At her 80th birthday celebration last year, everyone who attended had an “Edee story.” The kind of story that brought a smile, a chuckle, or belly laugh at the retelling. My friends and I have had the privilege of knowing Edee for over 25 years and traveling to over 20 world-wide destinations…from Paris to Prague…with her. We jotted down the “80 reasons we love Edee” for her 80th birthday gift. The truth is we could have come up with 180 reasons!
Here are just a few of the reasons:
- In her late 70s, she traveled to France to go truffle hunting with a guide and a pig.
- She makes things happen; a impromptu party, a special tour, a unique flower arrangement, or a special bottle of wine will happen when she is around.
- She is loving, caring, wise mentor to us.
- She always sees the best in every situation.
- She never failed to tell us when we were wearing the wrong lipstick color.
- She has shown us how to do 60, 65, 70, 75 and now 80 with joy and elegance.
So, while she was recuperating from a total knee replacement and before a trip to Italy,
I asked Edee how she manages to stay so vibrant. Her response? “I stay active, engaged, and adventurous because I have a severe case of FOMO…fear of missing out!” Travel and adventure expands her horizons, and “makes me more interesting!” She advises all of her friends to not slow down, “nature does that to us anyway, so stay determined and disciplined.” She adds, “be determined to age well, which is different from aging.” And, does she ever walk the talk!
Shortly after knee replacement surgery, she has continued with physical therapy exercises three times a week and can’t wait to get back in the pool for water aerobics, which she does five days a week in the summer. She also practices yoga and works with a personal trainer. She likes to walk around her Washington DC neighborhood and at the Delaware beach. “Parking is expensive, so I like to walk. When I walk to shops, I buy less so I have less to carry home, so it is a triple benefit…no parking fees, less buying, and getting exercise!”
New challenges and new rules
Edee lost her husband several years ago and widowhood brought new challenges and imposed new rules. She organizes the neighbors in her condo for informal “Sunday Suppers” and helps the single men and women in her circle learn to take good care of themselves. “I help my friends by showing them how to look ahead, cook ahead, and plan ahead. Instead of looking behind at the past, we look at life now and take proactive steps to eat well and get regular exercise.”
Make a plan to stay connected to loved ones
With two children and three grandchildren who live in different states, she keeps up with her children with email and regularly scheduled weekly phone calls, in addition to frequent visits. With the grandchildren, it is different. “I’ve learned to text with them to catch them on the run.!” She also schedules regular calls with friends so as not to lose touch with them.
Embrace your community
She is an active community volunteer and strongly encourages those who can, give back. “I’ve been given much in my life and I want to share my bounty.” She suggests picking a charity and supporting it any way you can: financially or with your time. Her favorite organization is So Others Might Eat (or SOME), an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the more than 8,000 men, women, and children who are homeless in the nation’s capital.
Be aware, be alert, and be active
I titled this post, “Be aware, be alert, and be active.” That is Edee’s recipe for healthy aging:
- be aware of your diet and the food choices you make every day,
- be alert to the challenges of aging, such as increased risk for falls,
- be active for at least 30 minutes every day….and get outside!”
That is definitely a recipe for healthy aging!
“The trick is to live a long time without growing old!!” Edith (Edee) Howard Hogan