Friday, October 22, 2010

Full Moon Variety Show: Living Long, Long Silver Hair, Singing Out at 90

What makes people live to be 100? According to this wonderful commentary by Dan Buettner on TED, there are some valuable lessons to learn about longevity. Buettner is a National Geographic writer and explorer who studied long-lived peoples in Sardinia and Okinawa. The link to his 21-minute talk is below. Some of the important elements he discovered are: not exercising on purpose necessarily, but living a life full of ongoing enjoyable movement and exercise. Most of the long-lived elders he studied continue to do physical work. Social equity--living in close connection with others. Those elders are fortunate to live in cultures that admire and respect their age. They enjoy full participation in the life of their community. Their lives are relaxed and free of stress. They do not overeat. They participate in spiritual practice and religion. They are motivated by "the thing that makes you want to get up in the morning" as they say among the elders in Okinawa. Great talk. Worth the time. I mused about the importance of movement, inspiration, pleasure and social connection as I watched it. My lifestyle contains many of these elements, but I am always ready to pour in more enjoyment, relaxation, meaning and social connection.

I read a great article on older women with long gray/silver hair in the New York Times yesterday. It was written by Dominique Browning whose blog Slow Love Life I enjoy reading. Browning likes her hair long and wonders why there is such a reaction to long hair among older women. This morning, there were 351 comments on the article. Some readers remembered their mothers or grandmother's long, long hair. Others talked about how they love having long hair themselves as older women. And some spoke of how completely awful it is for older women to have long hair. In the comments, there was much talk of the power of hair, its sensuality, being oneself, etc. I enjoyed the conversation that ensued, but gave up reading the comments after about #80 or so.

Someone posted this marvelous film clip on FB. In it, 90 year old tenor Angelo Laforese provides sonic evidence of the richness and power of his voice. A testimony to the beauty of creative aging, to its opportunities.

In the variety show of my ordinary life, I find myself in the wash of the Full Moon energies today. I'm glad my dear friend Frannie is coming over for dinner tonight. I'm contemplating what to cook with the help of my Sicilian Home Cooking book.

Friday--full moon day--the day awaits with all its openness. Of course, there's the ongoing creative work. I think I'm nearly done with my new song "Death is Just around the Corner" and I've already started to imagine how to develop the next song. Then I wonder, should I go swimming at the Y? Take a walk in Lithia Park where the gold and red trees are still in magnificent color? The library is closed today, so I have to wait until tomorrow to pick up my reserved copy of Florida Scott-Maxwell's memoir The Measure of My Days. I am really looking forward to reading that. What is inspiring your life right now?


  1. I also enjoyed that article on long, gray hair. It has become more common where I live and when we see each other, we often smile, like a sisterhood of long gray hair. To wear my hair the length I do and dye it would seem like I can't admit my age. But to wear it and have it be natural, that's then just a choice.

    When I was in my early twenties, I had my hair trimmed by a stylist who told me no woman over 30 should wear her hair long as it was unflattering. I didn't pay any attention and have had it longer and shorter through the years, but I like it long now. I like being able to pin it up with a few twists and one pin when I need it out of my way. I like the feel of long hair on my back; but if I didn't, I'd wear it short because I don't care what's most flattering. It's what suits me

  2. Now (Sunday) there are 1,256 comments on that NYT article. Seems that hair length is an issue that has huge meaning for a lot of women. I guess it does for me, too. I simply cannot imagine cutting off my long, gray hair!