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On With The Butter
Heidi Herman: Writer
BY PETER BOWES | OCTOBER 28, 2020 | 18:45 PT
They say, ‘you’re never too old.’ Never too old to do something for the first time, take on a new challenge, push yourself to your physical and mental limits, or step out of your comfort zone. You only live once. But how many of us would embrace such an adventurous attitude, in our nineties. in this episode we meet the writer, Heidi Herman, who was inspired by her mother, to “spread more living onto everyday life.” At the age of 93, Íeda Jónasdóttir Herman set out to find ninety-three things she had never done before, with the intention of trying them between her 93rd and 94th birthdays. In her book, On with the Butter! Spread more living onto everyday life, Heidi tells the inspiring story of her mother’s adventure and the zest for life she shared with her family and friends.
- This episode is brought to you by AgeUp, a new product that helps fill in the financial gaps that are often created once you’ve mastered aging and achieved an exceptionally long life. Small monthly payments to AgeUp stack over time to create a secure income stream for your 90s and beyond. Contributions to AgeUp are shielded from market swings, and once payouts begin at age 91 or above, they’re guaranteed to last for life. AgeUp is backed by MassMutual and sold by Haven Life Insurance Agency. You can find out more at Age-Up.com
NOTES & QUOTES
Connect with Heidi: Website | On with the Butter! | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Interview transcript
Interview recorded: October 22, 2020
In this episode we learn about:
- Íeda Jónasdóttir Herman’s extraordinary enthusiasm for living life to the full.
“After the age of 90, people really started paying attention to her vitality and her zest.”Heidi Herman
- What it means to spread more living onto everyday life.
- Adopting an adventurous mindset and how it affects our brain function and potential to live a longer life.
- The simple lifestyle trail and instincts that promote healthy living.
- Daily exercise routines that don’t involve going to the gym, include doing sit ups and holding an exercise plank while still in bed.
“The one common theme that she always had was just keep moving. That was her mantra.”
- Observing the stretching routines of animals.
- Building extra movement into the day
“If she put something in the microwave, she called it a microwave hop, she would take a couple moments and hop from one foot to another or dance a little jig or always adding in a little movement to her day.”
- Taking the long route around the parking lot to pick up the groceries
- The power of communal laughter, even during the days of Covid
- How Heidi helped her mother try ninety-three news things between the ages of 93 and 94.
“If you wake up and the only thought you have is getting through that day, until you go to sleep again, that doesn’t give us that level of initiative that we need.”
Heidi Herman: [00:00:00] If she put something in the microwave, she called it a microwave hop, she would take a couple moments and hop from one foot to another or dance a little jig or always adding in a little movement to her day.
Peter Bowes: [00:00:21] Hello, and a very warm welcome again to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. I’m Peter Bowes. This is where we explore the science and stories behind human longevity. This episode is brought to you AgeUp, a new financial product that provides guaranteed supplemental income for people who worry about the financial impact of longevity. To find out more, visit Age-Up.com that’s Age-Up.com Now we often hear the phrase you’re never too old, never too old to do something for the first time. Take on a new challenge, push yourself to your physical and mental limits, or step out of your comfort zone and try something that you might have spent a lifetime avoiding. You only live once they say, well, how about living with a gregarious, adventurous attitude like that well into your 90s? Today, we’re going to talk to the writer Heidi Herman about the inspiration she derived from her mother, who set out to find 93 things she’d never done before and try them between her 93 and 94 birthdays. Heidi has written about it all and the encouragement she received from her mother throughout her life. It’s all in her book On With the Butter Spread More Living onto Everyday Life. And Heidi joins me now. Heidi, welcome to the LLAMA Podcast.
Heidi Herman: [00:01:37] Thank you so much, Peter, it’s great to be here today, and I’m excited about sharing the details of this book and this fun story.
Peter Bowes: [00:01:45] Yeah, it’s good to talk to you and I feel a huge serving of inspiration coming on. And before we dive into that, I’m curious, where did the title of the book come from?
