Episode 35 - Life Begins @ 60: Joan Frentz
Our bodies are the temples of our souls. In this life we live only as long as they live and we suffer when they suffer and we die when they die. Obviously, we need to take care of our temples. Our guest today is Joan Frentz, author of Life Begins @ 60: Living Longer Stronger Lives. After 60 she went from chronic arthritic and muscular pain to great health and strength and realized “I was healthier and felt better than ever.” How did she do it? Can you become stronger and healthier after 60? What does it take? What are the secrets?
Joan Frentz is a former business owner, volunteer, dancer, and photographer’s model. She’s now a mother and grandmother. On turning 60, Joan realized she was stronger and felt healthier then at any time in her life. How could this be? She had spent years dealing with discomfort, pain from the debilitating affects of arthritis in her spine, neck, hands, and feet. A long process of first getting to know her own body, becoming and staying physically fit through exercise and healthier eating…and at the same time growing mentally stronger through conscious awareness training, including proper breathing and meditation, Joan has transformed what was always an active physical life to one free of pain and need for medication. Exercise may not be the cure-all but it certainly is close. She feels that in these days, women are writing new chapters. With it not only possible but probable to live to be 100 and beyond, what do we need to know and do to ensure a physically active and independent life. Our interview covers:
- The major components of an exercise program
- Keeping your body healthy
- Getting to know your own body
- Starting and maintaining an exercise program
- Fitness and the foods we eat
- Weight control
Dr. Peter Brill: Hello and welcome to The Third Age with the doctor and the man from Hollywood. I’m the doctor, Dr. Peter Brill. The man from Hollywood is David Debin. On this show we turn the myths of aging upside down. We sort out the scientific and the trendy, the medical and the cultural, and we tell you everything you need to know about living in the third age. Remember, we guarantee if you listen to us you will never grow old.
David Debin: And I’m David Debin…What?
Unknown speaker: It’s time for…
David Debin: Hello? Hello.
Dr. Peter Brill: Oh that’s the ad lib, David? Now the man from Hollywood.
David Debin: I heard he kept wanting to say, “It’s time for, it’s time for, it’s time for David Debin, the man from Hollywood.” Welcome to The Third Age. Here’s where we talk about everything that affects you if you’re 50 years or older. You could have grown children or you can have older parents, it doesn’t matter. Here’s where we talk about what it’s like to go through the transition from being a second ager, where your primary focus is career and family, to being a third ager, where you want to find some more meaning and fulfillment in your life, as well as taking care of those you need to take care of. And we’re trying to give you all the information and find that you need to go out everyday and do that.
Dr. Peter Brill: Also, if you’re listening to The Third Age on News Press Radio, oh you are listening, 1290 AM, it just changed, you want to join, and you want to join the conversation, you can give us a call, 564-1290, or if you’re out of Santa Barbara, listening on the internet, hearing this in the valley, 866-564-1290.
David Debin: What are we going to talk about today, Peter?
Dr. Peter Brill: Well, you know, we often say that the bodies are the temples of the souls. In this life we live only as long as our bodies live. We suffer, we may suffer, we die when our bodies die. Obviously we need to take care of our temples. Our guest today, Joan Frentz, author of Life Begins At 60: Living Longer Stronger Lives After 60, went from arthritic and muscular pain to great health and strength. As she said, “I realize that I was healthier and felt better than ever.” How did she do it? Can you become stronger and healthier? What does it take? What are the secrets? This should be a powerful show.
David Debin: Okay. I’m ready.
Dr. Peter Brill: You’re ready?
David Debin: Joan Frentz is going to make me younger, right?
Dr. Peter Brill: Absolutely, the fountain of youth…
David Debin: She’s going to tell me what to do about this old body of mine that I’m dragging around everyday.
Dr. Peter Brill: Well, first we want to have you stop dragging it. You know David, I want to talk just briefly about an experience that I had and that I have very often, more and more often these days, and it caused me to write a little poem, just a tiny little poem.
David Debin: That’s very sweet.
Dr. Peter Brill: I was reading Tic Nahan, and I was meditating on what he said, which is, you know, when you’re walking the path from the village, walk the path from the village. When you’re washing the dishes, wash the dishes. Just be in the present and in the now, in your body, in your soul, in your psyche. And as happens often to me, you know, I found that I was just overcome with this incredible profound sense of gratitude and joy, and I was just sitting there, just doing nothing, just staring out the window filled with this incredible, incredible feeling of, I wrote this whole thing; “What does it mean to celebrate the miracle of life? Certainly the doctors hands when he fixes the broken body celebrates life. But so much more is the celebration. A happy day. A feeling of gratitude. Helping one person from the heart and not from the desire for appreciation. Believing that peace is possible. And singing from the depths that a bird would envy.”
