Introducing On Research — a blog for Age Concern New Zealand

Let me introduce a blog written by my friend Professor Judith Davey, On Research. She writes this for Age Concern in New Zealand, who have “a passion to see older people experience well-being, respect, dignity, and be included and valued.”

Here’s a link to her latest article:

University Study in Retirement — Choices and Balance

If your own interests overlap with Judith’s area of expertise, please explore her blog and hey, how about leaving a comment?

6 reasons for reading this particular blog about ageing

  1. On Research is read by distinguished people worldwide: they quote from it!
  2. You can trust the information to be strictly true and correct. Now that’s a little bit unusual.
  3. You’ll read case histories and stories, but they won’t be random. They’ll be in context and they’ll illustrate broad truths.
  4. You can comment, share your own experience and give her feedback. You’re good at that! The blog has readers but Judith never knows what they’re thinking, and it’s lonely.
  5. The writing is easy to read and easy to understand. That’s a gift, especially when it comes to research.
  6. We need this information. In the wider world we’re choking on truckloads of instant research results, true and false. Judith is the calm compassionate voice of reason.

Her entire article is reposted below and I cannot remove it. I reckon you’ll be better off just going straight to her blog:

Age Concern blog: On Research

On Research

Judith A. Davey

6/10/2017

Why university study? Many of the 60-plus interviewees in our Victoria University study[1], who had not previously been at university expressed a long-held desire for study at this level, and for those who had been before it was an obvious choice for learning. Several people had tried distance learning but found it isolating and others were not satisfied by community-based classes. There were several comments on U3A courses, which were seen as low level and non-participatory.

Why study at all and why these subjects?

These questions are difficult to separate. For some interviewees the answer was a desire to pursue an interest of very long standing – either work-related, a hobby, or an aspect of personal experience. Work-related interests were not to the fore, although Don was taking BCA to update his accountancy skills and Katherine and Carl chose courses relating back to their…

View original post 743 more words

Advertisements

Wedding song

I think you’ll like this love poem. Do reblog if you have friends about to marry, or just in love.

Poems in the wild

wedding.jpg

So you are the hunter
and I am the gatherer
and you are the gardener
and I am the traveller
and I am the dancer,
and you are the dance.

And I am the dreamer
and you are the harbour
and you are the future
and I am the farmer
and you are the juggler,
and I am the clown.

I see you—I know you,
I love you—I see—

that you are the builder
and I am the weaver
and you are the mover
and I am the mender
and you are the mountain,
and I am the cloud.

And you are the lover
and I am the lover
and we are a twosome,
and you are the one.


poem by rachel mcalpine cc by 2.0, photo by Ashley Rehnblom cc by 2.0

View original post

A radically adventurous bucket list

Jenny Cossey, mountain biker, outside one of the 50 NZ mountain huts on her bucket list
Jenny Cossey knocks another mountain hut off her bucket list

We know what a bucket list ought to be, right? It’s a list of wonderful things a person decides to do before they kick the bucket, i.e. before they die. They WRITE THEIR BUCKET LIST, thereby making it real, making it part of the life they will live.

  • Most people write their own bucket lists.
  • Most people decide what goes on their own bucket list.
  • Most items are things that the writer really would like to do.
  • The expiry date of most bucket lists is the expiry date of the person.

But Jenny is different. She decided to ask her friends what she should aim to do before her 50th birthday. Some nominated things that Jenny might normally do, like cycle all the NZ national cycleways — mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, trail running and dancing are as natural to her as breathing. But at least half the suggestions were right outside her comfort zone: friends challenged her to do things that would never have occurred to her otherwise, like “go blonde” or do a 10-day silent meditation course.

50, OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER. CARD AND KEN DOLL
Jenny was given a toy boy for her 50th birthday: a Ken doll.

After culling duplicates from the ensuing list, she did her darndest to achieve all 50. Pretty awe inspiring, especially as she achieved almost the entire list in a single year.

