Aging Is Optional Radio


013 - Adventures with Suzanne Stavert

Season 1, Ep. 13

Aging Is Optional Radio Episode 13 features Luxury Travel/Food Blogger and creator of Adventures Of Empty Nesters, my great friend Suzanne Stavert. Learn about Suzanne's background and the story of how she was able to share her passion, build an audience and ultimately travel the world representing destinations, brands and travel companies. It really is an amazing story. Suzanne's website is and she can also be found on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook @suzannestavert.


Thanks again for joining me on Aging Is Optional Radio. I hope you found some value in this episode. That’s really my goal. You can find the podcast on iTunes and I’d really appreciate it if you would subscribe and give it a rating and I love receiving comments! 

You can also find it in the Google Play Store, on TuneIn Radio, on Stitcher, The Podcast App, PocketCasts, CastBox and Pippa. And I’ll be adding more channels in the future including YouTube. If you like what you hear please be sure to share the podcast with your friends and on social media.  You can also reach me directly at if you have any questions, want to suggest any topics or if you want to be interviewed or to interview me. Until next time, Thanks, everybody!

More Episodes


012 - Fatherhood

Season 1, Ep. 12
We celebrated father's day recently and I got to thinking about second chances and fatherhood.On September 18, 2014 Piper was born at Prentice Women's hospital in downtown Chicago. Shannon had a C-Section and Piper spend a couple nights in the NIC Unit.I'll never forget our relief when she was able to spend more time with us in our room and eventually overnight.There's actually a picture that the photographer took of me holding Piper looking down at this helpless perfect baby. I get emotional every time I look at it and think about it. I want to love her and protect her. I want to be the best father I can be for her. I want my wife to be proud of me. I want to be an example to other fathers. I especially want to be an example to fathers my age, Baby Boomers who might be getting a second chance at fatherhood. Even an example for hands-on grandparents who have young children living with them in their homes now.I remember thinking at the time we found out Shannon was pregnant with Piper, being a Baby Boomer, was I too old? Will I have the energy to keep up with her? Would we be able to afford to raise her wherever we lived, let alone pay for college? How would raising Piper affect my relationship with my daughters Molly and Riley her half sisters?I did the best that I could 26 years ago. I was a different man back then. I love them, but looking back, I know that I wasn't always the best father to them. I wasn't always there for them. I loved them when they were young, and as they were growing up, and I love them deeply today, but I was selfish back then.I wasn't always physically and emotionally present for them. Would I be able to learn from the past? Would I be the father to Piper that God and Molly and Riley always wanted me to be?When the doctors told us the Piper would have to spend the night in the NIC Unit I knew it was serious. I prayed that she would come through it okay. I was there for Shannon and I knew I would be there for Piper no matter what!I always come back to the picture of us together. It's a stark black and white photo and there is an energy to it. The sunlight flowing through the window behind us. Holding this tiny helpless girl, this little baby in my hands.I knew I was going to be the best father I could be for her!Last Father's Day in church the pastor's sermon was titled how to become a strong family the call of fatherhood and he quoted Philippians chapter three thirteen but one thing I do forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead that's something I've learned through my experience and I try to practice every day I can't do anything about the past how I was as a father I can't dwell on it but I can learn from it I don't have to be perfect but I can't make progress every week come with Piper Thursday and Friday evenings after Shannon goes to work and when I finish my work day I mostly whether all day Saturdays and Sundays every day I try to be present for Piper there's so much to do here in Dallas we are always doing an activity of some kind we go to the parks into our pool we go to the movies go to soccer practice in our games we go to the farmers markets in minor league baseball games we go to museums one of her favorite things to do is go