Aging as a State of Mind

Bobbie Hasselbring, editor of Real Food Traveller, has an article on “Aging as a State of Mind”. Her article concludes as follows:

Katherine McIntyre is 89 years old. She’s the oldest person ever to have zip lined at High Life Adventures. She’s a working travel journalist. And she kept me from even wondering whether I’m afraid of heights. And, you know what? I’m not afraid. Because Katherine isn’t afraid and she’s one of my heroes.

Mine as well.


  1. roddycampbell
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Love it.

  2. seanbrady
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    The hero of my hero is my hero too!

  3. sue
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    Very nice!

  4. Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    Awesome story! It made my day!

  5. pottereaton
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    Puts me to shame. I was down in Costa Rica with friends five years ago and I passed on the opportunity. When asked why, I simply said, “I don’t zip.” When my wife took me up on a helicopter tour of Maui for my 50th birthday 15 years ago, I white-knuckled it all the way.

    Well done, Katherine!

  6. Don B
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Your mother probably also believes she has a hero in her family.

  7. JEM
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    An active mind pulls the body along with it.

    May she have a bunch more of those ahead of her.

  8. Marion
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    Wow – a wonderful example to us all.

  9. Kohl
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 3:18 PM | Permalink


  10. dfhunter
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    89 and still going strong, brilliant, a lesson to us all.
    well done Katherine & thanks Steve (via Bobbie) for sharing your mum’s adventurous spirit.

    like mother like son as they say 🙂

  11. Dave L.
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    If you think you can’t, you won’t. Best expressed by Richard Bach: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”

    I was introduced to Zip at age 69. I distinctly remember the last segment, where everyone in the party was expected to complete the last segment in an inverted (upside down) position — a piece of cake compared to some of the modern day, amusement park rides.

  12. pax
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    Assuming the apples don’t fall far from the tree, I guess the team can’t hope to get rid of you anytime soon.

    As for zip lining, I can’t imagine why I would do that, but each to one’s taste.

  13. Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    What’s in a name? Something apparently. 🙂

  14. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    “Katherine McIntyre is 89 years old. She’s the oldest person ever to have zip lined at High Life Adventures. She’s a working travel journalist.”

    I am impressed but probably more so with Katherine McIntyre being a working travel journalist. I hope she got a story out of her zip lining.

  15. TerryMN
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    Nice article and great woman – thanks for sharing, Steve.

  16. john malpas
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

    Such adventurism sounds jolly intil some of the reality of old age cuts in.
    Brittle bones , small cardiac arrythmias , easily persuaded to be gung ho.
    You often hear of the before but the after doesn’t attract the media.

  17. George Daddis
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

    My 18 year old grandson is visiting for the Easter week. I signed him up for a zip line in the Georgia mountains (at the site that the movie Deliverance was filmed). At 70, I was planning to wait for him at the lodge. Now I can’t let your mum shame me; I need to see if there is a 2nd reservation available!
    Pax, you don’t know what you’re missing; tree to tree and mountain to mountain.

  18. James Smyth
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t catch the point of this earlier today. But just reading the article now while knowing the ending, I think made it even better. Good stuff.

  19. Mike SM
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

    Dorothy Custer, who lives in Twin Falls, Idaho, ziplined over the Shake River Canyon on her 100th birthday. Such women (or men for that matter) are truly amazing for their adventuresome spirit.

  20. Skiphil
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

    amazing, she’s putting me to shame but I will let her inspire me to some new efforts! What a way to embrace life…..

  21. Jon
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps explains your daughter’s free spirit. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 2:23 AM | Permalink

    It is in our nature to be joyous as we age, as we overcome challenges with increased stoicism and sense of achievement.
    There are some who are not so nice about it. There is a blog in Australia named “The Conversation” that is run by the main Universities + CSIRO, BoM, etc. A current thread has the title in this URL.
    Here is an illuminating contribution.

    “Chris Owens Professional
    The cold spell in the UK and Europe has already been linked to the dramatic loss of sea ice in the Arctic.
    Why is it that so many deniers are in their twilight years? Easy to be cavallier (sic or sick?)with the habitability of the planet when you don’t have to live with the consequences?”

  23. Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

    I can only wish such spirit on all of us.

    My father took up skiing in his 60s, readily hitting black runs, and at 80 now skates 3 times a week, including speed skating when the local rink lets him get away with it. Another hero…

  24. FerdiEgb
    Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    The McIntyre dynasty in full glory… I only can hope that Steve follows the health and courage of mother McIntyre at least until the same age for our joy and knowledge and the anger of some who don’t like his analyses…

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

      My mother’s father (McRuer) was a prominent judge who had been a Chief Justice in Ontario. He lived until he was 94 and, after a distinguished career, said that he did his best work after 75, when he became Chairman of a Royal Commission on Law Reform, eventually retiring at 87. His bust and portrait are at Osgoode Hall, the senior Ontario court. I saw more of him in these late years, mostly playing bridge, occasional golf (most of his friends having died.) A biography of him was written in the early 1980s. He had many famous murder cases, some of which still crop up in TV shows (the Boyd Gang). He presided over some interesting spy trials immediately after World War II and presided over some of the Gouzenko debriefings. Kim Philby was sent by the British to represent their interests in the Gouzenko hearings. He grew up on a farm that had been cut by hand out of the Ontario woods a generation earlier and observed from time to time that Ontario was, at any time, only 20 years or so from returning to forest.

