My husband Hank, a.k.a. the National Treasure, reads several online newspapers each morning. He often sends me links to things we’ve talked about, or that strike him as newsworthy of sharing.
He forwarded an article to me about a woman who was 109 and died last week on March 24. Living to be 109. That in itself is pretty amazing and something that certainly calls for introspection about aging. The additional information that might have caught the eye of the editorial board at the New York Times was that she was the world’s oldest blogger.
Think about it. Someone born over a century ago was blogging. writing about her life, living fully and positively, as her blogs attest. And she didn’t start blogging until she was 99, after she took a computer course.
- Living to be 109
- Being a lifelong learner and taking a course to learn something new at 99
- Taking what you’ve learned and using it with something you enjoy
- Affecting thousands of people in a positive way with this “new” learning
The World’s Oldest Blogger
The woman was Dagny Valborg Eriksson. Carlsson. She was born in Sweden in May 1912, the eldest of five siblings. She was a factory worker, and worked for the Swedish Social Insurance Company. She became passionate about cancer research when her second husband died of cancer in 2004.
The computer course offered her a new option for learning and sharing life. She was known to be straightforward, and spread the message that age should not limit happiness.
“I’m a tough aunt, who likes most things. It can be an opera, but it is also enough with ordinary conversations about both fun and difficult things. I like the fun the most. They say I have a sense of humor and am a little straightforward. Humor may mean that things do not have to be taken too seriously and you can sometimes benefit from it when things get complicated.” BLOGGA MED MIG! Dagny Carlsson
“I get self-fulfillment when I write,” Ms. Carlsson told Al Jazeera Media Network in a 2017 documentary. “Better late than never.”
Add Ms. Carlsson to my list of heroes who I have only met through the printed word-Maya Angelou, Thich Nhat Hanh, Morrie Schwartz, Pema Chödrön, Pat Conroy, Muhammad Ali.
Wait, I did meet Ali in 1976 on a plane coming home from Puerto Rico. He strolled back from First Class talking with everyone in the way back of Coach. I was starstruck, snapped lots of photos with my little Kodak Instamatic camera, only to find later I had not put in a new roll of film.
Some Life Learning Recaps
I’m in my 8th decade of living and learning. Ms. Carlsson had me doing a bit of life recaps:
50s: Retired from teaching and began life skills counseling and public speaking. Learned to tap dance at 50 (Thank you, Rogers Dance Center, NJ)
Now halfway thru my 70s: I have the experiences of celebrating 150 years together with my Finn, my twin Eileen, and living and loving Hank for 32 years. All of the above aid me in surviving and learning about how the brain works following a mild stroke. And still, life is good.
I admit I’m on the down side of the mountain as far as chronological age goes. I’m shooting for 25 more years. What a fantastic ride it has been, is, and will be. Out there on the horizon I see another book, traveling again in the US and Europe, zip lining, line dancing again, more blogging, and…
I too, get fulfillment when I write. Right here, right now-feeling really good-happy joyous, free-and blogging about it.
What have you learned that has served you well in life?
Where will you be and what will you be learning in 30 years?
Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and her writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Zoom gatherings, and anywhere there’s a mic.