Positive Aging According to Franny

One of the bonuses of spending time in Sun City (Palm Desert) has been the numerous 55+ activities on offer. During our previous visits here, I took full advantage of the regular yoga classes. This year, I drew a deep breath and added daily aerobics. Despite my initial fears, I instantly fell in love with this program. The instructors and participants have been exceptionally warm and inviting…as well as being VERY social!

Along with the daily sessions, I was able to join in on their Halloween Luncheon and October Birthday Celebrations. As you can see, these ladies (joined by a few brave men) know how to have fun!

Screen Shot 2018-11-07 at 8.27.07 PM

In these classes, I met fellow blogger, Susan Grace.  She is incredibly inspiring, as is her writing. I encourage you to check out her site here.

I knew that I wanted to write about this group, but wasn’t sure how I would approach it. Yesterday morning, I was chatting with other participants while waiting for our session to begin. One of the women, Franny, who I always admire for her energy and big smile, mentioned that she just had her 90th birthday. I often work out directly behind her and would never have guessed that! Seeing the look of disbelief on my face, Franny offered to share her secrets with me. “It’s quite simple,” she said.

1. Move every day. Find the kind of exercise that you enjoy. You don’t need to keep the same pace as everyone else. Just get out there and have fun!

2. Try not to stress over stuff. Sure, bad things happen. We can’t always control that. But we CAN control our attitudes – which brings me to #3.

3. Have a positive mindset. It makes all of the difference in the world!

So there they are. Three simple truths from Fanny. They make much sense to me. When I stopped to reflect on Franny’s words, I realized two things.

1. I would add a fourth truth, ‘Social Integration.’  Researchers repeatedly tell us that being an active part of a community (like Franny and her exercise-buddies) increases our longevity.

2. The people who I admire most (including my own mother) brilliantly model the above wisdom.

What about you? What are your thoughts on Franny’s secrets?

Positive Aging
Franny and Me

84 Replies to “Positive Aging According to Franny”

  1. You both look fantastic. There is a 92 year old woman in my walking crowd. You would never know it. She’s tall and walks briskly often walking with her aging son! Her hair is gray streaked but mostly a very dark brown and her face does not look like a prune. I would have pegged her at 70. She’s upbeat, social and active. Makes a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, my mother-in-law is 92 and still going strong. She has started to slow down this past year, but she moved into a retirement community and they take them to plays and concerts every week, on gambling trips to Mesquite, and she is the reining poker champion at the clubhouse! I believe her social network is what keeps her going and happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love her positivity and the fact that 90 isn’t the ancient old lady age that it used to be. We’re going to be rocking our 90’s too – and it’s lovely to have women like Franny paving the way for us xx

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Hi Donna,

    What a brilliant effort and I resonate with everything you wrote. You walk the talk and you’ve offered such wisdom and so have your commenters! Funny, I did not see wealth, mansions, Rolls Royces, private planes, silver and gold on the list, hee hee. We can truly make it simple because the best things in life are free — a smile, sense of humor, positive frame of mind, walking in fresh air, kindness. And speaking of kindness, thank you for the shout out. How sweet of you. Just last night I began to jot down notes for my next blog chapter and coincidentally, the themes run along the same lines of your latest effort, and I planned on mentioning you too! I will be talking about isolation and human connection which is line with your worthy addition of social interaction being important to health. What an inspiration you are and so prolific!

    This was probably mentioned but forgive me if I am redundant, but I would mention spirituality as being important to healthy living – the idea that we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. For those who don’t resonate with divine power, one can substitute Nature. Connecting with Nature and its magnificence is not only healing but gives us a sense of awe.

    Awe and spirituality keeps me humble. Shall I add humility ?!? 😉

    Loved the photos!

    With gratitude,
    Susan Grace
    http://www.swooninggrace.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Susan – It’s amazing what we can accomplish prior to leaving for aerobics at 7:30 a.m.I completely agree that connecting to ‘something bigger than ourselves’ tilts us toward the positive. Research agrees with this too.I look forward to reading your upcoming post. See you shortly….my running shoes are on!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Georgia – I agree about being active in whatever way works for us at the time. Pickleball, walking, chair yoga — putting ourselves out there and just MOVING is the key. It was wonderful meeting up with you this past week. You model Franny’s secrets perfectly. Enjoy your time in the desert!

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    1. Hi, Aimer – As I mentioned to Janet below, ‘social integration’ can simply be about regular interaction with others in your community (including very casual bonds). In her Ted Talk, ”The Strongest Predictor of How Long You’ll Live,” Susan Pinker (Canadian psychologist) gave powerful examples of the effects of social integration. If interested, you can check out a summary of her work here: https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_pinker_the_secret_to_living_longer_may_be_your_social_life.

