SOLANA BEACH — After writing novels since his 20s and receiving hundreds of rejection letters, Alan Mindell finally got his debut as a published author — at 72 years old.
The longtime Santa Monica resident, who kept each rejection letter as a reminder to keep persevering, said he hopes his accomplishment would encourage others of his age to also be active and seize the day.
“If you believe in what you’re doing and you believe you have something to say, good things can happen,” Mindell said. “Hopefully my achievements will give inspiration to other seniors to never give up.”
Publishing his first book is only one in a list of accomplishments for the active senior. He took home four gold medals for sprinting events at the San Diego Senior Olympics last year, recently founded his own tour company for seniors and runs racehorses at tracks from Phoenix to Hollywood Park.
But it hasn’t always been easy for Mindell. He wrote his book, called “The Closer,” about the dream he never got to live — one of playing big league baseball. “The Closer” is about a man named Terry who, in his 30s, finally gets the chance to play in Major League Baseball. Mindell, on the other hand, played baseball for three years at UC Berkeley, but wasn’t good enough to make it through the tryouts for the big leagues.
This hasn’t stopped Mindell, however, from staying active. He heads over to the track at Santa Monica College about three times a week to practice sprinting. He swims once or twice a week, and dances both swing and zydeco, a type of dance that blends blues and Creole influences.
Mindell said he hopes his persistence and success in staying active and not giving up will help fellow seniors from getting discouraged by age.
Often, staying active isn’t a matter of physical fitness, but of a person’s mindset, said Grace Cheng Braun, president and CEO of WISE & Healthy Aging, a nonprofit that provides services to seniors. Cheng Braun said age doesn’t have to stop anyone from living an active life, as long as that person takes charge of his or her health and has the right perspective.
Seniors can swim, bicycle, dance, walk or do any number of activities to be active and, just as importantly, be social, Cheng Braun added.
“I think it’s a mindset. Those who look at the glass as half full, look at life as … wow, another day to get active,” Cheng Braun said. “Mindset has a great deal of influence.”
It is this mindset of not giving up that Mindell hopes his book will portray to his readers and to fellow seniors. In his writing, he always gives his characters significant problems to overcome. “The Closer,” for instance, is not just a baseball story, but a love story about Terry and the woman he falls in love with. He finds that she has a life-threatening condition, and they are met with obstacles they need to overcome together.
“But (the characters) always make the most of it. They don’t give up, and they keep going,” he said. “Let’s make the most of our life.”
“The Closer” is available online for purchase at Amazon.com.