Don’t wait to get sick to get healthy.
Maintaining a holistic, healthy lifestyle where we are connected to the earth and one another can increase our longevity and prevent illness. To me, living longer doesn’t have much meaning if I can’t live independently and with purpose. Most people wait until a health crisis before they make serious changes to their eating and lifestyle habits. At Modern Aging, we share ideas on how we can create better habits before we get sick or develop a chronic condition, so that we can live healthier, longer, and with the quality of life we desire.
I scour the globe on my travels and talk with experts and practitioners about how ways to increase our longevity and quality of life by reducing stress, inviting more joy and fun, changing our eating habits, moving more and laughing every day.
On a wintery January afternoon in 2001, my family and I were sitting next to my mother at the kitchen table. During our conversation, Mom suffered a debilitating stroke, one that left her with right side paresis. Mom had been a healthy, very active 65-year old restaurant owner who lived for family and others. She walked three miles every morning, worked late into the night, and squeezed a yoga class in whenever she could. But she also suffered from hypertension.
Mom was a completely independent woman who took care of everyone else. Now, she had to allow herself to be taken care of. Mom’s first words in the ICU were “pay mortgage.” At that moment, I realized how unprepared I was. My family had no idea what bills needed to be paid, or how she had paid them. We didn’t have access to her bank account or know if she had a will. What was a health care proxy and did Mom have one?
Fast forward, in 2009 Mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and a few years later she would need round-the-clock care. And then in 2016, Dad who was a sculptor living in Vermont was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia. At 85, he could no longer live on his own.
Sadly, Mom passed away in October 2019 from a uterine tumor and Dad died suddenly in April 2020 from Covid-19.
These experiences made me realize how unprepared I was for life’s greatest challenges. How can I avoid the same fate? I knew I was not alone, and that there are millions of others who are entering their 50s, their midlife, who feel the same way. With all the challenges my family and I have gone through, Modern Aging could be a way for me to share our experiences and learnings as well as talk with others about alternative ways to live and be healthier.
On my travels around the world as a TV producer/director and documentary filmmaker, I began to ask questions about health and wellness especially for those of us in midlife. What practices in Japan are popular? How can India’s 5,000-year-old holistic practice Ayurveda help heal many common ailments? How can cannabis and CBD be used medically to treat pain, anxiety, insomnia, and a host of other illnesses? Why are so many people looking to retire in Mexico?
This led to Modern Aging.
We all wish to live as healthy as possible for as long as possible. But our backgrounds, where we live, what we like to do and eat are all different. That means that we need to have different approaches to health. There is not one pathway to longevity. I have sought out top experts from all over the world to help guide us in creating a plan that works for us and our families. One that can become a part of our lives, not just a fleeting trend as we enter the second half of life.
Join me as we redefine what it means to grow older with renewed purpose and passion for health and life.
Founder and CEO
What would you like to know about me?
In addition to being the Founder and CEO of Modern Aging, I am an integrative nutritional health coach. Though I am the host of the Modern Aging YouTube Channel, I have spent most of my career behind the camera as a producer and director of documentaries (Wings of Defeat, Broken Harmony: China’s Dissidents) and TV (HGTV – House Hunters International, Selling NY, Animal Planet, A&E).
After graduating from Bucknell University with a degree in East Asian Studies, I started working at the Bank of Tokyo. I then entered the world of higher education working at NYU as the Associate Director of the Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program and Institute where I got my Masters in Film and Education. In 2001, I moved on to run a non-profit organization, Asian CineVision and the Asian American International Film Festival. It was during this time that my mother had her stroke. It was a huge wake-up call for me and I knew if I wanted to become a full-time filmmaker, it was now or never. So, I chose now. I made several documentary films, lucky enough to travel and interview people from all over the world. The films were screened at numerous film festivals and aired on television in over 18 countries.
