Virginia White's Recipe for Strength, Aging Strong, and Living Long

At 87 my recipe for strength, aging strong and living long, is continuing to be the best person that I can be, controlling my own destiny, and living life to its fullest. While many of my peers have given up on life, preferring to sit around discussing their aches, pains, and medications, I prefer to remain actively involved in within my community, in the lives of those who hold special places in my heart, and with the organizations and associations that have molded my life.

My recipe for strength over the last year has included:

  • Keeping an active mind and a link to global interactions by: traveling to San Francisco in September to serve as the delegate from Massachusetts to the National Association of Parliamentarians' Annual Convention; attending the New England Museum Conference; visiting Sturbridge Village on a regular basis.

  • Transferring knowledge to others by: serving as the Conference Coordinator for the George Demeter Unit of NAP’s, 15th Bi-Annual Conference and being the unit’s Program Chair. Next year it’s on to the presidency.

  • Expanding my horizons, traveling locally, nationally and internationally: a trip to the Rose Bowl Parade; hopping into a rented car (Hybrid) and touring the northern coast of Californian (Route 1, the red wood forests, the “Lost Coast”); car, train and bus trips throughout New England; two years ago a River Cruise from Shanghai to Beijing, China; the year before a cruise tour to Alaska.

  • Keeping balance in my life through spiritual enrichment and fraternal commitments: being an active member of my church family hosting morning coffee, assisting with programs and fund raisers; serving as an officer in my Eastern Star Chapter; designing center pieces, organizing special events and suppers for numerous community organizations and charities.

  • Maintaining my home and summer cottage: Not just living in the spaces but also papering and painting the walls, mowing the lawn, nurturing my gardens, designing decorations for each holiday and passing season, entertaining friends and hosting meetings; nurturing my two cats Beta and Rascal; and dog sitting for my niece’s Cardigan Welsh Corgi Rocket.

  • Being actively engaged: Attending seminars, workshops, concerts, touring museums, taking computer and college classes, participating in historic society, cultural, and artistic events; serving as Warden at the polls; facilitating workshops.

  • Serving as a segregate mom and caregiver to family and friends: offering guidance when a parent is ill or passes away; attending children’s concerts; making costumes and embroidering uniform logos; making funeral arrangements for elderly friends whose families have long departed.

The key ingredient in my recipe for strength is never saying no to life but rather embracing it and all that it has to offer: surrounding myself with a diverse array of people across all generations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and cultures; embracing change and life’s challenges; keeping an open mind, always being young at heart and taking a holistic approach to life, incorporating the mind, body, and soul in all that I do.

Virginia M. White

April 30, 2010