Dr. Peter Brill: You ready to quit now David? Or are you singing from the depths?
David Debin: That’s very pretty, Peter. It’s very nice, it’s very, it’s as if you’ve actually absorbed the poem completely, absorbed what you were reading completely and wrote it out in your own way.
Dr. Peter Brill: And I think that’s what this show is about, right. We’re trying to help people understand that aging is not a terrible journey, but a, but can be a wonderful, you know, in truth there is only life and not life.
David Debin: Well, you know, you have overcome. I mean, you had knee surgery, you had a knee replacement, and it didn’t work out a hundred percent the way you wanted it to, and there’s a lot of people that could’ve taken that and just complained for the rest of their life, “Oh, it hurts. I can’t stand.” I never hear you say anything about that…
Dr. Peter Brill: No.
David Debin: And I think that’s pretty good. I mean, I know that I would be certainly complaining about it and using it for a lot of things, but I admire the way that you’ve actually transcended.
Dr. Peter Brill: The only time I complain is when I miss a tennis shot. It’s always my knee’s fault.
David Debin: Oh, it’s always…Okay. Alright.
Dr. Peter Brill: But David…
David Debin: Yeah?
Dr. Peter Brill: are you ready for, for…
David Debin: Well there’s so many good news stories, that I don’t know which one to choose from, so, I don’t know. You know, this might be an extra way for people to pick up money….
Dr. Peter Brill: Okay.
David Debin: So it might be interesting. A mother sued the town after her child stepped in a dog dropping. So, you know, some people, you know, you never know when you can use some extra money. In Norwalk, Connecticut actually, a New York woman has filed a claim against Norwalk saying a family outing to the Maritime Aquarium was ruined by dog feces. What’re you going to do? You’re going to sue. When in doubt…
Dr. Peter Brill: Sue.
David Debin: sue, right? The woman claims her child’s shoes along with the entire outing ruined when her one year old stepped in dog doo outside the Maritime garage…
Dr. Peter Brill: This is in Santa Barbara?
David Debin: No, this was in Norwalk. No, you’d never see that in Santa Barbara.
Dr. Peter Brill: There’s no dogs.
David Debin: There’s dogs, but none of them poop.
Dr. Peter Brill: Oh.
David Debin: We live in paradise. How often do we see that?
Dr. Peter Brill: You’re right. It only rains after the sun goes down.
David Debin: It only rains after the sun, and no dogs ever poop and all the child, children are above average.
Dr. Peter Brill: That’s right.
David Debin: The city attorney said the official response that her claim was denied, and in his words he said, “Poop happens.” So, she wants the city to reimburse her and she also is claiming, you know, mental…
Dr. Peter Brill: Mental anguish.
David Debin: Mental anguish.
Dr. Peter Brill: That’s the word.
David Debin: So, I think that we all ought to send a letter to the Norwalk, Connecticut Chamber of Commerce and let them know that we feel that she should be taken care of because there should never be anything like…
Dr. Peter Brill: People should never suffer these kinds of…
David Debin: They should never ever step in it.
Dr. Peter Brill: So in thirty seconds or so, how was your vacation? Talk about stepping in it.
David Debin: My vacation was so fabulous that I can’t even begin. It was like going to camp. I was with friends and they’re very fascinating people. My best friend in New York is a guy whose name is Marshall Chess. Chess Records was the first company that recorded blues and that recorded rock and roll. And as a matter of fact there are two major motion pictures being made about him and his family right now as we speak…
Dr. Peter Brill: Wow.
David Debin: And so, it was…
Dr. Peter Brill: He knows all the…
David Debin: No, if you know music, you know where Chess Records…
Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.
David Debin: His father was in the first two people into the Hall of Fame…
Dr. Peter Brill: Wow.
David Debin: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So it’s a whole family legend. Scorcese’s made a movie about him, it’s a whole family legend. And, but he’s my best friend for, I don’t know, 25-30 years, and every time I got to New York that’s where I stay, and it’s just a great time. And his daughter’s my goddaughter and we always have, I have one more minute, I’ll tell you what we do. We have a ritual, she’s 22 now, but starting when she was 14 or 15 we had a ritual, there’s a horrible little diner down the road called The Greasy Spoon and every time we get together we go and have breakfast at The Greasy Spoon and tell each other everything, completely unknown. And so now that’s from 16 to 22, and I’ve gone through it all with her and she’s gone through it all with me. So we did it again and it was great.
Dr. Peter Brill: Our guest today is Joan Frentz. I hope I pronounced that, Frentz, is former business owner, volunteer, dancer, photographer, model, mother and grandmother, whose written a new book, Life Begins At 60: Living Longer and Stronger Lives. She says about herself, “I’m a youthful, energetic, active, vicarious person who’s supposed to be an old lady because of my 72 ½ years. It’s very confusing, especially since I let my hair go naturally to white.” She’s a personal trainer, a fitness columnist and specializes in, specializes in older women. Welcome to the show.