Heidi Herman: [00:01:56] When I was working on my mother’s book, after she finished her 93 new experiences in a year, she was turning that into a book and I worked with her on that. And the one common theme that she always had was just keep moving. That was her mantra. And her advice to everyone was just keep moving. There’s an Icelandic phrase that’s a common expression that is similar to the American expression, Get the lead out. And it’s Áfram með Smjörið and it literally translates to On with the Butter. And it’s just a great mantra and incentive and sort of a senior battle cry to just keep moving.
Peter Bowes: [00:02:43] What was your mom’s name?
Heidi Herman: [00:02:44] My mom was Íeda Jónasdóttir Herman and she was Icelandic. She met my father in World War Two at a USO dance and they got engaged on their second date.
Peter Bowes: [00:02:56] And did they live in Iceland all their lives?
Heidi Herman: [00:02:59] They did not know. As soon as they got married, my mom took a troop ship back to the United States and immigrated here, married my father while they were still in Iceland and she lived here for 70 years.
Peter Bowes: [00:03:15] What was your dad’s name?
Heidi Herman: [00:03:17] My dad was Delbert J Herman jury and he was originally from Illinois and they lived in a couple of different places throughout the United States and traveled some and settled back in Illinois. And that’s where I was born and raised.
Peter Bowes: [00:03:31] And your mom clearly had a quite a unique zest for life, didn’t she?
Heidi Herman: [00:03:35] She did, yes, she always said that that was her Icelandic heritage, that it could have been the Viking blood or it could have just been the Scandinavian philosophies of exploring. She always said she wanted to know what was on the other side of that hill and she would climb the hill and get to the top. And as soon as she got to the top of the hill, lo and behold, she’d find another hill and she would go climb that one. She always had to know.
Peter Bowes: [00:04:03] And I mentioned and we’re going to talk about it, what she did in her 90s and the challenges that she essentially set herself and you work through with her, but she had that kind of attitude all of her life, didn’t she? It wasn’t just until she got a great age. She – that was just in her personality.
Heidi Herman: [00:04:20] She did, yeah, it definitely was her personality, and she would often say that her great life adventure began in 1945 when she boarded that ship and and sailed off for parts unknown. But even as a child, she tells stories in her memoir of being 10 years old and wanting to soar like the seagulls. And so she climbed to the top of the barn, which was a sad, sad barn. And she had a flower sack around her neck and she was getting ready to jump off the roof and attempt to fly. Fortunately for her, in that very moment, an earthquake occurred and it was pretty significant. And all the ground rumbled and her sisters came running and said to me, no, no, it’s the trolls, the trolls that are coming. So. So she scrambled down off the roof and she never did jump, which was a very good thing. But she was adventurous from a young age. Yes.
Peter Bowes: [00:05:26] And your dad had a similar zest for life, perhaps in a different way, and you gleaned a lot from him to?
Heidi Herman: [00:05:33] Yeah, he was he was quite a character himself, he ran away from home at 14 and went to California and hopped a train car and when he was 17, he lied about his age and joined the Navy. And that’s how he ended up in Iceland. But then coming back, he was a general contractor and built houses. He was a minister and he was even a a self-taught architect and designed homes. So it was he was quite a man.
Peter Bowes: [00:06:08] So you have a very rich range of life experiences to draw upon. So why did you want to write this book?
Heidi Herman: [00:06:16] It’s a concept that has been a part of my life for a long time, and even back when I was in my 20s and 30s, I was always interested in something new to do. I would always be the one to look in the newspaper and in upcoming events or research. And I’d stop and read every bulletin board and every flyer that’s out there. And my friends would say, wow, you know, you always know what’s going on. There’s always something to do. Yeah, that’s that’s such a cool thing. And I just took it as normal because I learned that from my mom. But over time, especially when my father passed away and my mom lived with me, she and I would travel quite a bit and promote our books. And after the age of 90, people really started paying attention to her vitality and her zest. And they would say, oh, my goodness, Íeda, where do you get your energy from? Where do you get your ideas from? And I wanted to help tell that story for her because she was very modest and she would shrug and say, I don’t know, I guess it’s in the blood. It’s in the genes. And when we finished working on her book, I found that it was a great motivational book, but more inspirational, you know, that you could follow and say, wow, she was amazing. But I wanted something that kind of dug a little deeper to provide motivation as well. And kind of like that, that blueprint or the guidebook on, wow, she was great, but how can I do that, too? And I realized that I had that knowledge because she had taught me her whole life how to live like that and that maybe I could share that with others.
