Last month I got to spend several days with my friend Dana, actually twice!, and the first go around we were in Texas at her house. Also visiting were her in-laws, who are a real hoot!
We had the privilege of interviewing Pat and Julio (or Jay, as Pat calls him) for our Podcast, Our Blush Life, and learned what this couple, she’s 85 and he’s 89, had to say about how they’ve been able to maintain such an active, rewarding lifestyle well into the age where many others are sitting in wheelchairs mumbling incoherently. They are nothing short of amazing and inspirational on many levels. With their mobility, agility, energy levels and mental clarity, you'd think they were my age or younger!
What's their secret you may ask? Well, in short order, TRAVEL, FRIENDS AND FAMILY and often the three mixed together. Julio did add in his CAREER as being very important for him. Having a very long and successful career, actually two! as an actual rocket scientist into your late eighties would definitely keep you relevant and sharp!
Julio and Pat made and maintained dear friendships throughout the years that have lasted decades. Pat always has and still does spend a lot of time with friends, lunching, brunching, drinking wine and playing cards every week. They also manage to squeeze in time with other couples at least weekly often involving the same activities and adding in a bit of Trivial Pursuit here and there.
Pat's work in real estate years ago brought them some of their longest friendships, as did befriending neighbors and the parents of their kids' friends. Pat is also the creator and author of a poem about becoming a senior citizen that have been copied over and over, broken into smaller bits, to the extent the original author (her!) has been lost. At one time she had a small business selling items with her work on them.
This couple has been in the same house for 40+ years raising three kids, working hard and travelling the world. There are not many places they haven't been, although they have a few still left on their list. The Scandinavian countries are next. Many people often get hung up on the time and money hurdle when planning travel of this magnitude. But as with most good things, a little planning goes a long way and Pat and Julio were obviously very good at planning the direction their life would take them. Of course we all know life doesn't come without unexpected surprises, and I'm sure this couple has had a few, but they knew their priorities, stuck the course and made them happen.
Quite possibly a good argument for their productive longevity, ability to travel and octogenarian status, may just lie in their life of stability. Are they an example of the power of stability? Maintaining lifetime friendships, long term careers, 65 years of marriage, making huge efforts to stay close to siblings, kids, grandkids and great-grandkid, investing wisely to have the resources to travel all over the globe and keeping in good health don't just happen by chance. These are the consequences of actions of people with plans and those who stay on course to see their dreams come true. Staying true to their priorities, staying put in the same home allowed them to invest in those friendships close by and of course not upsizing and keeping up with the Jones', staying with the same companies (yes, Julio retired twice, after spending full careers with each company!) they were able to save money and time. The longer with each company, those vacation benefits add up and there is not time spent establishing new career paths and climbing the ladder over and over.
Side note: How's this for a small world? My Grandma's house, that I grew up going to in the 70's-80's, is literally right around the corner from them! Dana and I once went to stay with her in-laws years ago and I was like, "wait a minute, this was my Grandma's neighborhood!" We're talking California people, there's a large amount of homes there, so what a ka-winky-dink!
There is not much downtown time for this couple. They keep their minds and bodies going in positive directions. They certainly aren't couch potatoes or ones to veg out with hours of pointless tv and social media consumption. Julio keeps very busy with home projects and remains busy tinkering and fixing for a good portion of each day. A job that requires a ladder doesn't daunt him! He only retired within the last year and a half and has lots of time on his hands now. Visits to see their kids and grandkids usually have a project or two waiting for him as they know to save him something to work on when he arrives.
Even standing in a long line at a store affords an opportunity to sharpen the brain. Pat always carries a crossword puzzle in her purse and it isn't the easy level! Not a day goes by that a puzzle isn't a part of and they either work on them alone or usually as a couple. Pat is a big fan of the other kind of puzzle as well and this is one of her favorite ways to pass the time, especially with family. There's always a fresh puzzle, one with thousands of pieces, to be put together when Pat is on the way to see family.
A few other things Pat and Julio enjoy are Broadway plays and the arts, following along with the lives of their 3 grandkids and being involved with whatever activities each one is or has been passionate about throughout the years. Of course supporting their kids in their lives, whether it's real estate and house flipping, supporting their careers or just being there for them has always been front and center as well.
Pat and Julio have traveled the globe making lifelong friends along the way. They joined up with a bicycle tour through France and enjoyed the company of other cyclists so much that years later have gone on many other great trips with this crowd. They no longer bike, but this group of 11 still vacations across the world, and even went on an African Safari! They enjoy taking their entire family along with them on these trips across the world as well, but it's no run of the mill cruise for this crowd. Once they opted for the remote Galapagos Islands instead, which included lots of hiking and sightseeing of the strange plants and animals these Islands are home to. They still have a couple of destinations on their list, including Cuba and Antarctica. They are hoping to go to the Scandinavian countries with their very best friends, who are in their mid-nineties, but aren't sure if that's going to happen. It may have to be a cruise, but no time like the present, they better get on it!
Julio and Pat are a couple that has thrived on strong friendships, family and travel. They have been able to seamlessly join the three together to make not only lasting memories but present day joys for a full, meaningful life. They thrive on adventure, camaraderie, stability and expanding their experiences and minds. Whether at the equator in the Galapagos, biking through France, sitting at a table working on a huge puzzle, renovating a rental home or on Safari in Africa, this couple doesn’t give their minds or bodies time to become too complacent and idle. And don’t think you’re going to win at Trivial Pursuit either.
To hear the full interview with Pat and Julio, who jumps in at the end, tune in at Our Blush Life.