Throughout this time, my family and I were caregivers for my mother. She developed Parkinsons in 2009 and it became increasingly difficult to care for her. I felt like I needed a PhD to navigate the healthcare system! This proved to be hugely challenging and I often traveled to Japan to look for solutions. I was amazed by their holistic approach to care. Modern Aging was born from these experiences.
Through Modern Aging, I do deep dives and share my findings on alternative, global approaches to holistic health and wellness. Ayurveda, acupuncture, shiatsu, medical cannabis or functional and integrative medicine; the benefits of strength training; the wonders of medicinal herbs to the power of laughter…I was able to take my family tragedy and turn it into a way to share information and hopefully create better health for those in midlife.
Fun Facts About Me
- I was born in NYC. I am a Sagittarius (wassup my Sag brothers and sisters!)
- I played the flute in the marching band and was a cheerleader in high school.
- I didn’t start formally learning Japanese until I was 18. (Now I converse all the time with my family and friends in Japan)
- I lived in Kyoto, Japan for 2 years (one of my fave places on the planet…)
- My parents opened KuraBarn, the first Japanese restaurant on Long Island in 1975 (before anyone had ever heard of sushi or bento boxes). We recently closed KuraBarn in 2021 after 46 years in business.
- I have traveled to over 40 countries and 80+ cities.
- I helped cater Julia Robert’s 30th birthday party (and yes, she is as kind as you think).
- I married my college roommate/best friend’s brother in 1996.
- Friends and I rescued a street dog and her pup from Panama on a House Hunters International shoot. We kept the mama (Mimi is her name) and my friend adopted her pup (Willow).
- My husband and I adopted a 15 year old girl from Colombia in 2017. She’s now in college on a full music scholarship at Gettysburg College.
Nomadic freelance writer, editor, and travel blogger, Kirsten has seven years of experience writing for a variety of publications and websites. Her work has been published in BBC, BBC Travel, International Living, The Culture Trip, and various travel blogs. She currently runs a travel and expat lifestyle blog called Sand in My Curls.
Fun Facts About Me
- My first acting gig was when I was 7 and my family went to the Bahamas. I was baby Jesus in a play, a very old baby Jesus. I use the term acting loosely since all I had to do was lay there, in the manger, all wrapped up and sweating.
- I was an extra on the hit British TV show called Indian Summers. For 2 seasons, I was a wealthy British woman in India in 1932.
- I’ve been peed on by a chimp. In Ngamba Island, Uganda we spent the whole day playing and carrying the little guys around, and as I was toting one on my back, like a furry backpack, he just let loose. A hot stream of chimp pee soaked my back—he marked his territory. In Chimp-speak I’m sure that means we’re engaged.
- When I was little no one could pronounce my name, so I wanted to change it to Lyn, my parents refused to let me.
- I believe in the afterlife and have been visited by “ghosts.”
- In 2013 my hubs and I sold everything and moved to a little tropical island in Malaysia
- In 2022 we will be looking for a new home, in a new country, but we haven’t a clue where.
- I taught English as a foreign language in Brazil and South Africa.
- I am an adventurous eater. I’ve eaten every type of offal, including cow lung. Baby bats, fermented fish stomach, and beetles don’t scare me, but I am not a fan of worms – they weird me out in plants, on the sidewalk and especially in food . . . I just can’t do it.
I was the primary caregiver for my parents for 19 years. Through caring for them, I learned extensive home nursing and pharmaceutical skills. I am an avid chef being raised in a restaurant family. I enjoy incorporating whole foods and maximizing nutritional value in every meal. I am a licensed massage therapist having studied Swedish style and Shiatsu. I am a jack of many trades but really enjoy gardening, flower arranging, growing my own food, and spending time with my grandchildren.
Fun Facts About Me
- I was born in Tokyo and moved to the U.S. when I was 4 years old.
- I have an incredible long term memory…like really long. My first memory is from when I was 2.
- I LOVE to bake and cook.
- I’m a germ freak.
- I have a weakness for nice designer handbags (and shoes).
- I have 2 sons and 2 grandchildren.