As people find their bodies and minds aging, it can be hard for them to hang on to what once made them feel vibrant, positive, and excited about life. Many times people entering their older years can begin a downward spiral, losing their spirit and ultimately their health. But for Canadian born Trudy Perry-Anderson, when she turned 80 years old this year she decided to spend every single day celebrating.
“A constant thread in my life has been a joyful spirit. I’m so healthy because I’m positive and I love moving around, especially dancing,” Trudy said. She became a U.S citizen and studied French at the University of Minnesota. She moved to Buffalo in 1968, known as Madame Perry to her French students she taught at Woodlawn Junior High School and Southside Junior High School. In 1984 Trudy moved to Atlanta and taught French at Morehouse College, which is where Martin Luther King Jr. went to school.
Much of Trudy’s love for dance comes from her many global travels. She was at the forefront of the Hunger Project (thp.org) at its formation in 1977, and at 51 years old, she joined the Peace Corps to teach English to students in Morocco among mostly young volunteers. “They looked to me for guidance,” Trudy said. She also spent time with her husband Andy in Africa volunteering through Habitat for Humanity.
Although there are so many cultural differences among people, Trudy said her travels taught her that people are really the same. “We are one wonderful human family, and traveling has reinforced that,” said Trudy, who has stayed mentally active by studying different languages throughout her lifetime; she speaks French, Spanish, Moroccan Arabic, Swahili and Lingala.
Trudy now resides in North Carolina and is an active member of the green team at her environmentally focused church, which fights to improve local hunger. She attends yoga class four times a week and goes swimming at her wellness center, and loves to read and write poetry. To end each day, Trudy focuses on mindfulness and cultivating a positive spirit. “The way we speak to ourselves before sleep is so important, and can heal our bodies,” Trudy said.
She recommends reading From AGE-ing to SAGE-ing: A Revolutionary Approach to Growing Older by Zalman Schachter- Shalomi, where she has found a lot of guidance and inspiration throughout her aging process. Instead of approaching age with anxiety and fear of death, Zalman teaches readers how to approach the aging process with adventure, passion, mystery, and fulfillment. “I try to stay mindful and responsible, and I always ask myself, ‘What legacy do I want to leave behind to my two children, two grandchildren, and the human family for generations to come?’” Trudy said. She is a true testament to the transformative power of positive thinking and a healthy lifestyle.