Indianapolis Edition

Indy Civic Leader Offers Readers Sage Advice in New Book

Georgia Gianakos Buchanan lives her own advice. And it has served her well.

The 92-year-old Indianapolis writer, civic leader and advocate shares her insightful advice for living a life true to oneself in her third book How to Live Beyond 90 Without Falling Down.

“Too often, it seems we want life to find us or just happen to us and don’t acquire the confidence to go after what we want,” she writes. “I recall a quote from Walt Disney who said, ‘All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.’”

If there is one thing Buchanan has learned in her over nine decades, it is that true happiness lies in living your truth in the now.

Her latest book starts with perspective about grounding and nurturing self-love and compassion. Once one is comfortable in one’s own skin, the focus shifts outward to the world and evolves into paying our good fortune forward.

Change is an expected part of life, even when it makes us uncomfortable. The key, Buchanan shares, is to learn how to embrace change. It was when life steered her in directions she found uncomfortable that she found calm.

“When I was pushed toward the new instead of sticking to the old, when I got up when I wanted to stay down, angels guided me,” she writes. “Accepting that life is nothing but change… maybe we shouldn’t get so shook up about it. I’ve learned there are reasons and answers out there.”

Her years as a civic leader have certainly offered understanding and experiential knowledge that the more we give of ourselves, the more we grow. Learning to accept and embrace ourselves is an integral part of the process of learning to accept others, she writes.

“Find a passion, a purpose and define your goals,” she encourages. “Also, very importantly, embrace the person who was once where you are now.”

Even navigating through change, Buchanan says the most valuable assets we possess are not material. “At my age today, I can look back and say that friends have been my most valuable investment,” Buchanan shares. “I often recite the quote, ‘The best part of aging is the friends you make along the way.’”

But Buchanan’s book isn’t entirely crafted around spiritual and experiential advice for living one’s life; she also offers perspective about diet and exercise. A proponent for clean eating and making conscious, healthy lifestyle decisions, Buchanan believes that doing so is what has contributed to her longevity.

“The most important thing you do for your skin is controlling what you put in your mouth,” she shares. “I grew up on the Mediterranean diet—except I didn’t know the Mediterranean diet. It was my mother’s cooking.”

If there is anything that completes a healthy outlook and lifestyle, it is the importance of laughter and remaining light-hearted, even in the face of adversity and obstacles that life may throw into the mix.

Buchanan believes that although life is short, we are likely to live many decades and should take advantage of the wisdom those years offer. “I believe longevity makes you smarter and that has real value,” she writes. “We learn to quit wishing our youth back, rebelling against the torch that’s being passed to the next generation and complaining about the downside of aging.”

In the end, life is about experience. Not collecting souvenirs that we set on a shelf to collect dust.

“As the decades have rolled by, the saying that the best things in life are free seems to take on real meaning,” she writes. “Kindness, compliments, dreams, empathy, encouragement, enthusiasm, laughter and smiles have no price tags. We should collect them and give them as gifts.”

How to Live Beyond 90 Without Falling Down is available at Amazon.com.

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