Peter Bowes: [00:08:07] Well, you set it out in the book and you talk about the different components that perhaps go into living a long and healthy life, and it’s exactly what we talk about on this podcast. And I always say there are elements of exercise, good diet. And then there’s that third element which you could define as spirituality. You could define as your sociability. You could define as the Zen aspect of your life, how you associate with yourself and with others. It’s the the mindfulness. It’s perhaps less easy to quantify section of your life that is all important. And you frame it in a similar way that, yes, there’s diet exercise. But there’s this extra component.
Heidi Herman: [00:08:49] Yes, absolutely, and it’s it’s something that it is almost tough to to wrap your head around or your thoughts around, because I think for every person it’s different. Some people, when they approach retirement or they get past 40 or at whatever moment is significant in their life. For some people, it’s retirement and losing the identity that’s been associated with a particular profession. Other people are happy to retire. But then. They feel like they’ve lost purposefulness and they need to find that back. For others, and I think it’s a, you know, a little more common for women. They go through that empty nest syndrome and especially for some who suffer the loss of a spouse around the same time, then it becomes just a different level of purposefulness. It’s it’s not about what you can contribute to the world. It’s about what what your place is in the world. So finding that it could be volunteering, it could be giving back, it could be mentoring someone or it could be something like learning, adding a greater depth to your life of understanding. For some people, finding that next chapter of life, it could be as simple as just enjoy nature, buying an RV and going to every national park in the United States. That’s that’s enough purpose for some. Other people think I need to share this and they start maybe a podcast or a blog. And I think that’s what it is, is everybody approaches life differently. And how you approach retirement, you need to understand how that’s meaningful to you and what you need to do to feel right about it.
Peter Bowes: [00:10:59] You mentioned starting podcast’s, wasn’t your mom a guest on a podcast? Is that one of the things she did?
Heidi Herman: [00:11:04] She she was yeah, that was one of her new experiences. I know when someone reached out, it was Grandmothers on the Move and they reached out and she thought, oh, I’m not special and I’m not special enough. I’m not unique enough to be interviewed on this. And I’m going to sound silly. But she did it. She did it anyway. And it was a good experience for her.
Peter Bowes: [00:11:29] One of the things that you write about is planned spontaneity. Now, the two words don’t necessarily go together, but what do you mean by that?
Heidi Herman: [00:11:37] I think it was something that I learned in those years after my father died, when my mom lived with me, she was very spontaneous. She would be the type to be driving down the road and see a sign that says scenic overlook. And she would pull over every single time just to see what there was to see. Whereas myself, I was always the one that looked for something to do. I would plan a schedule and look to the calendar and her and I together learning that idea of plan spontaneity. It was it was enlightening because I would plan a trip somewhere. And I learned very quickly I needed to pad the schedule and allow more time because a trip that should take an hour might take four hours because of all the little side trips and things. But if you don’t allow yourself to have those spontaneous moments, you’ll miss out on so many wonderful experiences and opportunities so that planned spontaneity. And it’s really planning time for spontaneity and being open to just say yes to whatever might come your way.
Peter Bowes: [00:12:54] I think my way of planning for that situation is I call it just leaving white space in the calendar or white space in the dairy empty
Heidi Herman: [00:13:02] Yes.
Peter Bowes: [00:13:02] Blocks of time when you just don’t plan anything. But clearly, that’s when that planned spontaneity could happen because you you’ve planned it, but you haven’t planned what? So it’s free time and you kind of go with your mood.
Heidi Herman: [00:13:15] Absolutely, and that’s that’s perfect.
Peter Bowes: [00:13:18] And the other thing you should really intrigued me is you support the idea of always saying yes to something, even if it’s something you don’t want to do. So let’s say you get an invitation to an event that your first gut reaction is, do I really want to go to that? Do I want to do that? And you say there’s a value in saying yes, even though your stomach or your brain might be saying no at the time.
