Nancy Fisher | 24th Street
Ann Silber. Photo Shirley King.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Del Mar is lucky to have more than its share of octogenarians and nonagenarians who make their opinions known, run and serve on our non-profits, and continue to shape our city. Some, however, are shining stars in our constellation of seniors who stand out for their youthful energy, cheerful adaption to change, and general joie de vivre.
How does this happen, we wondered. Is there a formula that makes some seniors flourish? Nurture, genes, salt air, dark chocolate, dumb luck?
To crack the case we turned to the irrepressible Ann Silber, best known as a co-founder of Del Mar Community Connections, who will turn 93 in July. Sitting at the very table where DMCC was born, she smacked us around with her common sense.
“I really don’t think about it much,” she laughed. “Optimism and humor are so important, but the key is good health. I’ve had many friends who were optimistic until they were tackled from behind by an unexpected health problem – and they haven’t been able to recover.”
If optimism, humor, and good health are the secrets, Ann is a walking illustration of all three. She and her late husband John raised eight children and she’s quick to point out that it was fun for her. “It was what I wanted to do!” she laughs. “If there’s anything I prefer in life it’s little people. I stayed busy for twenty years with laundry and going to ball games and piano lessons.”
Ann’s humor is evident in all of the stories she shares, and she claims to be able to find something funny in almost everything. For example, when asked if there were other seniors we should be talking with on this topic, she chuckled, “Well a couple of years ago I tried to organize a group called None Under Ninety (NUN), but before I could put it together three of them died.”
And health? She has a little glaucoma, but that’s it. “The only time I ever went to the hospital was to have a baby, and that’s the most joyous pain in the world. Oh, what a good outcome that had!”
An outside observer of Ann’s life would have to add gratitude to the formula that keeps her vital. “What do I have to complain about?,” she asks, gesturing to her panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. “My one terrible tragedy was the loss of John ten years ago, which was a real body blow, but my life is good. My faith centers my day and my life, because I don’t think we’re in charge.”
Final thoughts? “Don’t take yourself too seriously or hang on to the negative stuff. Life is supposed to be a joy and if you look at it as if you’re having fun then, by golly, you are!”