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    1. Hi, Janet – Thank you for your kind words. I am not a natural athlete in any way (quite the opposite). I know all about needing to work on the moving thing. One secret that works for me, is to get up and go to a regular program (yoga, aerobics, gym, walking group…..) before my body realizes it’s awake. This reduces my ability to talk myself out of exercise (which my mind frequently wants to do)!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I like the pictures in you blogging community. That is social integration via social media. Now I want to visit all their sites, but I have to go to the farmers market where they are serving lunch, then come home to do my on line grade 7 book club for students in Ontario and then tutor my 7 year old student in Shangihi. I keep waiting for bad weather to catch up on blogging but so far no luck. Hope we can visit when you get back.

    How do you like your new platform? Looks good to me.
    Ann

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    1. Hi, Ann – I love your active, energetic lifestyle. To me, that’s positive living at its finest! Thank you for your kind words about my new site. I am loving the new platform. Good luck with your grading. I admire the care and attention that you are giving to each of your students. They are very lucky to have you!

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  5. As a retired nurse I have to agree with Franny about moving every day. I belong to a Walking for health group and we go on three mile walks followed by coffee cakes and a chat which satisfies 1 and 4. I also agree that you both look fantastic.

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  6. Donna – great post. I think the one ‘step’ that is toughest for me at this point is ‘social integration’. I’ve always been an extrovert and come alive in crowds — but I currently experience a visceral reaction to the idea of ‘joining’ a group that would involve any consistent expectation of engagement or rituals of any kind. My social interaction is more one on one – and I try to make sure I keep in touch with friends in that way to stay social. Perhaps my aversion will shift in the future but for now, I honor my need to not ‘join’. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

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    1. Hi, Janet – I wholeheartedly agree about honoring your inner voice. The definition that researchers have used for ‘social integration’ is “regular interaction with others, regardless of how strong or weak the bond.” This interaction can be as casual as chatting with the cashier at a local grocery store. I believe that this is great news for many different personality types…including extroverts who are taking a break! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Donna, this is so great and Franny is amazing. You are really enjoying your time in Sun City and being an active participant. I agree with Franny having a positive mindset helps everything fall into place. Her three points work in harmony because movement and exercise keeps our brains active and also lifts our mood which then helps with the positive mindset and in turn helps us to ‘not sweat the small stuff’. Your point about social integration is so important. My MIL is a great example as she has settled well into her aged care home and 18 months later has a wonderful social calendar and participates in many of the activities. She has made new friends and at 92 is the happiest she has ever been. Thank you for introducing us to another inspiring women. XX 🙂

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    1. Hi, Sue – You are absolutely right about Franny’s three points working together in complete harmony. I love your posts about your MIL. She is also a very inspiring woman! Thank you so much for sharing this — I always love what you have to say!

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  8. I like Franny, she’s got it going on. Move every day is a good idea, for old and young alike. The no stress idea is a winner. But the last idea is the one that I’ve noticed is the biggest boost to longevity among my elders. I suppose that it really comes down to being curious and having an open mind about change. Don’t get trapped in the past.

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    1. Hi, Ally – I wholeheartedly agree. Franny’s totally got it going on! I like your expansions of being curious, having an open-mind about change, and not getting stuck in the past. Fanny and I actually discussed your last point and she emphasized how important that has been to her.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree with those tips – my PT says “motion is lotion.” It seems we are aging better than the previous generations. We have learned to eat better, keep active, and try to keep stress at bay. I took an 81 year old hiking, she was as fit as most of my 60 year old friends. Also, I have to say my hikers and my water aerobic friends have become an important part of my life. I firmly believe that social integration will help us keep the positive mindset.

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  10. Hi Donna! It sounds like you have been finding lots of things to do to keep yourself healthy and active while here in the desert. And you’ve also tapped into one of the big benefits we have here—hanging out with lots of women and men who can serve as excellent role models for us to age well and positive. I completely agree with Franny and her tips–especially the part about making sure it is fun. ~Kathy

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  11. This is just the sort of person I want to be at that age Donna! What great wisdom and inspiration you have succinctly offered us. I love it! I would also add a smile which I note has already been suggested. Lovely of you to share this with us 🙂

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  12. I wholeheartedly agree with what Franny told you, especially #2 and #3. Having a positive outlook on life produces good vibes that can often rub off on those around us (providing they want them). I’d also say to smile and laugh a lot, especially to/with other people.
    Looks like you have great fun with the group, Donna. Life is all about living and enjoying every moment.

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  13. I am a great believer in positivity. We can’t change everything in the world; but surely we can make some difference with the way we look at the world. Nice post. Franny’s secrets are inspiring.
    — bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

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  14. Wow, Franny does not look 90 at all. And I really agree with her about the kind of exercise one does. It’s all about moving, just keep moving. My wife stresses as we arrive to the gym each time because she’s never sure which machine she’s going to use. I always tell her not to worry about it, just keep moving. I’m going to call this “Franny’s Law” from now on. 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Donna – she has to be right … she does look amazing. I like her points … and I’d endorse yours too … I go to lots of talks etc and keep myself occupied so my brain is stimulated … the classes look to be like so much fun – cheers Hilary

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  16. Well, if Franny isn’t an inspiration I don’t know what is! I know some elderly men and women (say, over 80) and their abilities in mind body and spirit help me realise the value of honouring one’s life. It’s the only one we’ve got after all 🙂 Thanks Donna!