Joan Frentz: Well thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Dr. Peter Brill: I just, I’m so excited by your book, and there’s so much to talk about, but I wish you would tell just very briefly about the adventure that you went on after your husband died.
Joan Frentz: Well Peter, what happened was my husband passed away and I did the, what you’re supposed to do, I waited the year and, which was appropriate, and then when day was taking a walk and I thought to myself, if I didn’t, if I didn’t return home what would I miss? And I realized that there was absolutely nothing. Now if you had asked me this question two or three years prior, I would’ve said, you know, oh, I would have this long laudry list. And that was the beginning of my journey. I decided to put my house on the market. This was a house that my husband and I had designed, lived in it 25 years, raised our children. We really loved the house. My kids were all gone. I had a house that I thought would sell in two years, it was unusual for where I lived, which was Louisville Kentucky, it was contemperary, and this was not a contemperary house city, the house sold within five days, and I had some decisions to make. And I was going to get an apartment. Instead of that I decided to put my things in storage that I really cared about. The rest I was really thrilled to be able to help two of my friends furnish their childrens first apartments, sent a moving van out to California where my children were, several of them were living, and had my daughters cat, which I, she had left because she left with us because she was travelling for year, sold my car, got an SUV and took off. I was, travelled for about two years, I was teased because they said I lived out of my SUV.
Dr. Peter Brill: See, now I think that risk taking, to do that, the initiative of risk taking is just so admirable. I mean, so many people will just sit where they are when they’re unhappy or when they period of, whatever, that life is about creativity and risk taking, and there’s just no…
David Debin: We had another woman in our group who was in a rut for years, right?
Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.
David Debin: And then she decided she was going to take her dog…
Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.
David Debin: she bought a van, and she was going to drive around by herself in places that she’d never been, and then when she came back she was completely refreshed and she knew where she was going.
Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah, in person. Anyway, so how did, tell us the story of this book.
Joan Frentz: When I finally planted my feet in this wonderful paradise called Santa Barbara, I really began to, I did not know anybody by the way when I moved here. I moved here without knowing a soul.
David Debin: How long ago?
Joan Frentz: This was almost eight years ago permanently. I came here for two months just to try it out. I had had a meeting here the year before. And I became, I am physically, have been physically active all my life. I was a dancer, so forth and so on, but in my 20’s I was diagnosed with severe arthritis, thought it was rheumatoid, I arthritis throughout my 30’s and 40’s to the point where sometimes I couldn’t even walk. Through this I persistently was still involved somewhat in dance in other ways, but played tennis and tried, it was a struggle, it was really a struggle. And here I am, I’m turning 61 or 2 a the time, and I thought, “I’m feeling stronger and better than anytime in my life. How can this be? What’s going on?”
Dr. Peter Brill: So what was going on?
Joan Frentz: What was going, what was going on? Well, looking back I realized that I had started an exercise program inadvertently when I was in business, and I struggled through that. I walked through all that was going on and eventually, I just think it was through, mainly through exercise, swimming and maintaining the program and having a chance to be in California where I could walk the beach and swim and take care of myself, that, and I think mentally, mentally as well, emotionally as well, it was really to examine and have this time that things were better and physically I was better.
Dr. Peter Brill: So you believe it’s possible to be physically better in your 60’s…
Joan Frentz: I don’t only believe it, I know it’s true. I’m 72 and I have not been skiing in years and I’m planning to meet my dear friend in Steam Boat because I know I’m stronger now than I was when I skiied years ago.
Dr. Peter Brill: Okay. How? How do people do it?
Joan Frentz: How do you do it?
Dr. Peter Brill: You wrote a book about it, how do people do it?
Joan Frentz: Alright, well in my book I talk about the physical aspect, the good news, bad news. The good news and the bad news is we can potentially live to be a hundred and beyond. It’s very exciting, but also can be very frightening…
Dr. Peter Brill: Mm hmm.
Joan Frentz: And we talk so much about mentally taking care of our, so that we, we can think, we don’t have Alzheimers, these are our fears, but also the fear is that you want to be able to move and use your body. I mean, I see too many older people that literally cannot use their bodies and they’re mentally alert, and they’re just locked in this cage, so to speak. So that’s what the part that I addressed. And what I’m telling you is that, first of all, be very gentle on your body. When I was training, I had 40 and 50 year old women and some men that would say, “My body’s falling apart”, and I’d say, “Uh uh. Can’t do that. You’ve got a long life ahead of you.” So number one is be gentle…
Dr. Peter Brill: Mm hmm.
Joan Frentz: And be consistent as much as you can. It’s not that you have to do the same thing everyday. I don’t. But I’m sure that I do something everyday…
Dr. Peter Brill: Mm hmm.
