Nancy Perry Graham EDITOR IN CHIEF
I’ve been feeling grumpy lately.
Work pressures, home pressures.
Who can hope and dream (as AARP
encourages us to do) when we’ve got
bills, bosses and bad backs to worry
about? So I asked three of my favorite
fun folks what makes them so content.
Leading a charmed life can help, but
my friend John—we worked together
at Fortune magazine—was diagnosed
with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) last May. Dianne puts her passion
for healthy aging to work at Keiro
Senior HealthCare in L.A. My sister-in-law Bonnie learned as a military
wife to put her happy “game face” on—
and keep it on. Whatever your situation, these three show that you can
make the best of the rest of your life.
HOLIDAY IN PARIS John and wife Joan admire the Musée d’Orsay on the river Seine.
Share your feelings about the magazine
and your lives at aarp.org;/magtalk.
NAME: John Curran AGE: 59 JOB: News director, Bloomberg.com
IN HIS O WN WORDS: Seven months ago I was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
It doesn’t make me unhappy, though. Why? High on the list is a family that
loves me. So, too, is my church, which, combined with faith, gives me an abiding
feeling of optimism that my being does not end when the heart finally stops.
My employer remains supportive, so I have good health insurance. Notice that
only one of the three pillars of my happiness is money-related. (I’d add here
that my 12-year-old car squeaks loudly when you put it in reverse. So I’m not
wealthy.) At its core, my happiness rests on a spiritual life, a sense of purpose
and—oh, yes—a sense of humor. In this life, where beauty fades, wealth wreaks
more havoc than happiness, and death awaits us all, if you can’t laugh about
the journey’s ups and downs, you’ll fret. And who wants to worry?
NAME: Dianne Belli AGE: 60 JOB: Senior care
IN HER O WN WORDS: Am I happier now than when I
was younger? I have a lot more to feel grateful
about. I have the experience to know that life goes
on in the face of extreme challenges. Time has
burnished the love I feel for my work—helping the
Asian American community age with confidence—
and the people in my life. Also, my husband, Joe,
and I enjoy trying new things: We have been
dancing the Argentine tango for five years!
Bonnie with her
NAME: Bonnie Perry AGE: 70 JOB: School librarian
IN HER O WN WORDS: I approach my life in a positive way. It’s something
I inherited from my 100-year-old mother. I stay informed and relevant.
My 40s on has been the happiest time of my life. I began to mature.
I started a master’s in library science. When I returned to Charleston,
South Carolina, 20 years ago, they needed a librarian for a Catholic K- 8
school. What a joy! The children are always eager to learn. It helps that
my grandchildren attend the school—an incentive to keep working.
CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEF T: ART S TREIBER; COURTESY OF JOHN CURRAN;
COURTESY OF DIANNE BELLI; COURTESY OF BONNIE PERRY