    • bernie1815
      Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

      My daughter’s significant other is a McIntyre from Dundee. I hope the longevity, tenacity, memory and IQ genes run deep in the Clan.

  25. Skiphil
    Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    OT, re the Gouzenko case, the 2009 book “Treachery” makes a strong case that it was MI5’s Roger Hollis and not MI6’s Kim Philby who took charge of the Gouzenko case for the Brits and visited Canada to secretly debrief Gouzenko. Philby did circulate a memo on the case, which Hollis pushed back on as inaccurate and as infringing on MI5’s turf. Hollis was highly “inaccurate” in his internal dealings with info from Gouzenko, gravely undermining British response. Of course, if Hollis was also a spy for the Soviets (I think Chapman makes a strong if circumstantial case), then the Gouzenko affair had the strange spectacle of TWO crucial Soviet agents vying to influence British response to Gouzenko from the inside:

    • Skiphil
      Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

      oops, the book’s author is Chapman Pincher, surname is Pincher not Chapman. He covered intel and spy issues for decades in UK journalism, broke quite a few revealing stories.

  26. durango12
    Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    A heartening story.

    We also need to keep in mind that it is more than mind that accounts for this. An unusual genetic gift will tend to offset much of the degredation of joint, bone, and tissue that seriously afflicts most people at this age — and younger.

  27. Anthony Watts
    Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 10:06 PM | Permalink

    The McIntyres are an all around class act.

  28. johanna
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

    There’s one in the eye for those who hope that Steve (who still plays competition squash) will fade away soon to grow roses and play lawn bowls now and then.

    The McIntyres sound like they come from Highland stock – only the fittest survived the harsh climate and poverty. Tough, tenacious and with a strong code of behaviour, they were a completely separate group from the Lowlanders until quite recently, in historical terms.

    Canada, Australia and especially New Zealand were heavily populated with Scots migrants in the 19th and 20th centuries – and a damned lucky thing for them – us, in the case of Australia – too.

    I always thought the NZ accent was a bit strange, until one day I was watching a TV show about Scotland and one of the local accents was pretty much exactly the same. It wasn’t Edinburgh or Glasgow, but a fairly obscure one.

    As for Canada, my childhood favourite L M Montgomery “Anne” books, set on Prince Edward Island, were full of Scottish references, including the battles between English-influenced Methodists and Scottish Presbyterians.

    Here’s hoping the McKitricks have similar stamina!

    Steve: when we traveling in the NZ South Island in December, I also noticed many parallels to the names of roads and place in southern Ontario, where there is a strong Scottish influence.Not just things like McIntyre’s Creek (which we is in the South Island), but relatively unusual street names like Dunvegan or Rostrevor.

    When I was a boy, “Mc” was a separate letter in the school inboxes in Toronto. Despite the major transformation of Toronto by recent immigration, MacDonald and Campbell are still among the most common names in the Toronto telephone book.

    You’re right about the Highlands. My ancestors are almost entirely Highland and Island. Rather surprising since they mostly settled in Ontario in the 19th century as a result of the Highland Clearances. My mother was a McRuer. My maternal grandparents were Wallace and Dow.

    • johanna
      Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

      With an ancestry like that, I wouldn’t mess with you!

      In Australia, the Irish had the numbers by and large in the Celtic stakes. But, all over the richest farming lands are properties called things like Dunheved, Glenuguie and so on. Indeed, “Glen” is a popular prefix for towns and suburbs all over the country.

      Not surprisingly, Scotsmen were prominent in establishing banking and finance in Australia.

      As a Dutch person by birth, I have always felt an affinity with the Scots and people from Yorkshire. It is best encapsulated by the saying “there’s many a slip ‘tween cup and lip”. Like you when you analyse mining prospects or climate ‘science’, we don’t believe it until it is in the hand.

      Your mum reminds me of my grandma, who finally pegged out at 90 after doing everything the health freaks of today decry. She was fearless, and game for anything. Life force, spirit and good genes – and damn the torpedoes!

  29. Stacey
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

    Great story your mam is an example to all of us.
    “There may be snow on the mountain top but there’s still a fire in the cave”
    When I was a little boy I saw my Gran run for a bus, and I mean run. Senior citizens where I was brought up didn’t sprint to catch a bus?
    She lived till she was one hundred.

  30. kim
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 5:16 AM | Permalink

    Lessons learned
    At Mother’s knee
    And other low joints
    You here see.

  31. j ferguson
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    I was assured by spouse Burns that I was obnoxious enough before I read

    “How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It” by Arthur Herman

    Doubtless there will be a sequel chronicling our host’s and others’ efforts in preserving it from folly.

    I’d been toying with how the recent Economist piece might have established a legitimacy of doubt, at least here in the US where it would be helpful amongs the chatterers.

    Now I wonder if there is anything to an ethnicity of doubt. Probably not.

  32. johanna
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    Well, then, McKitrick, where’s your kilt?

  33. PaulM
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    Hoping that her son will be as active when he is 89. Happy Easter!

  34. Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    Strength of arm and length of days.


  35. Robert Wilkes
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    I see now where you got your never quite attitude. Neat story!

  36. Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    Brilliant! What an awesome life! Attitude is everything, and too many of us tiptoe through our days. An excellent example to us all. Cheers. 🙂

  37. Andrew McRae
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 10:26 PM | Permalink

    Ever since I was 21 I have maintained “Age is a number, old is an attitude.”

    One’s options tend to become more limited as various body parts seize up over time, but this is just a challenge to imagination and resolve to find new ways of enjoying little things in life.

%d bloggers like this: