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Reflections on Second Wind Tour

Second Wind Collage

Now that the “Second Wind” tour has wrapped up, we can think back on the lasting lessons from Dr. Bill Thomas and from his book of the same name.  When the tour came to Washington, DC, it was fascinating to learn that Dr. Bill Thomas, 54, a former ER doctor changed directions to work in geriatric medicine and eldercare because “it’s the best medical study of all.”

Sponsored by AARP’s “Life Reimagined,” EMA Communities, Capital Impact Partners, Merrill Lynch and more than three dozen additional sponsors, “Second Wind”  traveled to 25 cities across America to present a non-fiction theatrical program to get people thinking about new possibilities in their lives and about change and transformation as positive components of aging. There were 240 attendees at the D.C. event where AARP DC volunteers provided information about “Life Reimagined” and AARP in general.

Thomas’ media presentation was  inspired by his book, “Second Wind:  Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper and More Connected Life,” which takes a new and intriguing look at the baby boomer generation’s second “coming of age.” Each half-day performance of the spring tour featured two acts consisting of theater-like monologues from experts in different fields of study, plus a unique presentation about the meaning of growth, aging, identity and memory through a combination of music and film, (“Alive Inside,” a revealing documentary which illustrated how music can bring enjoyment to those suffering from dementia.) and a live performance by Samite Mulondo, founder of Musicians for World Harmony.

Says Thomas, “I think our society has a confused  understanding of aging and often defines it as a decline, but what we’re saying is it’s a complex phenomenon and growth is a critical ingredient of normal human aging.”

Dr. Janet Taylor, a community psychiatrist in New York City, TV personality and a member of the “cast,” said that aging should not be considered a negative.  “Certainly for some people the healthy aging brain does slow down but it also adapts so that it works harder, and we can make better decisions that are focused on emotional well-being rather than being impulsive.”

AARP believes that at any age you can "reimagine" your life.  “reimagining” is about possibilities:  having goals; examining them; and working with peers and experts to make them real. AARP’s “Life Reimagined” approach accents empowerment and offers online and off-line tools for guidance and resources.

So how should a person deal with getting older?

“Question our society’s established narrative about aging,” says Dr. Thomas.  “Challenge it.  ‘I’m a living, breathing, growing human being and my age is actually making me better in many ways.’ I think this is the message – the core message – that we’re bringing out to our audiences all across the country.”

He adds that life is a team sport, especially aging, and that it should be embraced every day.  “It’s never too late to begin again.”

Be inspired to “reimagine” your life by visiting Life Reimagined:  http://bit.ly/1loF2BH

(Photos-Clockwise: Dr. Bill Thomas on stilts, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Janet Taylor with AARP DC volunteers and AARP DC volunteer interviews Dr. Thomas.)

Story written by AARP DC volunteer Rocci Fisch

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