Bette, Betty, Ruth and Me

Here I am days from a milestone birthday, and I find that my role models are a bit older than the ones I’ve chosen in decades past. Today’s trio have two things in common – they’re my age or older than I am and they have a tremendous amount of energy. (The Divine Miss M says she’s 70, but Wikipedia says not until December.) Here’s what I want – not their talent or their lifestyle or even their money – I want their energy! That’s my new goal – to try to keep up with any one of these three dynamos – or at least pack half as much into a day or a week or a month as they do.

If you didn’t already know that tiny women are dynamos, just watch these three in action. Dr. Ruth is in her 80’s. I recently heard her interviewed at a Teacher’s College event and the woman couldn’t hold still. She worked that room! She’s a bundle of energy and enthusiasm. She’s brilliant. She’s funny. She touched everyone in the audience. At 87, she shows no sign of slowing down for a minute. She’s still writing, she’s still lecturing, and she’s having a very good time.

Have you ever seen Betty White hold still? She’s 93. Between her TV show, her guest appearances and her work as an anima rights activist, she doesn’t have time to hold still. And Bette Midler? Didn’t hold still for a minute the other night.

Now, I don’t expect to keep up with any of these three all the time (in fact, I’m sure that there’s down time we just don’t see), but I’m determined to give it my best shot. These women stand out for me because they also are part of my small-and-exceptional women collection (more about that another time), but there are so many others! Every one of the women I interviewed for Fifty Over Fifty is out there up to incredible things. Some of them are so busy that I got tired just listening to what they are doing.

So, my Fifty, Sixty, and Seventy Sisters – here’s the plan:

Have an adventure every week. It can be a small one – try a new recipe or a new restaurant, tae a walk somewhere you’ve never been, take a day trip, go out with a group of friends to explore.

Keep moving. Take a walk, take an exercise class, try to keep up with a couple of kids, go swimming, jump rope, lift weights, ride a bike. Take the stairs.

Exercise your brain. Read, play games, solve puzzles, take a class, visit a museum.

Express gratitude. I’ve read that some very successful people think of at least one thing they’re grateful for before they get out of bed in the morning. What a nice way to set up the day! I keep a gratitude journal. A friend writes thank you letters to the Universe. I’m also noticing that happy-looking people tend to say thank you often. Oprah keeps a gratitude journal.

Eat well. Real food instead of junk. Vegetables. Fruit. Lots of water. Save the treats for special occasions. So many of my friends are eating better as they age. They have more energy, feel better, and the biggest drawback so far is that they keep needing new clothes. (Tragedy!)

Sleep longer. As a matter of course, I record anything after 9 Pm. Now, instead of fighting to stay awake, I can toddle off to bed and watch later. My next step will be a latch on my bedroom door to keep early-rising felines out.

Dream. A lot. Be delighted with what you have even as you stretch for new things.

As I look at this list, I realize it’s really about doing what you love and loving what you do – with full-out intensity. I can do that! And so can you.


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