Joan Frentz: And if there’s one thing I could say to you, take a ten minute walk out and a ten minute walk back. That’s 20 minutes.
Dr. Peter Brill: Everyday.
Joan Frentz: Do that. If you can’t do anything else.
Dr. Peter Brill: Do 20 minutes a day. My 97 year old stepmother still walks, you know, a half an hour, 45 minutes a day.
Joan Frentz: The 114 year old woman, that’s what she said she walked. Don’t you think you, but if you do that ten minutes out and ten minutes back in the morning, it’s 20 minutes…
Dr. Peter Brill: Mm hmm.
Joan Frentz: Do it again later in the day…
Dr. Peter Brill: Mm hmm.
Joan Frentz: for about another 20 minutes. Do it…
David Debin: They have to walk up hill or just walk?
Joan Frentz: No, just walk.
David Debin: I mean, I was in New York City and I walk walking, just recently, and I was walking blocks and blocks and blocks…
Joan Frentz: Right.
David Debin: and I was wondering if I was really getting any, getting any physical benefit out of it because usually I’m walking uphill to get my pulse rate up and everything.
Joan Frentz: Well, you know, you can start up by, if you want to walk just the way you’re talking, move your arms around.
David Debin: Uh huh.
Joan Frentz: Throw them up in the air, get your heart rate up that way.
David Debin: I’d get arrested in New York for doing that…
Joan Frentz: I don’t…I don’t think so. But, you know, there’s still, you have that advantage is how long you walk.
Dr. Peter Brill: So, okay, you start by walking. Then what do people do?
Joan Frentz: Learn how to breathe.
Dr. Peter Brill: Tell us more about that.
Joan Frentz: Most of us do not breathe properly or know what it’s all about.
Dr. Peter Brill: I’m never too young to breathe.
Joan Frentz: But how do you breathe and how often do you really take in…
Dr. Peter Brill: How ought I to breathe?
Joan Frentz: Deep breaths…
Dr. Peter Brill: Deep breaths, all the time?
Joan Frentz: Well…
Dr. Peter Brill: I’d get, hyperventilate and pass out.
Joan Frentz: Okay, okay doctor. At least, and I say this in the book and I talk about it a lot, is at least three times a day stop and take really deep breath and try to breathe from your belly. It’s hard to do at first, but it’s, it will kick in almost automatically if you practice it. Now Andrew Wild talks about it as the number one things, is to really just breathe in for five, hold it for seven, breathe out.
Dr. Peter Brill: Mm hmm.
David Debin: Okay, so what we’re going to do now is just as we go into our break, I’m going to have everybody, including (inaudible), okay, take a nice deep breath into your belly and hold until we come back after the commercial. Ready? Everybody….
Dr. Peter Brill: Well, welcome back to The Third Age. I’m one of your co-hosts, Dr. Peter Brill. I’m here with the man from Hollywood, David Debin, who’s back from his vacation. Our guest today is Joan Frentz who’s a former business owner, a volunteer dancer, photographer and author of a book, Life Begins At 60: Living Longer and Stronger Lives. So, just before the break we were talking about the things that people can do to take themselves from this kind of arthritic immobile life into a real life of health.
David Debin: Talking about breathing.
Dr. Peter Brill: Breathing. Oh yeah. Oh, go ahead and breathe out now.
David Debin: Everybody feel like, they’re breath in.
Joan Frentz: Yes, very important. We want to, there’re a couple of other points I’d like to make. One is the posture as we get older, the way we carry ourselves. What happened to me one day, I was walking passed my mirror and I looked over and I thought, “Oh my goodness, I look like an old…”, I did look like an old lady and I was kind of stooped over. And I literally made an effort to change my posture. There are exercises that you can do, very simple ones, and it’s really important.
Dr. Peter Brill: Give us an example. What can you do?
Joan Frentz: Well if you have like a broom, the handle of a broom, and wrap your arms around this handle, this broom and just, what it does is you’re going to reprogram the back of your back up by your neck. It’s difficult in a way…
Dr. Peter Brill: You put the broom over your shoulders?
Joan Frentz: You put your, yes, you put your arms or your hands over the, you put your broom behind your neck and put your hands over the broom. And you can do that and just move around a little bit. If you, in a gym they have wooden dolls that you can use for the same purpose. But if you notice the way people walk as you get older, with your mouth dropped open, the shoulders…
Dr. Peter Brill: Stooped forward.
Joan Frentz: stooped shoulders, there’s nothing I think that is more detrimental to the way we appear to ourselves and we appear to others. So this is really important, to have an awareness of how you carry yourself.
Dr. Peter Brill: Stand up straight…
Joan Frentz: Stand up straight.
