Young At Heart - Generational Topics

By Debra Boice

EARLY LAST MONTH, I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH JOANNE & JIM RUSSELL, A ROSWELL COUPLE, TO FIND OUT HOW THEY STAY “YOUNG AT HEART?” The conversation was delightful – full of excitement, vitality for life and new adventures, so I’d like to share it with you. I asked, “How do you stay so ‘young at heart’?”

JOANNE -  I never, ever, use the ‘O-word’  I hear people of all ages say, ‘I’m too old to do that’.  Age is a mindset.  I ski, scuba and work-out regularly.  ‘No, I can’t’ is not in my vocabulary.

JIM - My mottos are, ‘Don’t quit,’ and ‘I’m going down swinging.’  I can’t tell you how many times I hear, ‘I can’t do that. I’m too old.’  One day I noticed an equilateral triangle on the wall in a martial arts dojo.  It read, “Strong Mind, Strong Body, Strong Spirit.”  I try to live that way.  I have a fraternity brother who asked me, “What do I do now, Jim?”  His wife has Alzheimer’s. She was only 55 years old when she was diagnosed. I told him to ‘get out of bed. Put your boots on, and start moving’.

JOANNE - You have to take care of yourself.  I am blessed with good health.  Longevity runs in my family.  I retired at 65, an answer to my prayers. And then my dream of being involved in tv and films came true. I am an extra. If they need a mature white female, I might be called. Just being there, and waiting in between scenes with everyone else, gives me an opportunity to be picked for another part. Very exciting. I love the people I have met.

JIM - My two careers keep me ‘young at heart’. One is with Ecraft Custom Homes (www.ecraftgeorgia.com). I surround myself with experts, just like the quote by Henry Ford. The other is Merit Financial Advisors 

(www.meritfinancialadvisors.com). I help the young and old plan their futures. I enjoy the math and geopolitics of the financial world. Both keep my brain active. If either is not fun anymore, then I won’t do it. When I was in the 7th and 8th grades, I attended a boarding school across the river from West Point. The instructor told us about Pompeii and Herculaneum, which captivated my imagination from then on. In 2011, Joanne and I went on a cruise to Pompeii with 67 others, and I got to fulfill my life-long dream to see it and to actually be there.

JIM & JOANNE - You have to have things in your life that excite you.  Each day, have a plan and a goal.  

JOANNE - I love scuba diving. Putting on a tank, going down 70 feet into the ocean, being in the moment, being aware of every breath I take. Sometimes, a dolphin comes right up to me, and I can hug it - amazing.

Thank you, Jim and Joanne, for sharing your thoughts and insights with the Roswell community.  Whether traveling the globe or for me, traveling forward on the basketball court shooting hoops, choices and freedom to fly can keep us all, “Young at Heart!”