  1. Kite surfing YES
  2. Kayak Cook Strait CHEAT (kayaks on the ferry)
  3. Visit 50 Huts YES
  4. Cycle all NZ national cycleways YES
  5. Groovy dance event (Pole Dancing) YES
  6. Vipassana 10-day silent medication course YES
  7. Wrist flower arrangement YES
  8. Catch a cray in the Cook Strait (went diving and Raymond caught one) GOOD TRY
  9. Breaker Bay Beach in Breaker Bay style YES
  10. Read a book in a week YES
  11. Water ski (next year in Lake Wanaka) ORGANISED
  12. Hillary Trail YES
  13. Dating young for fun PASS WITH A PUSH (online, no dates)
  14. Scooter the Bays YES
  15. Buy a corset and wear it YES
  16. Tie a fly YES
  17. Go commando for a week YES
  18. Stay in bed all day and read a book YES
  19. Qualify for the mile high club (NO LUCK)
  20. Drink a bottle of absinthe with friends YES
  21. Go blonde YES
  22. Hot stone massage YES
  23. Learn to surf (trial session at Lyall Bay beach) PASS WITH A PUSH
  24. Snorkel Island Bay Reserve YES
  25. Toy boy (given a plastic male Barbie called Ken) CHEAT
  26. Hot air ballooning YES
  27. Listen to a live messiah YES
  28. Listen to a male kiwi boom (a kiwi whistling in the dark) YES
  29. Go out for high tea by bike in frocks YES
  30. Learn a new craft YES
  31. Clay shooting (NO LUCK)
  32. Artistic roller skating YES
  33. Roller Derby YES
  34. Make a margarita YES
  35. Read Tristram Shandy (began it, but boring) SERIOUS SHAMEFUL FAIL!!
  36. Wear a daffodil in your hair all day YES
  37. Wear a wedding dress (a red one) YES
  38. Wear a veil 30 minutes in Courtenay Place YES
  39. Re-learn how to touch type FAIL
  40. Visit D’Urville Island YES
  41. Do the Karapoti classic MTB ride YES
  42. Learn Spanish (30 hours on Mango, WCC Library) YES
  43. Tour on a tandem (no luck — friend too small) GOOD TRY
  44. Try a Chalkie event YES
  45. Make a pavlova YES
  46. Ride a snow bike (fat bike) YES
  47. Make real pasta YES
  48. Learn to parapont (attempted on the Remarkables) PASS WITH A PUSH
  49. Organise my sons so they all visit me on the same weekend YES
  50. Go to Antarctica (job interview at Union Glacier) FAIR ENOUGH
Jenny tries pole dancing
Pole dancing was on this middle-age bucket list

Other things Jenny tried

  1. Setting off a PLB (personal locator beam) in the Landsborough (5-day hike and raft adventure)
  2. Hitching with my bike in a bike box
  3. Try a dry suit (it leaked)
  4. Walking on bonker curved stilts
  5. Tango in the moonlight
  6. Won best dressed at the Kapiti MTB (?) race and 3rd woman in my age group
  7. Flicked my (?) into back wheel and broke spokes. Had to single gear last 10km out of Heaphy Track.
  8. First tooth implant
  9. Be in American TV commercial running at midnight with sparklers to 2am
  10. Leave a child behind on a school trip to swimming pool
  11. First mole map of my body and first eye exam
  12. Have reflexology on my feet

Bring another bucket!

Phew! I feel tired just looking at that list. And excited. And inspired. Are you?

What will she do when she turns 60? or 70? Can’t wait to find out. She has already written her best self into life.

Never mind the words you forget: you’re learning new words every day

WordItOut-word-cloud-2353870.png

This morning I was a tad shocked when not one but two words eluded me. First I failed to retrieve eclipse, then half an hour later, arnica escaped my tongue. Total eclipse of the brain! Quick, fetch the arnica!

Then common sense prevailed. OK, these are not unusual words … but on the other hand, I rarely use them.

I was reading the newspaper when it struck me that over 77 years I’ve never stopped learning new words (and nor have you, at whatever age). Deployment, I read, ordnance: not words I learned at my father’s knee, I assure you. Superfoodsmitochondria, microbeads, urban runoff, nutrient pollution. Bitcoin, geopolitical, cryptocurrency, alpha-numeric codes… The newspaper every day is peppered with words that did not exist in 1940, words that we now use without a second thought.

