An 89-year-old Visionary: Still Working, Still Playing

by Nancy Zwiers | 25 Apr 2022

The Bloom Report

An 89-year-old Visionary: Still Working, Still Playing

By Nancy Zwiers

Note:  Picture from Dad’s 89th birthday celebration February 2022.


Today is the day my 89-year-old dad, Don, and his wife, Vera, are moving to assisted living.  Cognitive decline is now the determining factor, even in the face of excellent physical health.   


In the twilight of his life, Don Zwiers models staying active, remaining playful from cradle to grave, and keeping on working ‘til the end.  He’s an inspiration!


Two of the most fundamental play patterns are Exploration & Discovery and Challenge & Mastery.  Trained as an engineer at renown Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Dad seamlessly combines these play patterns in his day-to-day life in a way that blurs the lines between work and play.  He is “forever young” as a result.


Some of the ways he has stayed active working-playing throughout his 80’s:

  • Planting, tending, and harvesting a large garden
  • Building bird houses and bird feeders along with birdwatching
  • Rebuilding his deck single-handedly at 86.
  • Building a complex rain barrel system at age 87
  • Clearing and painting the garage just this week, on the eve of his big move

Most importantly:  For the last 15 years, my dad has explored many perspectives about humankind’s challenges (both online and in books), connected the dots, and developed a multi-point plan for solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.  Over the course of this effort, he has challenged himself to reach out to people in power to sell his vision—in his city, his state, his country and the United Nations.


It started around 2008, when Dad started educating himself on our healthcare system as a foundation to argue for universal healthcare.  That led to his studying models of taxation, looking for the optimal approach to funding universal healthcare.  He became convinced that a consumption tax was the fairest way for everyone to co-fund healthcare at a level that corresponded to his/her means. 


Ultimately, the more Dad read about human history, geopolitics, and the biggest problems facing humankind, he became convinced that the solutions truly needed to be global.  This became his passion project, one that gave his life a robust sense of purpose post-retirement in his mid-70’s, right on up to the present moment (and beyond).


His global vision is truly visionary—which may be why, as of 2022, Dad has yet to gain traction with the powers that be.  Perhaps it will take decades (centuries?) for the world to catch up with his beautiful vision of global unity.


Dad was not merely engaging in a thought experiment—he fully intends to make a positive impact on the world with his work.  He has met with rejection hundreds of times, and still he remains committed to “solving the world’s problems.” That level of commitment is powerful--I promised him that I would help him spread the word about his vision.


The core components of Dad’s plan to solve key problems in the world:


  • Sustainability as a response to climate change: recycling, upcycling, re-using, diligent(!) composting and energy conservation. Dad’s been doing this since the 70’s.  For example, the business he founded, Deco-Link, was based on repurposing his former employer’s scrap fiberglass into useful formats to save it from the landfill, given it would not quickly break down.


  • Unified Global Government through United Nations and eliminating the veto so the United Nations is empowered to effectively lead globally. (Dad has taken to heart the 32 human rights authored by the United Nations but he believes the veto power effectively neuters the United Nations.


  • Global Monetary System managed by the International Monetary Fund based on a new cryptocurrency tied to the US dollar.


  • A Universal Consumption Tax to fund equitable distribution of resources including universal health care. (Health care is a human right.)


  • Everyone Votes at their precinct level and candidates communicate their positions via a website, with money eliminated from politics.


  • Liability Insurance required for gun owners, such that marketplace dynamics help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous gun owners.


Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with any of these general thrusts, you’ve got admit—working passionately every day to solve the world’s problems (at age 89!) reflects the grand intersection of work and play and passion!  This interplay is a powerful force for helping us stay young and vital no matter our age.


  • How can Don Zwiers’ passion inspire YOUR PASSION?


working-playing forever young

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