Dr. Peter Brill: Put your balance in the center of your body…
Joan Frentz: And look out ahead of you, don’t look down, because when you look down you’re already taking that step, so you want to try to look as, it’s so difficult for some people to look out a ways, and also look around, keep your body moving, move your arms. You’ll see that a lot of older people will tend to have their arms just by the side. Watch a child, the way the child moves, and try to imitate…
Dr. Peter Brill: What about balance? Do people do balance exercises?
Joan Frentz: Yes, very definitely, very definitely. What I do sometimes, and I did this years ago when I was in the sand or on the beach or anywhere, I would make my own little obstacle course. I tell a funny story in the book about how I’m walking through a stream and I thought I was so agile crossing over some rocks and slowly fell head first and I came up laughing, but I realized that my balance was compromised and I had to work at this and still have to work at it.
Dr. Peter Brill: You know, like one exercise you do in Yoga is you stand, just stand on one foot a little bit. Lift your leg up a little bit and bend your knee and then stand for a minute.
Joan Frentz: Try closing your eyes and doing that.
Dr. Peter Brill: Well lets start by not closing our eyes. Lets, I’ve done that too, but you start by just looking at a point, just standing there, shift the other, do it on the other and get a sense, because balance falls are really, really dangerous…
Joan Frentz: Right.
Dr. Peter Brill: as you get older.
Joan Frentz: Peter, when you mentioned Yoga, I want to say one thing; if you haven’t taken Yoga or Pilates before, Pilates on the mat, be very cautious of beginning and be very careful what teacher you choose, because there are a lot injuries due to that you’re not in shape, you’re not limber, your body’s not strong, so I really would caution everybody to be very careful.
Dr. Peter Brill: So, yeah, take very gentle Yoga, but how do you choose a good teacher?
Joan Frentz: You ask.
Dr. Peter Brill: What do you ask?
Joan Frentz: You ask other students, and you maybe watch a class. You start out very slowly.
Dr. Peter Brill: Well I one time said to somebody, I was looking for a Yoga teacher, “Oh this is a terrific Yoga teacher.” So I went to the class, it was a level three power Yoga, you know, and you’re supposed to stand with one finger, you know, and upside down or something.
Joan Frentz: Well, it would, Yoga, there is strength in Yoga, but in my book and I talk about this, there are three aspects in exercise as far as I’m concerned, and one is that you do your aerobics, your walking, your running. The second was you have to do the upper body weight training, and this is especially important for women, and there’s this book called Strong Women, Steady Arm, and a very well known, I can’t think of her name right now, but very well known author, and it really says how at 80 you can be as strong as a woman in their 30’s if you do this type of exercise. And the third part is stretching.
David Debin: Why is that so important to get upper body exercise?
Joan Frentz: So that you can still reach up onto a shelf and get something down, or lift something without hurting yourself…
Dr. Peter: Also…
Dr. Peter Brill: Austeoperosis…
Joan Frentz: Austeoperosis is not just necessarily your upper body, that’s your walking…
Dr. Peter Brill: It’s your whole body…
Joan Frentz: That’s your whole body, right.
Dr. Peter Brill: and weights help with that, weight training helps with that.
Joan Frentz: Yeah…
David Debin: What’d you think about walking with weights?
Joan Frentz: I don’t, I think it’s very dangerous…
David Debin: Why is that?
Joan Frentz: Because you tend to, you might tend to pull a shoulder or a joint in your elbow out. I mean, I just think that is not necessary at all. Walk, you can walk up hills or they have weight vests that you can put on, but don’t hold weights in your hands or actually around your feet either.
Dr. Peter Brill: In a large part of your book that you though is if you haven’t been doing exercise start slowly, be really gentle with yourself, watch it that you don’t overpush yourself, right…
Joan Frentz: Right.
Dr. Peter Brill: and build up gradually…
Joan Frentz: Yes, and something that you have to maintain, right.
David Debin: Are you talking to primarily, are you talking to people who have not taken care of themselves who are starting from scratch or who have stopped, that used to and stopped, or are you talking to people who are already in some kind of, some kind of routine? Is there some differentiation?
Joan Frentz: Well I, first of all, it’s never too late to begin…
David Debin: Mm hmm.
Joan Frentz: That’s the important part to know. And it’s depending on how much of an athlete are you and did you, were you an athlete when you were younger?
David Debin: Mm hmm.
Joan Frentz: How much are you exercising? But there are so many people that never exercised, their doctor tells them they have to do it or they we’re always, or they’re overweight and they use their brain but not their body. I think always with the people I, the majority of the people I know, they don’t want to exercise. It’s boring…
David Debin: Mm hmm.