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  17. One of my older friends told me once that he was still alive because he laughed about something every day – so I agree with Jill Weatherholt who added this as another key to positive aging. And Susan Grace’s comment about spirituality if right on. Another thing I would advise is getting adequate rest – and that also means down time other than sleeping. I’m newly retired and working on the concept of allowing myself to have time to I sit and read or stop and look out the window – a bit of daydreaming is good for the soul.

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      1. Hi, Molly – It was a chance comment that I made to Susan in class that led us to discuss blogging. I had chatted with many others in the group before but had mentioned blogging. It’s cool how all of this happens!

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    1. Hi, LuAnn – Thanks for stopping by. I also love the extra tips that others left in the comments. I was very impressed that nobody mentioned ‘genetics’ or ‘not being in the wrong place at the wrong time’. That kept a very positive focus on how we can choose to live our life most fully regardless of our final number.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks so much for sharing such an inspiring role model! And I agree with your points as well as some of the builds from others. My challenge continues to be movement EVERY day. Some days the couch just feels so comfortable and the world of bloggers so interesting…and the day just passes me by. Oh well, tomorrow is another day. See… positive mindset. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

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    1. Thanks, Pat – Fanny is a wonderfully inspiring role-model. When I saw her at Aerobics Class today, I showed her this post on my phone. With a twinkle in her eye she said “I shared my wisdom…I’m now famous…When do I get paid?” I absolutely adore this woman!
      BTW – I find the secret to daily exercise is to go to a scheduled class first thing in the morning before my mind has a chance to talk my body out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. There is nothing like having a regularly scheduled exercise class to make sure that I actually get out there and do it. For me, right now, that is yoga twice a week at two different studios, and our dog walking group. The bonus is that I have met some really nice people and joined some friendship circles via attending exercise classes. Exercise with social integration as a bonus!

    Jude

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  20. Loved this Donna and Re-Blogged with this comment –
    This post from Donna at ‘Retirement Reflections’ is just wonderful, I had to share it. Look at the last photograph of Donna with Franny and I’m sure it’ll make you smile as it did me – Here’s to Franny’s 3 secrets!

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      1. Hi, Sam – I think that the original reblog went through (I received notification from WP of the reblog). When I clicked on the link to “view reblog” I also noticed that the link was broken. I believe that broken links can happen for a variety of reasons and are not necessarily caused by anything done by us. If you are willing to try to press reblog again, then I can let you know what happens on this end. If that link doesn’t work either I am happy to chat with the Happiness Engineers and see if they can guide us further. Thanks again for this. Made my day!

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  21. Franny has some sage advice and she has lived it! Stan Lee passed away at age 95, a creative, active and prolific writer…a testament that age is only a number and if we continue to engage our brains and bodies, perhaps by our 9th decade we can also dole out advice for being well! How inspiring for you, Donna, to hang out with this group!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. It looks like a fun, energetic group, Donna. I’m glad you found them. And Franny is amazing. Her tips are spot-on, as is the one you added. This class seems to combine them all, so bonus! I love Franny’s advice to move at your own pace everyday and not to be worried about keeping up with others. If I thought I had to run fast, I wouldn’t run at all. If I thought I could never modify an exercise at Orangetheory, I would have dropped out long ago. And, of course, being positive not only helps you live longer, it makes those years more enjoyable. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us!

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    1. Hi, Christie – Thank you so much for stopping by. Your comment about the ‘inhibitive fear of needing to keep up with others’ is so true. I believe that is what held me back from fully participating in many sports and physical activities in the past (my excuse and I’m sticking with it). Finally letting go, and refusing to compare myself to others, is incredibly liberating!

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  23. So glad I found your little corner of the internet! I retired about a year ago, and have been blogging since January. I have met some incredible people through blogging!
    The advice from Franny is perfect – move, don’t stress, be positive. It’s how I try to live my life.

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  24. I reckon Franny is right. We lost my Nan when she was 94 but up until a couple of months before she died (she passed weeks after a diagnosis of lung cancer) she was dancing in gold stilettos ‘Hello darlings, I’m here – the party can start!’ An attitude to live by.

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  25. I’m late to this party, but I just wanted to add my 2-cents worth (now there’s an old expression!).

    Great photo of you and Franny. I think both of you are poster girls for positive aging. Being active, having a positive attitude, and staying engaged can never be overestimated!! Through those 3 things, all other attitudes and opportunities flow.

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  26. Hi, Joanne – Thanks for your timely comment. When I was in Palm Desert, it was super easy for me to find exercise classes just right for me, at a perfect time in the day. Now that I am back home, it is much more of a struggle for me to find replacement classes….especially ones that are not at extremely inconvenient times, e.g., 7:30 pm when I am already (shamefully) in my PJs. My fitness level increased noticeably during my 6-weeks in Palm Desert (daily aerobics can do that to you), so I am determined to find a similar routine here.

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