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Posts Tagged ‘TED’

The conference call converged via my iPhone this weekend. Three siblings in three different states all talking at once or in turn, about their lives, their loves, and even their memories. Because I happened to grow up an “only child,” I treasure these calls.

Dr Jim, my psychologist brother, told me to look up a fellow Minnesotan on a TED talk, and so I did. Kay had been reading a book about dying and the health industry’s push to prolong life even when tethered to tubes and machines. And Bob had been reading, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, about crematoriums. Jim thought we needed some positive messages about aging.

Enter Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones. Here is a guy from MN who decided to study the pockets around the world where people just happen to live to a vital old age of 100+. He calls this topography, which happens to be almost exclusively on mountainsides (remember this when he talks about not exercising), Blue Zones.

Sardinia, Italy, that has 20 times as many 100-year-olds as the U.S. does, proportionally. In Okinawa, Japan, we found people with the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. In the Blue Zones (Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, Calif.; and the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica), people live 10 years longer, experience a sixth the rate of cardiovascular disease and a fifth the rate of major cancers.

So not only are people living longer, they are living to a healthier old age. And what do they have in common? Well you’ll have to view his TED talk http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100?language=en
or read this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-buettner/how-to-live-to-100—nine_b_94972.html but here is my take away.

We have become less connected to family and friends than any other generation. We may think we stay plugged in only because of texts, email, social media and blog posts. But that’s not the same as actually being connected. The communities Buettner studied are semi-isolated, the centenarians have friends they have kept since they were toddlers. They belong to the same tribe. And they all have a reason to get up in the morning.

I could relate to a Great Great Great Grandmother, who said her reason is holding her latest Great Great Great Grand Daughter, that it’s like “Leaping into Heaven!” Now this is my kind of old age, staying vital and leading a meaningful life. Not being medicated into oblivion in an old folk’s home.

It will be interesting to see if our generation takes a different tack as we age. Will we age in the same way our parents did before us, become snow birds? Will we line up to enter the latest continuing care community? Or will we drink red wine and walk everywhere while still fishing for our family?

A friend of mine is taking a giant leap and moving across country to San Diego so she can walk one block to the ocean and sail a boat. She’s living each day as if it were her last. We helped kickstart a cultural revolution when we were young, maybe it’s time we started another.

Great Gma Ada and the Love Bug

Great Gma Ada and the Love Bug

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Tomorrow is a big day. Today I’m waiting for the HVAC guy to show up and fix my furnace. Fires are going in both fireplaces and fleece is making a big comeback in my wardrobe. Luckily it’s sunny so getting out of my warm and cozy bed wasn’t quite so bad. I’m reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things which means the temptation to stay under the covers this morning with book and  coffee in hand was nearly insurmountable.

While hovering slightly above 60, thinking about Friday keeps my fingers typing. Bob and I will join the Richmond cousins on the Historic Downtown Mall for Cville’s first ever TEDx conference. You’ve probably watched a few YouTube videos from TED, somebody walks onstage to talk about ‘ideas worth sharing’ –  they are usually very bright people, distinguished in one field or another, and you’ll come away from the requisite 18 minute TED lecture on your laptop feeling a bit smarter. I admit I’ve shared a few of these videos myself. Now I want to know just how all this smart talk got started.

In 1984 Richard Saul Wurman, an architect, writer and designer, came up with the idea for a conference that would synthesize three areas: Technology of business; Entertainment industry; and the Design Professions (TED).

…things that seemed to be interesting to me, had the other two involved. If there was a seeming technology project, it had entertainment, and design involved (when they were good). Certainly, you can look at the first Macintosh — which was shown at my first conference, in ’84. Later on, Google was announced at my conference — a combination of technology, entertainment, and design. When Google Earth was called Keyhole, it was first shown at my conference. And then Google bought Technology Entertainment Design. So that was pretty good. People seemed to like that.

Initially, speakers were very Silicon Valley,  but during the ’90s scientists, philosophers, musicians, religious leaders, and philanthropists all got on board the TED train. Tomorrow we’ll hear from distinguished UVA professors, some alumni and even a few community members, including someone I wrote about once with her Dirty Barbie show. I’m looking forward to hearing from a 3rd year student, Hawa Ahmed. who started her life as a refugee from Chad, and now is studying Politics and Middle Eastern Studies. http://news.virginia.edu/content/local-ted-talks-feature-uva-faculty-alumni-and-student-s-unique-journey

TEDx branched off about four years ago as a kind of repertory company for the rest of these United States and it has now sold out in Cville. Ted.com has been viewed over a Billion times around the world! I believe even my current crush author, Elizabeth Gilbert, expounded once on creativity. http://ed.ted.com/lessons/your-elusive-creative-genius-elizabeth-gilbert And you know I had to just watch this again right?

But after listening to oceanographers, brain researchers, educators and physicists online, sitting in the beautiful Paramount Theatre tomorrow for some 3D inspiration should prove illuminating. And hopefully we won’t end up snoozing simply because we’ll be nice and warm.   IMG_2139

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