Sometimes I come across a truly remarkable older person who is living their senior life happily, healthfully, joyously, and filled with positive, productive personal energy.
Remember last week I wrote about dancers and their seeming longevity. I attributed it to the use of their legs for so long throughout their life. Well, recently I discovered an amazing legend in the dance industry by the name of Gillian Lynne. I think you’ll be captivated by this amazing woman’s story. I was researching something online several months ago, and I came across a reference in an article about Dame Gillian Lynne. I never heard of her, but the comments in the article intrigued me. So I looked her up.
Gillian Lynne demonstrates vividly that whether we are in our 50s or our 80s, we can enjoy the lives we are living and look forward to experiencing even more. And whether you are in your 50s or in your 80s, male or female, this woman should be an inspiration.
She started her dancing career in England at an early age. Her dance and choreographing credits are long and full. She choreographed, and was cast opposite Erol Flynn in the movie The Master of Ballantrae in 1953. She choreographed CATS for Andrew Lloyd Webber and did the staging for Phantom of the Opera. She worked on the very first versions of both musicals and continues to consult. Just five years ago, at age 85, she choreographed the 25th Anniversary production of Phantom of the Opera.
She just released an exercise video at age 88. Granted that it was produced over a period of eight years with shots taken at locations all over the world. Gee, that means she was 80 years old when production began. Hmm, there’s hope for me yet.
She explains her good health and personal energy by emphasizing that she exercises a minimum of 45 minutes a day. She says that yes, she is sore, and it is hard sometimes to get motivated, but she does it anyway because she knows it will help her live longer and healthier. Those are her words. She says that she lives by two essentials:
- Her daily workout.
- Having a purpose to keep going.
According to her website ( www.gillianlynne.com ), she also “practices yoga and – when not rehearsing – has twice-weekly Pilates sessions.” Her website also quotes her as saying, “I have a maxim that energy breeds energy. I don’t believe that you get it from having a rest. On the days when I hurt and feel tired, I know I have to do a workout and I’ll feel better.”
Her website quotes her further, “Age is not important. It’s where your brain is and your level of energy that matters. I have always had a lot of energy and I don’t notice that diminishing.”
She is feisty, opinionated and fun. She says Life is all about a having a purpose and that retirement is dangerous. That’s why at age 90 she keeps working.
She gave a speech to the Royal Academy of Dance while recovering from pneumonia three years ago at age 87. I watched the video on YouTube and she still looks healthy and spry. This video is filled with valuable lessons, is hilarious, and even a bit risque toward the end. You will benefit from the wisdom in her message. Here’s the link to the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX_O3HHYB_k . I strongly recommend you make the time to watch this 30 minute talk. It is truly inspiring.
At age 52 she got married (second marriage) — to a man who was 27 years younger than she was. They are still married.
Oh, and did I mention that she has two metal hips and a bunch of metal pins in her foot? She still dances. Not a lot but she is still active . . . and she is still working.
“Unless you really hate what you do I think retiring is the biggest mistake you can make. You lose your adrenalin, your zest for life. If I retired, I’d keel over and die, I know I would. Everybody needs something to get up for in the morning, knowing they have to be somewhere at a certain time, or having a particular project they’re going to be working on. You’ve got to make yourself have a purpose in life.” Gillian Lynne
Gillian Lynne just turned ninety years young in February of this year. Wow! Talk about inspiring.
Thank you for reading.