Heidi Herman: [00:13:42] Absolutely, sometimes it’s so easy for us to get into a rut or a routine of this is what I like to do. This is my my schedule, my process. But breaking out of that and being open to new experiences, it’s it can add such a wonderful richness to your life and not getting stuck in that. Oh, I’m not the type of person that would go to the ballet. I’m not the type of person who would, you know, go to a water park or whatever it might be. And when someone says, oh, I have an extra ticket to the symphony orchestra, I would love you to come with me and maybe we can grab dinner before or whatever it might be, just to be open to saying, oh, well, I would love to, but you may never enjoy the symphony, but that could be a really special night. It could be a great experience.
Peter Bowes: [00:14:45] Your book is packed, absolutely packed with ideas like this about you mentioned learning a new language, trying new foods, enjoying the simple pleasures of of life, that, again, things that you might otherwise dismiss, but that perhaps if you just focused a little time on keeping moving and we’ll talk about exercise in a little bit more detail in a second. But my point is, there are so many ideas you bombard is with in this book. And I’m curious, in terms of your mother, do you think the motivation that she had to do this kind of thing helped her live to an old age? Is there any science have you looked at the literature to suggest that adopting this kind of lifestyle can actually help us add years, add meaningful years to our lives?
Heidi Herman: [00:15:32] Absolutely on on both counts. Yes, I I think her philosophy and her outlook definitely had a lot to do with her, not only her longevity, but her level of vitality in that longevity and that, yes, there there is quite a bit of science behind it. And in this book, I definitely tried to keep it lighthearted and fun and entertaining. But there was a lot of science that I made mention of in passing. I included in the index with a lot of the the hardcore detail. But when you look at all the different aspects, whether or not it’s movement, learning something new, the impact on the brain, there have been many studies done on how it supports our brain function and how it even supports our mood and our outlook and helps stave off depression to learn something new to challenge your brain. Studies have been done on just introducing more greenery to your life, getting outdoors for 20 minutes a day. It not only refreshes your brain and your physical being, but it gives you that much needed vitamin D that we don’t do a good job getting from food and just the movement aspect. It’s a very simple thing. Mom used to say that she learned that from watching dogs and cats. And if animals have the instinct to stretch and move before they try to run, well, there must be something to it. So maybe we should do that to.
Peter Bowes: [00:17:31] That’s a very good thought and one thing that I’ve noticed through interviewing a lot of very old people is that a common trait is often that they have something to look forward to. And this goes to maybe these spontaneous planning that there’s always something tomorrow or maybe not so spontaneous that their family members have organized a gathering or a party or a meeting with a friend in a cafe, whatever it is, or they’ve got a pet to care for. And there’s something to do tomorrow with the animal. Looking forward is a is a common theme that convinces me that that element of your life certainly adds value, certainly. But is an extra motivation just to keep on going.
Heidi Herman: [00:18:13] I agree, and I think it’s it’s imperative to the human spirit for whatever it is that you look forward to waking up in the morning if you wake up and the only thought you have is getting through that day until you go to sleep again, that doesn’t give us that level of initiative that we need. And again, it goes back to the individual person. For some people, the thought of connecting with family and spending time with their grandchildren or their children or passing along information, you know, that’s that’s perfect for others. They need to be involved and needed and volunteer or for someone like me, I think I take after my mom and just experiencing everything life has to offer places to go, people to see, things to do, things to learn. That’s what gets me going in the morning is just the adventure of life. And what’s next.
Peter Bowes: [00:19:24] And we will return to my conversation with Heidi Hermann in less than a minute. You’re listening to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. This episode is brought to you by AgeUp, a new product that helps fill in the financial gaps that are often created once you’ve mastered aging and achieved an exceptionally long life. Small monthly payments to agents stack over time to create a secure income stream for your 90s and beyond. Contributions to AgeUp are shielded from market swings and once payouts begin at age 91 or above, they’re guaranteed to last for life. AgeUp is backed by MassMutual and sold by Haven Life Insurance Agency. You can find out more at Age-Up.com. That’s Age-Up.com. We mentioned exercise a couple of times, and clearly it is at least, as I believe, one of the key components to human longevity, along with what we eat and other more sociable size of our existence that we’ve just been talking about. But as far as exercise is concerned, what did your mother do and what did you do with her that would promote her physical strength?
