Conference. She is an advocate for palliative and end-of-life care issues, empowering and supporting families to reclaim their right to die in congruence with their lives. Contact Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| 3rd Act magazine 63
GAMES for your brain Exercise your brain and have some fun with these puzzles designed to stimulate different cognitive functions.
Body Expressions (easy)
Fill in the blank space with the body part that completes the two-word adjectival phrase. 1. ______________________________________ -tingling
6. ______________________________________ -raising
2. _____________________________________ -opening
7. _____________________________________ -rending
3. _____________________________________ -curdling
8. ____________________________________ -dropping
4. _____________________________________ -tapping
9. _____________________________________ -boggling
5. _____________________________________ -crushing
10. _____________________________________ -watering
Borrowed from Arabic (harder)
Did you know that the English language has borrowed many words from Arabic, including apricot, crimson, hazard, jar, and tariff? In this game you’ll discover even more common English words that have their origins in Arabic. 1. Morning beverage.____________________________ 2. The only number that is neither positive nor negative.____________________________________
7. It’s a fruit … and a bad automobile. _______________________________________________ 8. Makeup for eyelashes.____________________________
3. A frozen dessert usually made of fruit or fruit juices _____________________________________________
9. This word puts an end to any chess game. _______________________________________________
4. This crop was the backbone of the pre-Civil War Southern economy____________________________
10. The highest rank that can be achieved in the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard.__________________________________
5. John Wilkes Booth or Lee Harvey Oswald, for example.__________________________________
11. The tallest of all land animals, it stands nearly 6 feet when it’s born.___________________________________
6. Musical instrument, typically with six strings, used in flamenco, folk, and rock music.________________
12. You can’t play tennis without one of these in your hand.___________________________________________
Anagrams (hardest) 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. Sepal (5) ________________________________________________________ 2. Teals (5) ________________________________________________________ 3. Warder (4) ______________________________________________________ 4. Tinsel (4) _______________________________________________________ 5. Padres (5) _______________________________________________________ 6. Lusters (2) ______________________________________________________ 7. Rattles (2) ______________________________________________________ 8. Pertains (3) _____________________________________________________
3rd Act magazine | summer 2017
ANSWERS ON PAGE 61 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 and her newest book, 417 More Games, Puzzles, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed 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.
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