VOCATION: Retired clinical laboratory scientist, currently the program chairwoman for the University of Florida Women’s Club Seniors (because everyone else says they’re too old to do it).
Hometown: Gainesville, Florida
AVOCATIONS: Scuba diving and underwater critter watching, swimming, community service, writing, and family time.
LAST YEAR’S ITINERARY: Two separate diving trips in the upper and lower Exuma Islands in the Bahamas, monthly cavern dives in northern Florida, several local environmental projects.
WHAT’S NEXT: More diving in the Bahamas, family reunion in Michigan, and perusing future bucket-list possibilities with my youthful husband George (who is 80).
PROUDEST MOMENTS: Diving with my grandchildren -- seeing how competent
they are and how much they’re enjoying themselves -- and writing a book.
TOUGHEST PHYSICAL/HEALTH HURDLE I’VE FACED SO FAR: Diving all over the world with very painful joints before having both knees and hips replaced 16 years ago. In the water, I’m a hero again -- no pain, no problem. It’s earth’s gravity that can be a bother.
WHAT I’VE GIVEN UP: Long hikes, carrying my scuba tank down steep inclines to the water, and diving off boats without a ladder.
WHAT I’LL NEVER GIVE UP: Enjoying the water, nature, and my family, and keeping an optimistic outlook on life.
PERFECT DAY: Descending into a crystal-clear Florida spring filled with fish, freshwater shrimp, and eels, appreciating that I’m still here to see it all.
MOST EXHILARATING EXPERIENCE: Witnessing two octopuses mating during a night dive last year. They were engaged in this once-in-their-lifetime ritual -- the male dies right after mating -- rolling all over the sand and coral, clinging to each other, turning colors together from snow white to mottled red, blue-green to maroon.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LIFE: The older you get, the more you’ll need to find something to be truly passionate about, be it music, art, photography, a sport -- any activity that turns you on. Find out what it is, and indulge in it to the fullest.
LIFE PHILOSOPHY: Don’t get old if you can avoid it. And when your body won’t exactly permit this, let your spirit be your guide.