Live Well, Die Fast and Square the Curve

Bruce Grierson is a five-time Canadian National Magazine Award-winning feature writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Popular Science, Eighteen Bridges, The Walrus, Psychology Today, Time Magazine, Scientific AmericanThe Guardian, and elsewhere. 

Bruce writes that Gerontologists have a term: “squaring the curve.” It just means, if you think of your physical and mental health plotted as a line on a graph, what you want is for that line not to be one slow long decline.

I have enjoyed reading Bruce’s blogs and books on the topic of squaring the curve partially because I am at the time in my life when I am thinking about my longevity and also because I want to ensure that the remainder of my life is more about quality than quantity.

Another thing that Bruce came up with is ‘People are either a story or an argument’. Bruce says you’re a story if you crave questions, mystery and competing possibilities. But if you’re an argument, you want resolution, answers, rhetorical victory. You treat 51 vs 49 like it’s 100 vs. 0. You fear grey.

In reading this, I quickly came to the conclusion that I am definitely a story. I never tire of learning, asking questions, dreaming about what lies beyond the horizon and wondering how I can reach my full potential. The possibilities are endless.

In many ways, I truly believe that age is a state of mind. I have never let my advancing age hold me back from pursuing my goals, adapting to change and following my passion to keep learning, creating and contributing. I have so much work left to do.

Turning 60 was a pivotal point in my life when I decided it was time to make a graceful and dignified exit from my long-time career in the airline industry. I loved my job for the nearly 3 decades that I did it but I knew it was time to let go and turn over the reins over to someone new.  I had other things to do and retirement was definitely 'not' one of them.

Instead, a month after I had exited from my corporate career, I decided to start my own business in 2015. I have never regretted making that decision. Yes, I have experienced all the highs and lows that accompany entrepreneurial life but more importantly, I have learned how to celebrate my victories and learn from my defeats. I am very determined and resilient!

What sustains me the most and gives me the energy to perform at an optimal level is my health and fitness regime. I have been a long-distance open-water swimmer for 25 years and I am fanatical about strength training.  I am extremely disciplined when it comes to exercise and nutrition. 

Open water swimming for me is challenging, restorative, invigorating, healing, magical and mystical.  It is my secret sanctuary and my secret sauce. There are very few creeks, rivers, lakes or oceans that I see that I don’t want to swim in. I even like to jump in mud puddles just because I can.

I plan to continue living a full and healthy life versus aiming to live the longest life. I am not afraid to die tomorrow and if I live to be 100, I will still be working, swimming and following my passions.  Perhaps you feel the same way and I will see you on my journey as we work to square the curve.  


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