Joan Frentz: they don’t like it. And what I say, you know, if you are bored you don’t have to go on that treadmill for an hour. Go on the treadmill for ten minutes. If you work out at the gym, go on the bicycle for ten minutes more. Go on something else for ten minutes, and, you know, that’s what I find, I,because Peter, when we were talking earlier, I have ADD and I can’t sit on a, it’s really difficult. So I mix up what I do and I might not do the same thing everyday, but as I said, I do something everyday.
Dr. Peter Brill: Wonderful. Let me read you some chapter headings out of this wonderful book, ‘cause I don’t think you’re doing justice to the wonderful book…
Joan Frentz: Thank you.
Dr. Peter Brill: you’ve put together. Body Awareness is a whole thing, a whole chapter of useful stuff. Body Health, again, a huge chapter which talks about ankles and joints and elbows and so forth. Three Major Components of Exercise. As you were just talking, Aerobic Strength and Training. Balance, next one, Balance, Posture and Body Alignment. And then, Lets Get Physical, walking, swimming, all kinds of that useful stuff there. Fitness and Food. So it’s a book that’s chock full of really useful questionnaires, questions, methods, approaches, variety. Maybe you’re, you’re tendency to be hyper active turned out in your book to produce a lot of different solutions to people.
Joan Frentz: Well I try to help as many people. And yes it’s earmarked for women, but I also found that when I would give my talks, men were as interested and sometimes get more out of it than the women.
Dr. Peter Brill: So how do people get your book, Joan?
Joan Frentz: Well the book is available, it’s available online, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It’s also available around town here at Borders and Chausers, practically anywhere. If they don’t have it they can order it. They’ll order it for you.
Dr. Peter Brill: Life Begins At 60. Now we had a question we agreed to which we’re going to start before the break and we’ll come back right after the break to the question. You said that a lot of people come up to you with a question in your seminars that you do, you speak to…
Joan Frentz: Yes, they do. What happens is they say, “Okay, your book is wonderful, but then what? What more is there?”, and I said, “Well look, I’m addressing the physical side”, but they say, “No, we need to know more. What is this aging? What is it all about? What do, where do I go from here?”
Dr. Peter Brill: And what they mean underneath it is they’re worried…
Joan Frentz: Yes, definitely.
Dr. Peter Brill: you know, that they can be 75, 85, 90, you know, and their bodies are going downhill, how do they maintain a quality of life, a happiness, a vitality, a sense of life is worth living, is that the basis of the question?
Joan Frentz: I think too, do I have time to…
David Debin: No, we’re going to bring you back…
Dr. Peter Brill: We’re going to bring you back.
David Debin: We’re going to come right back with Joan with the answer to why are we here.
Dr. Peter Brill: Well welcome back to The Third Age. I’m your co-host Dr. Peter Brill, and I’m here with the famous man from Hollywood, David Debin. Our guest today is Joan Frentz whose written a book, Life Begins At 60: Living Longer and Stronger Lives, and we are about to reframe the question.
Joan Frentz: Yes. What I want to say is when I, I am now 72 and when I turned 70 that was probably the most difficult stage of my life. Age, it really doesn’t hurt me to say how old I am, and I encourage everybody to say how old they are, to perpetuate there’s something wrong with getting older. But I realized that, okay, I’ll live maybe to 90 or 100, but the years between 50 and 70 physically speaking, and probably mentally, I’m not going to be the same as between 70 and 90 to 100, and this really was difficult for me. How many more active vital years do I have and how to make the best of them. And this includes a lot more than just being active.
Dr. Peter Brill: And how do you look forward to them in a positive light, how do you keep yourself positive.
Joan Frentz: Yes, yes.
Dr. Peter Brill: Okay. Let me, can I just take, give a few answers to it or do you want to go first?
David Debin: You go.
Dr. Peter Brill: Okay, well first of all, it’s a big problem. It is the core, one of the core problems that people face and I don’t mean to minimize it. We all know people that at 95 are still vital, energetic, excited, so the question is how do they do it, and we know it’s possible, so that’s the first thing. Second of at all, we know from longitudinal studies that a certain attitude about it accounts for about 7 to 8 more healthy years, so it’s important, but of course if you’re not feeling that, then it just makes you feel more guilty or, you know, inadequate, but we do know that it’s important to do that. I want to start back where I started from today, which is the feeling of the miracle of life. Even when someone is a paraplegic and lost the uses of their legs, over about a 6 month period they will come back to equilibrate, back to about the happiest level they were at before the accident. They’re coming, and you can go much higher than that, you can get much, if you can get in touch with the incredible depth of feeling the joy of this miracle that we’re alive. But lets go beyond that. You know, if I told you at 95 you’d be, you know, in a wheelchair, you know, having trouble, you’re not real flexible, but you’d be up there conducting a symphony that you had written, or that you would be celebrated as some great artist in something, or you would be sitting with a group of children who knew, everyday had tears in their eyes because you had come back to visit them, if there was something that gave you that sense at 95 regradless of your body of how vital, important, creative and alive you were, that certainly has, speaks very strongly to the issue of aging. So then the question becomes, what is that path? And unfortunatley, there are two parts to the path. One is the myths of aging causes people not to believe it’s possible, so we don’t put the creative energy into making it possible. But also society’s view has not created many of the structures and institutions necessary to get us there. So we have to believe that both society and we and our future’s not determined, and that we can come together and we can alter the future of how we view aging and how we experience aging. I don’t know if that’s a good answer for you, but that’s about as far…
Joan Frentz: Yes.