Heidi Herman: [00:20:35] She had a very interesting routine. She liked to emulate what she learned from, you know, dogs and cats and thought stretching was a very good thing. And every time she read an article that touted the benefits of something that should investigate it and then potentially add that to her routine. So in the morning when she woke up, she started off by some sit ups while she was still in bed, and then she would roll over and do a plank in bed. And I was I was always so impressed by her because she she would even demonstrate this for other people, you know, get down on the floor on a moment’s notice. And she could hold a plank for two minutes
Peter Bowes: [00:21:22] That’s Super impressive. It almost sounds more like another try to embed, but it almost sounds more difficult on a squishy mattress to hold a plank.
Heidi Herman: [00:21:28] I think it it actually was. And that’s what made her so strong, especially in the core, because that’s the benefit of those planks is it really helps your abdomen. It helps your breathing. It helps your balance. So she would do that and then she would get out of bed and go to a wall and she would walk her arm up the wall and stretch her arms in her side. And, you know, so then she would do a couple of jumping jacks and hop around and she called it getting the blood flowing. And that was that was her routine is making sure to do that. That movement in that stretching and getting everything going for the day.
Peter Bowes: [00:22:10] Did she ever go to a gym?
Heidi Herman: [00:22:12] To the best of my knowledge, no, she never went to a gym, she loved to jump rope, and that was her one piece of home gym equipment. As a matter of fact, I think she was probably 90 when the doctor told her to stop jumping rope on concrete because they were actually finding micro fractures in her spine because she was jumping on hard surfaces. And he
Peter Bowes: [00:22:42] Wow.
Heidi Herman: [00:22:42] Said, if you’re going to do that, jump on the carpet.
Peter Bowes: [00:22:47] Well, good for her, and it was a kind of a pointed question about did she ever go to a gym? Because I think it just goes to show that you don’t necessarily have to and that you live the active lifestyle with purposeful exercise built into your day, that that can perhaps be just as good.
Heidi Herman: [00:23:03] Yes, absolutely, I think the underlying part for her was a basic kinetic movement where she would make a point if if she put something in the microwave, she called it a microwave hop, she would take a couple moments and hop from one foot to another or dance a little jig or always adding in a little movement to her day. But then other times deliberately more what we would think of as exercise, go out with the dogs and take them for a mile line walk where she would kind of get her heart rate up a little bit. So it was a matter of basic movement as well as exercise. And I think that’s something that we forget about. And I make a point of this in the book is that during our lifetime we’re so used to making things convenient. And like even my kitchen, during my work career, I wanted everything as convenient as possible because I wanted to spend very little time in there and get it done. And so the setup of my kitchen was very, very convenient. But then I found after I retired, I wanted to build more movement in so I actually deliberately move things around to cause myself to take more steps, to stretch a little bit, to bend down, to stand up, because those are the movements that are important. Once you allow those muscles to start to lock up and not be quite as lubricated or limber, you know, it’s it’s almost that move it or lose it. Right.
Peter Bowes: [00:24:55] Absolutely, and it’s fascinating what you say about a kitchen, what you’re doing is basically the antithesis of what a designer, a kitchen designer might do in the modern world for convenience.
Heidi Herman: [00:25:04] Yes, I have to walk across my kitchen to get a coffee cup because my coffee is on the other side of the kitchen.
Peter Bowes: [00:25:10] Exactly.
Heidi Herman: [00:25:11] Yes.
Peter Bowes: [00:25:11] Yeah, I love that. The other thing I do, and you’ve kind of hinted at it in your book in terms of adding extra movement to your day. One thing I do and I started doing this and again, you talk about technology in your book, I use that a step counter to get to that magical 10000 steps a day. And one thing I started to do was to get to a venue in the days and we used to go out to meet people. It doesn’t happen so much these days, but actually go and meet someone, but actually walk around the block and get there 10 minutes early and just walk around the block, familiarize yourself with the neighborhood and then knock on the door. Or maybe he goes to the store just to buy some groceries. But again, before you get there, just walk around the block or park at the right at the back of the parking lot and then walk the perimeter of the parking lot rather than taking the shortcut all the way through the middle where everyone else goes, where it can get crowded, just adding a few extra minutes a day. It doesn’t feel like hard work.
Heidi Herman: [00:26:05] Yes, and how that you you phrase that that actually fits in so well with today’s changes in social distancing and, you know, allowing for covid, it’s not a bad idea to park a little farther away and take a route not already crowded with everyone else. You can encourage your social distancing, keep yourself safe and get a little extra exercise and a few more steps in.
