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Recently, I had the privilege to meet with one of Elisabeth Cullington’s client of 30+ years, Lois (Loie) Gail, who came to share her story with me about how she has incorporated the philosophy of planning well and living fully throughout her life. This meeting comes on the heels of an unfortunate cancer diagnosis for Loie. She has beaten cancer twice in her past and seems determined to keep moving forward through this one as well. She is dynamic, passionate, and inspirational and I am deeply grateful for having met her.

This past spring Loie has added to her bucket list of accomplishments by acting the part of Terry in the live production of Herland which showed at the Moxie theater in San Diego. Though a performer since childhood (as a singer in Chicago among other things) she came to acting in her retirement and completed a two year training at the Meisner/Chekov Intensive Training Studio (MCIT) where she continues to take classes. “I love it” she said, “you really learn how to hold your body and project the emotive part of the role.” She has also appeared in, Over the Tavern, The Bad Seed, Bell Book & Candle (for which she was nominated for an Aubery Award), Lend Me a Tenor, The Vagina Monologues, Persuasion, The Peacock and the Nightingale, The Hallelujah Girls, and The Odd Couple.

To consider that Loie at the age of 81 is able to learn, memorize and recite the lines of a live production is quite impressive. She shared with me that it certainly is not easy to learn/memorize the lines of a play and revealed several methodologies she uses including recording the reading of the play in several different ways (i.e. leaving space for her lines etc.), role playing with colleagues, and lots of studying.

A lover of learning, Loie is a teacher and then PhD Psychologist by trade. She spent many years teaching children with mental handicaps and then ran a private counseling practice after attaining her PhD in the 80’s. Her inquisitive and analytical mind and interest in human behavior seem to guide her in her many pursuits. In her retirement she has also spent time in China, teaching English and experiencing the culture. She told me that in China “everybody sings…regardless of ability, people sing together everywhere, it is part of their culture”! I had not heard this before and thought what a beautiful custom.

Loie has also jumped out of an airplane (and would like to again!), worked freelance in many odd jobs (a pet shop, and bars), and experienced times when she had to be creative to make ends meet. As we talked I commented that it seems like she is afraid of nothing. Loie replied “Oh, I am afraid of many things… just not these things … fear is a built-in warning system and if you can use it to identify your next move or a way to move through something rather than letting it debilitate you that is the key.” She was reminded of one of her favorite quotes: “You’re afraid, so what!? Do it anyway.” This philosophy in addition to finding what you love and just doing it were her nuggets of advice. Even if you need to do it on the side or not full-on because of financial restraints, try to find a way to pursue what you love.

I am so appreciative that I had the opportunity to meet Loie. In light of the ever-encroaching limits that age puts upon her, she is unbelievably able to keep doing the things she has always wanted to do and an inspiration to those of us who need a little nudge to jump into what we love!

We’d like to hear from you and celebrate your life! If you are interested in sharing pictures, stories, or other facets of your life and how you plan well to live fully, please reach out to me or anyone on your HoyleCohen team.

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