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Gaining a positive outlook on aging from a Syracuse psychotherapist's Zestful Aging interviews.

Chris Bolt/WAER News
A group of seniors citizens at an activity center in Utica stay engaged with activities and speakers.

Central New Yorkers might start to ask questions about their life as they age. ‘Where did I make a difference?’ ‘What can I still accomplish?’ WAER Senior issues reporter Chris Bolt starts an occasional series today with local psychotherapist Nicole Christina, who has sought out those with insights and new points of view on growing older.

One of the guests on her Zestful Aging podcast was Stanford Professor William Damon who writes about dong a 'life review'.

"Go back over the events and people and things that have influenced you in your life. Identify what it was that was meaningful to you and purposeful, and give you a sense of how you can build upon that in the future," said Damon.

Damon wrote the book A Round of Golf with my Father, after uncovering some surprising truths about his father, who he thought died in World War II, only to find that he actually lived a separate life, completely secret from his family. He eventually made peace with it, rather than hanging onto anger.

"When you forgive somebody - and that was not easy to do because he not only hurt me, he hurt my mother - ... it's not only good for them, it's good for you because it helps you get past these feelings of bitterness and resentment."

Christina sums Damon's journey this way.

"This whole life review process is about assessing where things went well for you and where things need a little work."

Another of Christina's guests took on a big challenge later in life. Melissa Davey was a corporate executive who got the chance to spend a day on a film set with feature film director M. Night Shyamalan.

"... he looked at me curiously and said, 'what do you really want to do?' and I said, well i want your job. And he looked at me and said, 'well you better hurry up.'"

Davey told Christina that she went onto make a film after age 65, called Beyond 60, from interviews of people who di d incredible things later in life. Her takeaway is that people have to be open to opportunities, even if it puts them out of their comfort zone.

"Always take the detours, always. ... Don't drive the same way to work every day; don't got the same restaurant for lunch every day. And keep your eyes open because an opportunity could be right in front of you that you would not have seen if you took the same route every day," said Davey.

Syracuse psychotherapist Nicole Christina hosts the podcast Zestful Aging, with guests that have unique experiences and positive viewpoints about aging.
Syracuse psychotherapist Nicole Christina hosts the podcast Zestful Aging, with guests that have unique experiences and positive viewpoints about aging.

Christina concludes that Davey's advice is really more attainable than people might think.

"It's not always as scary and as unreachable as you ight imagine, said Christina. "Now is the time, and I think that's her message. At 65, she knew, 'I've got to grab this, cause it's not going to last forever.'"

Nicole Christina is a psychotherapist in private practice and has produced the Zestful Aging podcast for the past 4 years.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.