By sheer good fortune, I happened to discover "The Life of Riley" blog soon after it launched last February with "Olive's First Post:"
"Good Morning everyone. My name is Olive Riley. I live in Australia near Sydney. I was born in Broken Hill on Oct. 20th 1899. Broken Hill is a mining town, far away in the centre of Australia. My Friend, Mike, has arranged this blog for me. He is doing the typing and I am telling the stories. . . .”
Olive’s friend is award-winning Australian filmmaker Mike Rubbo, who decided to document Olive's personal stories on a truly fascinating blog, or "blob," as she calls it.
There are three reasons I'm bringing Olive's blog to your attention (in addition to a well-deserved acknowledgment of her birthday):
1. There's nothing like hearing the stories of a 108-year-old woman to get some perspective on how life has changed over the course of a century and how our consumer expectations have become so ridiculously inflated.
2. By her second post, Olive was already making a point about the joys of buying local produce and the hazards of a political process gone wrong.
3. Mike's reasons for helping Olive share her history -- and attain the status of the World's Oldest Blogger -- have a larger purpose, too. In his words:
"Olive's blog is dedicated to taking the fear of the Internet away for older folks . . . We believe that the Internet is actually the natural friend of the older person. As personal mobility lessens, it can be replaced by the freedom to roam with this amazing new technology. The Internet lets the older user travel around the world and have friends across the globe, all with the click of a mouse. All that stands in the way for the older person is the fear of technology they don't understand. While Olive does not see well enough to type her own blog, or load the photos or the movie clips, you can see from the blog that she's fully involved with what she's achieving through the aid of others."
Blogging is a fabulous way for all of us who have similar concerns to connect across national borders, cultural divides, and barriers of age so that we can achieve our common goals: a sustainable way of life; mutual respect even in the face of challenging differences; and, most significantly, a peaceful world. Surely a 108-year-old woman can benefit, and benefit us, by participating in our dialogue.
Please take a moment to stop by Olive's entertaining blog and wish her a very happy birthday!