Over 90 and Loving it!

I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be happy. Full of cheer and joie de vivre. In fact, I’m going to let my smile be my umbrella! And between you and me, I’m feeling the joyful bug at this very moment. Anyone up for tap dancing?

Now, let me make it clear, I’m no Pollyanna. You won’t find me playing the Glad Game after my brand new car’s been hit at a four-way stop or while being anesthetized for oral surgery. Still, there’s something to be said for looking on the bright side of things and having a positive outlook. It’s what got me through my divorce and the loss of both my parents. Just one of these misfortunes would be grounds for a depression registering an 8.1 on the Richter Scale, but for me they happened all at once. It was enough to drive me off the deep end into utter devastation. But in the end, optimism and joy prevailed. That and the fact that time really does heal all wounds.


American Folk Hero, Pete Seeger, finds bliss in his music.


Turns out being happy can lead to a long and productive life. I know this because I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of filmmaker Susan Polis Schutz’ latest documentary, “Over 90 and Loving It!” This is Susan’s fourth film for public television. Her first, the acclaimed “Anyone and Everyone,” poignantly conveys the story of parents from diverse walks of life as they learn of their children’s sexual orientations.

As you can deduce from the title of Susan’s upcoming documentary, it’s all about some amazing people who’ve reached their nineties and how they’re living their life to the max. It is indeed, as someone else who watched it said, “a celebration of life and hope.”

Certainly made me feel a whole lot better about the aging process. I mean, you should see what this 90-plus set is up to. They’re still working—whether driving a taxicab in New York, or waking up at the crack of dawn to bake cinnamon rolls for Cinnabon. They’re performing, playing duets on the piano—magnificently I might add—or writing songs and strumming their guitar with their grandson, a la Pete Seeger (yes, that is famed folk singer and songwriter, Pete Seeger, in one of the segments). They’re also busy heading back to college for their Master’s and giving back to their community in a big way—by organizing massive donation parties for neighbors in need.

They’re passionate about life, and smart and funny to boot. They are definitely not thinking of retirement. At least not anytime soon. They’re not even looking to move into a senior living home or waiting around for their golden years to begin. Why should they? They’re having the time of their lives!

Now I can spend hours and hours reading thousands of self-help books to learn all about happiness and why it’s important to my well-being and to leading a long, fulfilling life. But why bother? Susan’s new documentary says it all in one hour. Joyfully and succinctly. Ah, sweet bliss.

Yes, these young whippersnappers are embracing their age. And all I can say is, if this is what being 90 looks like, then sign me up. So how about it? How do you feel about growing up to be 90 plus?

4 thoughts on “Over 90 and Loving it!

  1. Pingback: 2010 in Review–Wow! « Monica's Tangled Web

  2. I was fortunate to view the film with Monica and we asked Susan about the health issue because we all seem to have older relatives or friends who are miserable in their 80’s and 90’s and mostly because of poor health. Susan said that a few of them did have health issues but they didn’t want to dwell on them. That they had found a way to push through the pain or discomfort to keep living as full a life as possible. It was one of the messages that really hit home with me and inspired me. So I suppose you can say, in their cases, attitude overrides their aches and pains. 🙂

  3. Health indeed is a key measure of happiness at any age, 90 included. If you have significant health problems, no matter how old you are, well that definitely impacts your level of happiness. The people depicted in this documentary are all over 90 and pretty much their health is intact. For me, I’m hoping I can reach that age and have my health too. As my cousin, Carmen, who is in her 70’s says, “It sure beats the alternative.”

  4. If I make it to 80, it’ll be a milestone. My mother-in-law is 92 and she’s not a bit happy. She wants to die, she’s old. Her sister is 94 or 95, just as miserable. My friend had a grandmother who was 96, did nothing but complain about being old and wanting to die. Finally, she did. And the family is relieved.

    It’s a nice thought, but you have to be there. I’m not sure I want to be 90. I’ll try to enjoy my 70’s and if I make past 80, we’ll see what my health is like.

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