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Positively Ninety

Created date

August 23rd, 2011

Gert Pinkney, who lives at Fox Run, an Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich., told author Connie Springer her mantra is Nothing can stop me! She then added I m never depressed I don t have time! Pinkney is one of 28 nonagenarians interviewed by Springer for her book Positively Ninety, a lively look at people in their tenth decade. Pinkney s upbeat outlook seems to be shared by Springer s other interviewees, prompting the title of the book. This is not to say the subjects are all Pollyanna-think-alikes. They are strongly individualistic, a trait noted by geropsychologist Suzanne Norman in the book s foreword. I am fascinated by the fact that, as a group, 3-year-olds are far more homogeneous than are 90-year olds, she writes. Which really means, when a university president, a social activist, a minister, a nurse all reach their 90s, their interests and activities can be as different as when they were in their 50s. Austin Sprang, for instance, is perpetually active with fix-it projects and has recently renewed his driver s license for the number of years it will take him to reach 100. Florence Heater Wesley has started a Scrabble group in her retirement community while keeping up with her duplicate and regular bridge groups. Exercise is an across-the-board habit with these vital people.

Traits for success

Positively Ninetyincludes a list of 20 personality traits contributing to the success of these long lives. Flexibility comes first, described as being willing to adapt to new situations. Next is a sense of humor, then living simply, taking one day at a time, and one that caught my attention never turning down an invitation. Other traits on the list include relating to younger people, being interested in what s going on around you, never quitting learning, and generally remaining optimistic and involved. Moderation is a core element, particularly in regard to food. Springer s own mother s later years were marked by steady decline, and she wondered if that must be the story for us all. A friend suggested she write an article on an amazingly energetic 90-year-old, and from that initial interview the idea for the book emerged. Positively Ninety is a life-affirming read for anyone whose 90s may be coming up soon or perhaps are already here. You can find the book