to an indoor trampoline park called urban air this place is huge she really has fun there wall climbing and doing obstacle courses bouncing all over the building diving into the ball pet jousting with other kids on the balance beam she's gotten so much confidence and strength from going there over the last few months she's really fearless and I'm so proud of her on Sundays I take her to Sunday school at our church and I pick her up after I get done going to service we pick up Graham after that at home and take her to church and then Piper and I have a tea party at Starbucks it's our special time together on Sundays we really love it she's a very social girl much like Malian Riley I see a lot of them in her everyone at our school loves her and she loves everyone she's just a loving girl she loves music and has always requesting her favorite songs she's always wanted to be the DJ to she's very aware of her surroundings and asks a lot of questions we really have good conversations and our time together and we have so much fun there was a boy a N. papers class last year she was going to preschool he was very disruptive and physical and he got a lot of attention early on in the car after school pepper would mention things he didn't class yelling throwing toys and books and blocks hitting and jumping on other kids we Auster of these things ever happen to her and she said yes this happened enough that Shannon and I knew it was time to take action we talked to her teachers about it but they seem to be at their wit's end they even had extra help in the class they couldn't control this boy we felt really bad for them I sent a very direct email to the school administrator requesting a meeting my number one goal is to protect my daughter Shannon and I were very up front with them we wanted them to know we love the school but we love Piper more her safety was our number one priority we felt that our classroom was an unsafe environment he wanted to know what they were doing about it if they couldn't resolve the situation would have to remove her from the school they said they had talked extensively with the boy's family they're doing the best they could seeking help and they told us that they had a three strikes rule in place for the boy if you broke the three strikes he would be gone we felt more comfortable that there was a plan for correcting the problem in the paper would ultimately be safe after that things are much better at her school as a father I try to be consistent with Piper I see a lot of myself in her she's very spontaneous and outgoing but sometimes shy I try to help her with boundaries without holding her back too much I wanted to always know she's loved by both her parents and their family is the most important thing to us she helps us become better parents I know I can't do anything about the past and how I was as a father to Molly and Riley they're adults living their lives in Los Angeles and Seattle I couldn't be more proud of them and I love them with all my heart all I can do is communicate with them and tell them I love them I believe that the next best thing I can do is to be the best father I can for Piper and to learn from the past I believe that the love and energy I pour into Piper resonates outward from us I don't know what happens from there god is in charge of the outcome but I do believe that it is good I also believe that this second chance a baby boomer fatherhood is the greatest opportunity of my life and I'm not going to waste it thanks again for joining me on aging is optional radio I hope you found some value in this episode it's really my goal you can find the podcast on iTunes and I'd really appreciate it if you could subscribe and give it a rating I love receiving comments and if you think about it please share it with your friends on social media you can also find it on Google play store and tune in radio on stitcher pocket cast cast box and paper and I'll be adding more channels in the future including YouTube you can also reach me directly at mark at aging is optional radio dot com if you have any questions want to be a guest on the show or maybe you want to have me as a guest on your podcast please shoot me an email and I also love suggestions for topics until next time thanks everybody thank you so much for listening please remember to subscribe on iTunes wherever you can finance give us a rating love your feedback would you like to see the ultimate eighteen checklist five minute guide anti aging for free if so will register you Jean it's optional radio dot com until next time thanks everybody