New words: space invaders that keep us young

By lunch time I’d used dozens of neologisms and technical terms without blinking. The sort of words we learn when they become necessary or common. I had done a kettlebell superset workout and 100 incline push ups, among other torturesI’d listened to a podcast with my decaff flat white. I’d enquired about a markdown app for my iPad Pro that sync nicely with the WordPress blogging platform, and toyed with some source code. I had directed a body corp member to section 4 of the Unit Titles Act.

You too are a word-learning machine

Take heart! Unless you live solo in a tech-free ice cave, you cannot help but learn new words every day. “I can’t stand that word blog,” one of my friends said the other day — OK, but you just used it, I thought.

Next time you forget a word, don’t catastrophize. It’s not automatically a sign of anomic aphasia or even mild cognitive impairment, let alone Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s more likely just a sign that your glorious brain is chock-a-block full of words, and some old friends are being pushed to the back of the closet by these brash (but interesting) newcomers.

PS Writing others into life

Several readers have told me that this post was hugely reassuring to them. It reframes a fear into pride. I’m glad if by writing today, I can help others to perceive that their verbal is very much alive.

Reining in my web presence

One person's 20-year web profile.
Part of my 20-year web profile: websites & social media channels. Time to declutter!

When your things (any things) are in a shambles, the shambles will get worse before it gets better. At present the things in question are my websites and social media channels.

You may notice this website become a bit of a shambles while I rationalise some of those messed-up things.

Flaws will become more obvious as I start fixing them:

  • categories are random
  • boot camp posts are incomplete
  • menu is muddled and amateurish
  • some pages need to multiply, others need to shrink
  • some information is on two websites
  • and so on and so on.

Nobody can manage 19 web sites and social media channels

That’s obvious, right? And I don’t want to. Some of those websites I’ve already shucked off. (And believe me, there were more!) The others need to be either abandoned or consolidated.

Life lesson for me:

Prune your multifarious activities and you’ll enjoy them more.

 

Singing through migraines

flare-rachel-selfie.jpg
Me caught in a dazzle of sunlight: something like a migraine aura

A few weeks ago, 200-odd people sang Donizetti’s Requiem to an appreciative audience in the Wellington Salvation Army Citadel. And one of those 200 people was me.

I love this annual workshop, organised by the Wellington Region of the New Zealand Choral Federation. Anyone can join in, anyone at all! On Friday night we start learning an interesting choral work under an exciting director. 24 hours later we perform it, with stunning soloists. In a word, it’s a buzz — intensive learning in a supportive crowd, culminating in one all-or-nothing performance.

The migraine obstacle

Only one problem: I usually get a migraine and don’t make it through to the performance. Staring at little black marks page after page. Sunbeams striking at a particular angle. Bright lights. Heavy concentration. Yep, that’ll do it. But if I go home I’m still happy and satisfied, because I’ve still had most of the experience.

The challenge is always, how long can I last? Two hours, four hours, six hours?

A well-designed score and cunning tricks almost save the day

SCORE-2

Some years we sing from scores that look like ants on the march. They’re tiny, cramped, more black than white, barely readable for me. Usability: fail. Page design: fail.

But the Donizetti score has good margins and layout and plenty of white space. Yes, that helps! I placed myself where the sun didn’t shine, took aspirin, drank loads of water and in short played all my anti-migraine cards. Almost made it.

Perfect timing: singing blind

The audience is waiting. We’re ready to perform. The beautiful soloists walk in. The conductor raises his baton … uh oh, is his face a tiny bit blurry?

Here comes the aura, a shimmering zig-zag lightning that grows and moves along its own sweet path. The conductor is a blank. The score is a blur. But I can’t leave now.

I know the first bit. And I feel fine, just blind, no other symptoms. I won’t lip-synch, I’ll sing. And I do, for the entire performance.

I make concessions. I skip the risky bits, like all those fabulous ff opening high notes. My greatest dread is of singing during a solo — imagine that!

The aura wriggles away in time for the applause. I’m fine, really just fine.

Life lessons for me

  • Learn your music really really really really well. I mean really.
  • You’re not a soloist. A kindly crowd will carry you through.
  • Adapt to circumstances.
  • Do your best. Your best is good enough.
  • Listen to the music in the migraine.
  • Rejoice!