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Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015

These playful people are models of positive aging!

Lloyd Kahn, 79, jumps on a skateboard. Watching him in motion, you see balance and grace. Kahn took up skateboarding when he was 65. Paul Fegen, once a millionaire, lost everything he had right at retirement age. Now, at age 80, he earns a modest income—doing magic card tricks. When Duan Tzinfu turned 60, he was so stiff he could barely walk. You won’t believe what he can do after 16 years of flexibility training!

All it took for these folks to re-create themselves was determination, belief and refusal to accept that what they wanted to do was impossible.

Russian photojournalist Vladimir Yakovlev traveled around the world seeking the answer to a single question: How would I like to be when I am 70? It’s a question he thinks everyone should ask themselves.

Yakovlev decided he would look for people who had mastered the art of growing older while remaining youthful, or, as he puts it: “people who refused to age ‘appropriately’ and instead, continued to live – joyfully and brightly, often with more exuberance than they had in their youth.” What I saw and learned completely changed my life and ideas about what humans are now capable of during what was formerly known as ‘old age.’ ”  

That’s how Yakovlev and his co-author, Tatiana Khrylova, describe their project in their book, “How I Would Like To Be When I Am 70? 35 amazing stories which will forever change your perception of how it is nowadays possible to live after 70.” The book was published in January 2015.

Besides the skateboarder, athlete and very flexible athlete described above, Yakovlev met, interviewed and photographed people who:

•    Ran a marathon at the North Pole at 70
•    Took up ballet at 79 and danced professionally at 90
•    Became a financial broker at 77 and made millions
•    Began a successful acting career in Hollywood at 71
•    Climbed skyscrapers at 100
•    Ran the London marathon at 103.

When he embarked upon the project, Yakovlev thought he’d find people like that in isolated locations, like monasteries or deep in exotic villages. But that turned out not to be true.

“What I saw and learned completely changed my life and ideas about what humans are now capable of during what was formerly known as ‘old age,” he wrote.

Yakovlev doesn’t have a scientific explanation as to why these people were able to achieve so much when they were 70 and beyond. But he admits that changes are happening in what older people can accomplish.

Take a look at his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/theageofhappiness, for some of the pictures and stories that appear in the book.

And think about what YOU are going to do next.



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