Dr. Peter Brill: as I’ve gotten.
Joan Frentz: Yeah, that makes absolute sense…
Dr. Peter Brill: One more thing I’d say to you…
David Debin: We have a caller, Peter.
Dr. Peter Brill: that I left out, okay, I’ll be right back….
David Debin: Yeah.
Dr. Peter Brill: One more thing I’d say to you, at the, lets say you’re sitting there at the near the end of your life and you spend an hour asleep and an hour awake, and, you know, you don’t have much energy, but when you wake up you’re surrounded by people that you love and love you.
Joan Frentz: Yes.
Dr. Peter Brill: Something to meditate on.We have a caller. David you have to say who it is.
David Debin: It’s Tam.
Dr. Peter Brill: Tam?
David Debin: Tam Hunt.
Tam Hunt: Yeah, hi there.
Dr. Peter Brill: Oh, yes. Hi. Tam, this is calling from the environment. Just hold on one second.
David Debin: Oh, oh, okay.
Dr. Peter Brill: Hold on one second, Tam. Anyway Joan, we want to thank you so much for being on the show today…
Joan Frentz: Well, thank you.
Dr. Peter Brill: and for your exciting book and for bringing your wisdom and…
Joan Frentz: Well thank you. I really appreciate being here with both of you, and David, thanks so much. And I do have a website, it’s…
Dr. Peter Brill: Please.
Dr. Peter Brill: Great.
Joan Frentz: Alright, thank you.
David Debin: Is that f-r-e-n-t-z?
Joan Frentz: Yes, correct.
Dr. Peter Brill: Well, well I want to now go to the section of our show where we talk about the environment, and we have our, we hope we you’re going to give us a sermon today, our guest today is Tam, Tam Hunt of the Commuity Environmental Council’s Energy Program director, and he’s going to talk to us about the Tricounty Energy Summit, and I hope you’re going to read us the riot act about energy.
Tam Hunt: I am, a very short sermon.
Dr. Peter Brill: Okay, great.
Tam Hunt: Yeah, well certainly, you know, our program is designed to wean our region off fossil fuels in the next generation, and people are now asking us, “Well, why so, why so slow?”, because of course, you know, oil prices, gas prices, natural gas prices across the board are surging, and today we’re actually almost at $130 dollars a barrel, a new record up from about $75 last year…
Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.
Tam Hunt: a huge pace of increase. And we’ve long been talking about the twin crises of climate change and peak oil, and more and more folks are now realizing that in fact the primary cause behind the surging oil prices is a structural imbalance between supply and demand and, you know, real short summary, global demand is outpacing global supply. And we’re holding an energy summit on May 29th next week in the morning at Fess Parker to try and convene a tricounty energy task force that will look at these issues very seriously and figure out what we can do as a tricounty region that has a lot in common culturally…
Dr. Peter Brill: Can I ask you a question Tam?
Tam Hunt: Go ahead.
Dr. Peter Brill: Is there anything we do, can do, can we really become fossil free?
Tam Hunt: We can, we can, and the issue is how much time do we have. So without being overly alarmest, you know, we do have, we have options both short term, medium term and long term, and the question is can we do enough in the short term to really make a long term difference? And so, I don’t know how much time I have here…
Dr. Peter Brill: You have a couple more minutes.
Tam Hunt: Okay, and so essentially, the real question is are these current price trends going to continue and are we literally running out of oil, and this is unfortunately a longer debate, but the real quick version is that, of course we’re not running out of oil literally in terms of a geological, you know, elimination of oil. The problem though is that the major oil exporters around the world are growing internally very quickly using more oil than they produce, they’re stagnating or declining in production. And so the net oil exports available to countries like the US over the next decade is probably going to drop dramatically, and some folks, admittedly minority, are projecting that we’re going to see a geometric increase in prices, meaning doubling every about 2 years.
Dr. Peter Brill: So what you want people to do here is at least as a first step, besides changing their lighting, working on their appliances and so forth, what you want them to do is to come to this conference. When is the conference, what’s it called and how do they get there?
Tam Hunt: It is the Tricounty Energy Summit put on by the Community of Environmental Council, and it’s May 29th, and it’s from 8 o’clock until 12:30 at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara.
