An interview with one of our members, Dace. This is a good read and inspiring.You seem to have encompassed your workout into a healthy and balanced lifestyle. What motivated you to start and how do you keep a good routine going?
In terms of health and weight issues, sometimes, it seems, the very beginning of our lives sets on a course that we would not have chosen, if we had a choice, or even if our parents had a choice: the first years of my life were spent in a refugee camp in Germany following World War II, which meant starvation, no medical care, not even bare essentials. All of that impacted my life, in terms of health and disordered eating for decades, as it did my siblings and all my friends from that era. I struggled with disordered eating from my teenage years, for decades, with the deep-seated fear that, “If I don’t eat it now… all of it…. there won’t be any food tomorrow….’ and, for years, there was no food tomorrow. It has been a long journey toward determined health and fitness and I think the bottom-line advice I would give anyone, struggling with anything, is Never Ever Give Up!!!
A few years ago, I returned to my homeland, Latvia, for the first time since being born there and having to flee because of WWII. It was an epiphany for me and that first trip has impacted my life in a powerful and wondrous way now for years. I was on my own; renting an apartment, walking miles daily, learning to adjust to weather issues, re-learning the Latvian language, creating new communities — all very challenging and very wonderful. I have always wanted to travel but circumstances were such that I couldn’t. Finally, in Latvia, I began to satisfy that hunger by taking bus trips all over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Those trips were mostly Senior Expeditions, so very reasonable and now I have been on more than 20 trips all over the Baltic countries and elsewhere, as well as fulfilling my dreams of climbing volcanoes in Iceland, climbing huge mountains in Iceland to view hidden waterfalls, climbing the Giants Causeway in Ireland, and most recently, a long ocean-going ‘raft’ ride in the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal, to view ancient ruins only visible from that wild ride. Absolutely exhilarating! Over the past few years, have conquered fear of flying.. now cannot wait to get on an airplane… fear of heights… no more… and the turbulent rafting trip in Portugal, dealt with my fear of being on turbulent waters, since I never learned to swim! Again, my advice to anyone is: Never, Ever Give Up!!!!You do a lot of traveling and stay on extended trips. Where do you go and how do you stay active while abroad? Share some of your favorite experiences.
When choosing where to go, I purposefully look for a excursion which includes physical activity that is challenging – sitting on a bus is not very healthy, so when we arrive at our destination, or stops on the way, it has been absolutely thrilling for me to challenge myself with long hikes through primitive woods in Latvia, hours climbing steep cliffs, exploring islands where one would not be surprised to discover a sleeping dinosaur– non-meat eating, of course… because the setting is so isolated and primitive; hours hiking along boardwalks built over bogs for the purpose of sighting wildflowers, wild orchids in particular, hours walking to an isolated island to hang out with the wild horses who live there…. and my Bucket List is endless: I want to explore Greenland, Gotland, the Faroe Islands, more time climbing near glaciers in Iceland and more challenging sites, where fitness is important to be able to enjoy the setting.Tell me in a few words what “The Third Place” means?
All of this is related to working out at the Fremont Health Club, my Third Place: I love books, so am thrilled when a new bookstore opens. When Third Place Books opened in Shoreline some years ago, their philosophy was and still is: we all need a Third Place: In community building, the third place (or third space) is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home (“first place”) and the office (“second place”). Examples of third places would be environments such as cafes, clubs, public libraries, or parks. In his influential book The Great Good Place
, Ray Oldenburg
(1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place. The Fremont Health Club has been that gift to me, in countless ways. Too many of my friends in their 70s, with empty nests, no family close by, isolate themselves and develop unhealthy lifestyles. They need the Fremont Health Club!!!What did you do before you retired?
I worked for the House and Senate in the Washington State Legislature, helped run – successful — political campaigns, and still love politics and those of my friends who are still in office or are involved in politics. We have many animated political discussions at the Fremont Health Club, and that adds to the energy and fun of that very important Third Place atmosphere: any point of view is accepted, even if not one’s own.Now that you have the time to do other things, what are some of your favorite activities?
In terms of passions in addition to fitness efforts, I love being a Grandma and wish my grandchildren lived closer, so we could have adventures together; love to garden and there, also, fitness is important, as I have to haul huge bags of soil and compost from store to Queen Anne, up many stairs, dump in wheelbarrow and use in my flower beds! All wonderful FUN but not if one does not work out! I saw a sign in a gardening store some years ago that said, “Gardening Is Not For Cowards!” The same is said about aging and many other life challenges: working out at the Fremont Health Club has been such an important part of my determination to be that courageous Grandma who has many more mountains to climb, volcanoes to be awed-by, bogs to cross, wild horses to ride!!!! Thank you, Fremont Health Club, for contributing greatly, endlessly, to my life in a positive way!!!