Peter Bowes: [00:26:35] And I mentioned earlier simple pleasures that you write about and want simple pleasure, I think that you quoted was perhaps even going to a comedy club with friends and just once a month spending the evening laughing together. The power of laughter is huge, isn’t it?
Heidi Herman: [00:26:50] Absolutely, and again, that’s something that it is so wonderful that promoters have recognized the changes that we have to make in life and our routine right now and using technology like online events, LivingSocial, Goldstar, Eventbrite, any of those, you can go onto those sites and still find your comedy clubs and attend those virtually. You may not be able to go with friends to the club, but you can all log on to the same event at the same time, enjoy the comedian and then hop on a Facebook live afterward then and have your drinks and talk about the show and socialize. We can still do things like that. And you’re right, the laughter is so important, but the social connection is also so important. And we need to make sure to still embrace that now more than ever because it’s difficult. So we need to take those extra steps and make sure we keep that in our life.
Peter Bowes: [00:28:02] It’s interesting, isn’t it, how we we both relate everything that we’re talking about to the current situation, and that is dealing with the virus and clearly we have to do that. And I mentioned the comedy club example momentarily forgetting about that and just assuming that perhaps we could go wishful thinking one evening and be with people and share laughter and clearly and hopefully those days will return. But I think I’m interested in your thoughts on this. We’re not going to completely return, are we, to how we were before?
Heidi Herman: [00:28:32] I think I’m with you, I would love to think so in in my mind, I do see it returning back the way it was. Maybe not. I think we have to stay flexible in this time. The the number one thing I keep coming back to, though, is and I I just did a a talk with some library patrons. And it occurs to me that as we get older, we have to make concessions and alterations in our life anyway. It could be the impact of arthritis or it could be, you know, maybe we have surgery on on a knee or we have some physical limitation or a medical condition that forces us to alter how we do things that we like to do. And this covid situation, it’s just another thing. It should not prevent us from living. It should just define a few alterations in how we need to live. We need to stay safe. But honestly, what’s the point in staying safe and protecting our life if we’re too afraid to live it? We need to be OK with going outside, maybe not in a group, maybe not connecting with anybody else, but to have the fresh air and have the sunshine and connect with people in a safe way. I would love to be able to go and have a dinner party with friends again. I’d love to think that we can get there. I think in time we can. I think we
Peter Bowes: [00:30:16] Yeah,
Heidi Herman: [00:30:16] Can.
Peter Bowes: [00:30:16] I agree with you, I think I think some things like you and I are using technology now to have this conversation, and I know you and your mom was a great proponent of embracing technology. And I think that will stay with us. And we’ll use this when we don’t actually have to get out. And maybe it’s good for the environment if we’re not all sitting on the freeway and travelling so much as we used to. But I think in terms of those more fulfilling social engagements and social gatherings. Yes, I mean, let’s hope it gets back to that 100 percent. Let’s just talk about the the never too old year that I started by referring to the year when your mom set that goal of 93 things that she could do before her 94th birthday. And you went on that journey with her. How was it?
Heidi Herman: [00:31:01] It was a lot of fun and it was enlightening and educational, I think, to be able to say from her point of view, while I’m 93 years old and I have not done it all yet, there are still adventures. There are still accomplishments I can do. It was surprising, though, how many things she had done when she opened it up then and asked other people, hey, what do you think? I’m going to try to do 93 new things. And people would say, Oh, you should go ziplining. And she’s like, Oh yeah, I’ve done that. You should go whitewater rafting. Oh, yeah, I’ve done that. So there were there were a lot of things that she had already done. But we very quickly came up with a list of about 40, 45 things. Some of them were bucket list. She wanted to see the Barrier Reef. She wanted to go to Australia. She wanted to go to Alaska and Hawaii and go to San Juan Capistrano to see the swallows or. There were some very specific things and some very general things. And we actually left half the list blank to allow for that planned spontaneity. But, yeah, it it was fun. It was fun going through the year.
Peter Bowes: [00:32:22] And she achieved it, she she got there?