011 - United We Stand

Season 1, Ep. 11
Hello everybody! I'm sorry it's been awhile since I last publishing episode. I started working for a great company in the trade show industry which I worked in for about the last eighteen years. The people I work with are amazing and the support I've received has been more than I could ever ask for. I'm truly grateful!I've also had the opportunity to travel back to our corporate office in Chicago twice since starting in the training spend so great each training trip spent about a week long. And one other thing, we also moved from Plano Texas to McKinney Texas which is, you know, a pretty short distance but it was a long process for us to get settled into our new home. We love our new home and we're grateful to be here for the long term.Now that things are settling down I should be able to get back to of solid rhythm of publishing my podcast on a more regular basis. I have some really exciting ideas I'd like to discuss,I'm also going to be interviewing some amazing thought leaders on the topic of aging in the near future. Well let's get started on this episode!Back in 1985 I had just finished college and you know I'd been working a little bit and I'd been planning a trip to Europe with one of my friends Tommy. We were going to be in Europe for a total of about six weeks and we were really excited about it! We were going to go to England and Belgium then Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Greece and back to England and then home.Germany was by far my favorite! I just love that country! I got a chance to visit my dad's birth place which was in Frankfort. We went to Munich and explored this beautiful city and the Hofbrauhaus Munchen. It was something that was just beyond my imagination! It was so huge!We took a trip out to Dachau one of the concentration camps. We got to see the horrible conditions and the stories of the people of the Holocaust. It was really something that touched my heart and I'll never forget it.We also took a trip down the Rhine river and I'll never forget the castle's plucked up right up in the hill sides these beautiful amazing castles as the river meanders through that part of the country we stayed in route to shine on the Rhine in you know visited with some of the local spots we went to Baden Baden and stayed there for a couple nights and got to experience the Roman Irish bass which is really unique I'm so much history in Berlin we stayed on the west side and we toured all around the city we also went to the Brandenburg gate which is a very very famous location and at that time Ronald Reagan was early in his second term there is a lot of tension between the US and Russia at that time so there was a real global feeling that something might happen remember Reagan's famous speech in nineteen eighty seven Mr Gorbachev tear down that wall I think I'm saying it correctly as part of our experience in nineteen eighty five in Berlin we visited the wall and we actually went through a checkpoint Charlie which is the most famous location I think for tourists %HESITATION certainly to to go through from east to west and west to east there armed guards they were carrying machine grinds it was really intimidating they made us by a certain amount of east German marks as soon as we walked across the border and so we were in the cities per lan and the contrast couldn't have been more stark West Berlin was lively and bright and beautiful and fine in East Berlin was dark and grey and really kind of depressing we went and did some touristy things we went to their tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a little bit of sightseeing and %HESITATION towards the end of our time there we decide to stop off at a cafe right near the square and I remember sitting down with my friend Tommy and %HESITATION this person that was sitting nearest leaned over and he asked to see if we were Americans and he didn't spank you English very well and we didn't speak German but we're somehow able to communicate with our new friend Carl the communist and I'll stay I'll never forget he he really had an impression from Reagan Ronald Reagan %HESITATION he called in the share of any kept saying bang bang and I guess there is some connection with you know Reagan this film career when he played a cowboy and and many of the movies but there is also real respect from Carl %HESITATION for us being from America in for America and the west but we really couldn't wait to get back to the west so we gave him the rest of our east German marks and we you know made our way back to check point Charlie and back across to West Berlin in the night life in the energy and all that history that that city had to provide it was really something that all never forget and even though I got to see both sides of Berlin I'll never forget the stark divide that existed there getting to see the world is an amazing experience it's broadened my horizons I've gotten to explore different cultures I've gotten to see the birthplace of my father we raise Molly and Riley to be world travelers they've traveled the world an experienced amazing things from a very young age I was concerned at the time about the cost of this trip I didn't really have any income I didn't have a job yet %HESITATION but I really wanted to take this trip before I enter the job market and I had a lot of things on my bucket list that I wanted to see that I really understand and appreciate the price so many people paid for my freedom the history of that place World War one World War two all that our country had had done in order to give us the safety and security that we have in America everywhere we went throughout that trip through Europe there are people asking us where we were from and we always said were from California and that usually elicited a reaction to how do we like visiting their country they asked us all kinds of questions and universally everybody wanted to visit America and they wanted to come to California to we actually got to celebrate the fourth of July at a party in Italy and I remember talking to one of the girls there and she asked me a pretty interesting question she said why is it that when she visits the