Octogenarian US comedian, Lynn Ruth Miller, joined us for lunch and inspired us with her wisdom, vitality and irreverent sense of humour.
‘Not Dead Yet’ was the title of Lynn Ruth Miller’s last stand-up show. Not the show where she takes all her clothes off on stage – that’s called ‘Alzheimer’s Alzheimer’s, Cha Cha Cha’.
These were was just some of many surprises shared by Lynn Ruth when she joined us for lunch this week.
At 81, Lynn Ruth says life is very different. “The older you are, the better you were,” she tells us with a wry chuckle.
She says that when your body stops being able to do the things you used to enjoy, it’s easy to allow that to become the sound track of your life, sitting around bemoaning the good old days and descending into smaller and smaller circles. Not for Lynn Ruth. She tells us she took a conscious decision to celebrate what’s in her mind. “I refuse to let my body dictate what I can or can’t do.”
She’s not kidding. She took up stand-up at the age of 71, having never done it before. She won the Texas International Burlesque Dance Competition in her seventies. She decided to come and move to Brighton and live in a foreign land for the first time only last year. After lunch with us she was off to perform in a Stand-up show in London, then she was flying up to Scotland the next day to write her show for the Edinburgh Festival. Her tenth year there.
What’s her secret? “I tell people, you need to wake up each day and make it the very best day it can be. That doesn’t mean it will be a secure day. Or a safe day. It needs to be an exciting day, even if you’re sitting at home.”
Ben and Karen invited Lynn Ruth for lunch for three reasons: Firstly, she’s great company – funny, sharp, surprising and engaging. Secondly she’s a real inspiration and the embodiment of everything that Do Something Different is all about. And finally, they hope that she may play a role in helping us to design an older people programme that can help people to break out of that spiral of decline she talked about and encourage older people to get the most out of life.
I don’t think we’ll call it the ‘Not Dead Yet’ programme tho…
You can find out more about Lynn Ruth and find out where to catch one of her upcoming shows on her website at http://lynnruthmiller.com