Heidi Herman: [00:32:24] She did. Yes. It was everything from trying some new foods. She was not a fan of vegetables. And so she deliberately tried a few vegetables and called those new experiences. She ate lunch from a food truck for the first time. She sat for a television interview. She went ice climbing, which was quite an activity. I mean, most most people don’t go ice climbing ever in their life. And she did it at 93. But then some things were were very tame and mellow. She dressed up for Halloween for the first time and dyed her hair red just because. So when you stop and think about all the different things that there are in this vast experience of life, it can run the gamut from the mundane to the ordinary to adventurous and stupendous.
Peter Bowes: [00:33:23] Well, I think it’s hugely inspiring, she passed away at the age of 94,
Heidi Herman: [00:33:27] She diD
Peter Bowes: [00:33:28] I’m I’m guessing she passed away happy.
Heidi Herman: [00:33:31] She she was yes, she had just returned from a trip to Illinois a long weekend, she was in Iowa and it was an ordinary day like any other. She woke up that day. She had a doctor’s appointment. She was still driving herself, getting ready to go and told her daughter, one of my sisters, I’m late, I love you, bye. And rushed out of the house and had had a stroke before she left the driveway. So and if she could have planned it, I don’t think she would have planned it any better because it was Leif Erikson Day who was a quite famous Icelander. So
Peter Bowes: [00:34:15] All right.
Heidi Herman: [00:34:16] It was a momentous occasion. Yes.
Peter Bowes: [00:34:18] Yeah, well, there is obviously no good time to go, as it were, but I think you frame it beautifully really, that in a sense, if you planned it yourself, that’s how you would want to go. We all want to be active to the very end. And I’m just so happy that she managed to do that. One final thought, and I started by saying your book is full of inspiration. So many great ideas and I thoroughly recommend listeners to this podcast. Reading it. One thought just passes my mind, though. I wonder for people who are perhaps not as instinctively as gregarious or as ambitious or as outgoing as you are and as your mother was, they may find the on with the better message a little difficult to embrace that they are feeling as if they’re dealing with, especially at the moment, dealing with covid they might be bogged down with the mundaneness of life, financial issues, whatever people are going through and might just say, well, it sounds good, but it’s not for me. What do you say to those people?
Heidi Herman: [00:35:20] Well, everyone’s outlook and approach to life is uniquely personal, and I would say definitely from my point of view, believe it or not, I am pretty much an introvert and I’m not comfortable in big social gatherings. And I embrace life, but maybe not embracing large crowds or being very comfortable with new people. I am so happy any time I can get a list of new state parks and go for a hike, I’m good being by myself or be among my dogs. But it’s important, I think if people say I may not be very comfortable in large gatherings, I’m not outgoing like that. I have financial concerns or I may have some physical concerns. I’m I’m afraid to go out and interact. And that’s OK, because it’s not about connecting with people and it’s not about being in big groups or necessarily even being outside the house. It’s about connecting with life and learning and activity. You can still have a very full, engaging life online learning, using online shopping to order supplies for hobbies and crafts and building model airplanes or, you know, creating works in knitting or crocheting or baking cookies, learning things, the new language, learning a musical instrument, things that keep your mind and body active. That’s what the experience of life is all about, is engaging in the world around you. It doesn’t have to be engaging with other people one on one, because we can do that now through technology. So you definitely need to connect with the world in a way that feels right to you.
Peter Bowes: [00:37:26] I think you stated that incredibly well and you make the point and it is very apparent, having read the book, that there is quite literally something in there for everyone that will appeal to every personality Heidi. Thank you very much. Really enjoyed this conversation.
Heidi Herman: [00:37:40] Thank you so much has been great, it’s been a great honor.
Peter Bowes: [00:37:44] And Heidi’s book is On with the Butter: Spread more living onto everyday life. I’ll put the details into the show notes for this episode. You’ll find them at our website, for Live Long and Master Aging LLAMApodcast.com LLAMApodcast.com. And reminder that you can now listen to us on multiple podcasting platforms, including Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Google podcasts and Amazon music. The LLAMA podcast is a HealthSpan Media production. If you enjoy what we do, you can rate and review us at Apple podcasts. You can follow us in social media @LLAMApodcast and direct message me at @PeterBowes. It’s always good to hear from you. Many thanks for listening.