United States she has to speak English but when Americans come to Italy they have to speak English to us not that there was an interesting observation everybody dreamed of visiting the United States and you know that experience helped me really feel that I was living in a place that was truly blessed I recognized at that time that I lived in the greatest country on earth that travel experience helped me realize that and reinforce that nearly forty years since that trip I still feel the exact same way have you traveled outside of the United States what are your observations when you leave the United States and go to places like Europe or Asia do you see how truly blessed we are we live in a country with unmatched opportunity the land of abundance there's no limit to what we can accomplish or earn it's up to us to do the work we are free to express our thoughts on any subject and to make our own decisions we're free to protect ourselves and our families we are one United States made up of the most diverse population on the planet we are welcoming of people from other countries and other parts of the world we're the leader of the free world and our future is incredibly bright and our president is actually quite amazing why are we being told that we are a divided country at this amazing time in our history who's telling us this if you turn on the fake news you hear it all the time that we're divided that were racist that we're not treating people well that we're not taking care of people what is it that triggered this divide you don't have to look very far back you can trace it back to two years ago the twenty sixteen election there is a percentage of people who still haven't accepted the outcome of the election the people that were running for election the people there were covering the election the people that were in office at the time of the election our country prides itself on having a smooth and peaceful transition of power from one president to the next for some reason there were a group of people who are looking for an excuse as to why the election didn't turn out the way it should have in their minds after more than two years of constant drumbeat of negative information of collusion and Russia and obstruction and all these things incredible overwhelming flood of negative news coverage all of this has really put a damper on our country but I remain optimistic I remain positive I remain hopeful for our country I truly believe that the percentage of people in our country that feel the way the media tries to tell us how we feel is actually very small I believe in the eighty twenty rule I think eighty percent of the people in our country except the outcome of the election and are ready to move forward and have been since the beginning I think there are a lot of people that really don't pay that much attention to the outcome of the election and all they really care about is their own personal interests their bank account their job their safety their security and I do believe that things in our country have gotten better since that election the economy has gotten better just look at the stock market just look at your four oh one K. just look at your earnings unemployment is in historic lows these are facts this is data this is information that's readily available the media won't tell you a lot of these things but unemployment is historically low in the black community in the Latin community and in the Asian community income is up taxes are lower the stock market is booming small business prosperity has been growing at an amazing rate every segment of the economy is doing well and I'm grateful for that and I think more people should be looking at the positive rather than listening to the make negative and I did do an episode on fake news and how stress can be induced by the fake news and I still don't listen to the news I don't watch the news and I recommend for your own personal well being to avoid the news search out information on your own research it on the internet look to multiple sources talk to people really talk to people talk to people in your family outside the family at work in your neighborhood in your church connect with people about what they're thinking about their lives how they feel about their lives reach out and help them we don't need to be divided we shouldn't be divided I don't believe were divided we live in the greatest country on earth United we stand together there are forces that want to divide us but I know that they will not be successful America always succeeds America always advances America always overcomes challenges we're facing some real challenges now but I have tremendous confidence and faith in our people in our country in in the people leading us that we're headed in the right direction and you know what in twenty twenty will have an opportunity for another election in every four years we get to decide as a people the outcome of that election I'm not in control of the out com but I'm very excited for this next election and I hope you are too and I hope you continue to believe in the United States of America United we stand that's my message on this episode and I hope that resonates with you thanks again for joining me on aging is optional radio hope you found some value in this episode that's really my goal you can find the podcast on iTunes and I'd really appreciate it if you could subscribe and give it a rating I love receiving comments you can also find it on Google play store on tune in radio on stitcher pocket cast cast box in pepper and I'll be adding more channels in the future including YouTube if you like what you hear please be sure to share the podcast with your friends and on social media you can also reach me directly at mark at aging is optional radio dot com if you have any questions or want to suggest any topics until next time thanks everybody thank you so much for listening please remember to subscribe on iTunes or wherever you can finance give us a rating love your feedback would you like to see the ultimate eighteen checklist in five minute guide anti aging for free if so %HESITATION register aging is optional radio dot com until next time thanks everybody