She’s who I want to be when I grow up.
One of the common refrains I hear, sometimes explicitly but more often inferred from the way people ask me questions, is being “too old”.
It’s not my favorite thing to hear, as I’ve written before.
If you feel you’re “too old”, I’d like to introduce you to someone.
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Lessons with age
Engaging with Aging is a blog authored by 99-year-old Doris Carnevali. She sets an inspirational example of three important lessons for us all: It’s never too late. We all have something to share. Never stop learning. She’s the 99-year-old I aspire to be.
Engaging with Aging
She’s a retired nursing school teacher who recently turned 99 years old.
About a year and a half ago, she was profiled on a local television station.
Spend some time on her blog, and you’ll find her chronicling the challenges and changes that come with aging. If you’re expecting complaints, you’ll be disappointed.
Sure, there are times when I’m down and the 14th thing I drop in a day makes me frustrated as all get out. But on the whole, it is so much more exciting than I ever thought it was going to be. Boring? No.
Doris is an inspiration.
Lesson #1: It’s never too late
I had been ranting about the fact that I thought aging had gotten a rotten deal and it was much more pleasant, more exciting and more challenging than I had been led to believe in books and experience too.
A University of Washington dean encouraged her to capture her thoughts online.
So she started a blog.
At the young age of 95.
It’s almost literally true: it’s never too late. The old entrepreneur’s adage holds: the best time to start something is 10 years ago. The second best time is now.
Lesson #2: We all have something to share
Her nursing background gives Doris an excellent perspective on what it means to grow older. Her journey is both uniquely hers and something of incredible value to others who follow. Simply sharing her experiences and her approach to aging becomes a resource for many.
She’s even coined her own acronym: ARC, for “age-related changes”1. It’s a touchstone concept that she references often.
As valuable as her experience is, her attitude adds even more.
My hands don’t pick up things the way I used to. Do I say I’m losing my hands? No, I’m changing how I use them. And that way I don’t get down in the dumps.
There are many ARCs at 99, as you can imagine. Her approach to each is both informative and inspirational.
Lesson #3: Never stop learning
It’s more than just learning to blog at 95. It’s more than dealing with the changes in your own capabilities.
It’s about always seeing the world as an opportunity for growth.
I’m still growing, I’m green!
Not only do I feel that way, but I hope to never not feel that way.
We all still have a lot of growing left in us.
What about you?
I am honored to count among my readers several who are at or near Ms. Carnevali’s age.
Regardless of your age, I hope that by hearing her story, you’ll see that age, in and of itself, need not be a deterrent to staying active and engaged with the world. Accept and accommodate the ARCs in your life as you go along. Let others in. Contribute where and how you can.
It’s never too late.
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Footnotes & References
1: At least I think she coined it.