Dr. Peter Brill: That’s great. And they can just show up there?
Tam Hunt: They need to register online, and so if you can email mbirney, m-b-i-r-n-e-y @cecmail.org ([email protected]), Megan Birney, she will direct you to the right webpage.
Dr. Peter Brill: I just got to say, I know you, Tam, we’ve spent time together. This is one of the most brilliant knowledgable men about the use of energy. Santa Barbara’s very, very fortunate to have you’re a…
Tam Hunt: I’m blushing. Thank you.
Dr. Peter Brill: You should. At the, you’re at the Community Environmental Council, and if they want to call you at the Community Environmental Council, what number do they call?
Tam Hunt: They can call us at 963-0583.
Dr. Peter Brill: Thank you so much for bringing us this today.
David Debin: And I’m going to pose a question Peter on the environment as soon as we come back from this break. If you’re listening on the radio Tam, maybe you can answer it too.
Tam Hunt: Okay. Thank you.
David Debin: This is The Third Age. We’ll be right back.
Dr. Peter Brill: Well welcome back to The Third Age. I’m here with my co-host, the man from Hollywood. I’m the doctor. So…
David Debin: My question is this…
Dr. Peter Brill: Okay.
David Debin: Alright, if everybody is really trying, okay, to pitch in and help the environment and cut down on the emissions and all of that, back in ’74 when we had the oil crisis, Jimmy Carter pushed through a law mandating 55 miles per hour on all highways, all freeways, everywhere. You couldn’t go more than 55 miles an hour. Now lets see how many people would really go into a voting booth and vote to lower the speed limit to 55 miles an hour. What do you think would happen in that? What do you think would happen?
Dr. Peter Brill: Well, you know…
David Debin: I see people shaking their heads no here.
Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah, we got a lot of people in the studio shaking their heads no, don’t we?
David Debin: That others wouldn’t do it, yeah.
Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah, no. You know, it’s one…
David Debin: Where’s the will, where’s the will? I’d like to know that.
Dr. Peter Brill: Well, can I just, I mean, expand the question. The question really is our consumption of energy and what all the strategies are, and what are, what’s the best combination strategies that maintains as much of our lifestyle, decreases our consumption of resources and creates as little pollution as possible. And it may be that going slower is not the one that meets all three of those criteria the best.
David Debin: Yeah, but going slower is going to use less gas, lets face, I…
Dr. Peter Brill: Okay, well you can go slower. I’ll….
David Debin: There you go.
Dr. Peter Brill: I…
David Debin: You’re not going slower.
Dr. Peter Brill: I will if you will David.
David Debin: I mean, I see a lot of Ferrari’s and Bentley’s around here, I don’t…
Dr. Peter Brill: I’ve driven with you, David I’ve driven with you. You go a lot faster than I do.
David Debin: Oh, okay.
Dr. Peter Brill: By the way, we’ve missed our moment of fun. We’re going to come and have it right now. Shannon, bring us our moment of fun.
David Debin: Okay Shannon. It’s time for you. What’s fun this week?
Shannon: Well, we’re going to go the classier route this week and we’re going to talk about Casa del Huraro, which is an amazing enstate that’s in Montecito and a lot of people don’t know about it, but it’s definitely a local treasure.
David Debin: What do you do there?
Shannon: Well it’s a home that’s basically preserved and shows what it looked like to live in Montecito in the early 1930’s, and the Stedeman family went to great lengths to make the home very Spanish style to George Washington Smith house, so you have all these artifacts that have been brought in from Spain and all over the world and the gardens are amazing, so… It is appointment only, so you have to go get a docent lead tour, but they’ll fill you with all the facts and behind the scenes information, and it’s really just beautiful, peaceful, interesting experience.
David Debin: Yeah, well you’re not old enough to remember the ‘30’s. Why’s it fun for you?
Shannon: I’m kind of a retro girl and I just think it’s gorgeous there, and I want to live there.
David Debin: So there we are. That’s our, that’s our fun minute. And we want to…
Dr. Peter Brill: Which is really important, right? I mean, having fun in the third age, if you are going to do one thing besides get your body in good shape…
David Debin: Right.
Dr. Peter Brill: is try to have fun. And remember what it’s like to be a child and have fun.
David Debin: And be spiritual.
Dr. Peter Brill: And be spiritual.
David Debin: And get your body in shape.
Dr. Peter Brill: Get your, well maybe more than one thing.
David Debin: And love everybody and forgive.
David Debin: Alright…
David Debin: It’s such a hard job being perfect. Such a tough, such a tough gig, I have to remind him all the time. We would like to thank Lisa Headly and Emily Figurato, Joan Frentz for being with us, and of course Richard David and Les Carroll. Thanks a lot. We’ll see you again soon.