The only way is up: Everest mountaineer Pat Falvey starts a Forever Young Club

Adventurer Pat Falvey has launched a new initiative to help people over the age of 50 to shift attitudes and achieve their goals, writes Margaret Jennings.

The only way is up: Everest mountaineer Pat Falvey starts a Forever Young Club

Adventurer Pat Falvey has launched a new initiative to help people over the age of 50 to shift attitudes and achieve their goals, writes Margaret Jennings.

He's climbed to the top of the world; taken part in 155 global expeditions and lived with 32 tribes, but Cork-born adventurer and inspirational speaker, Pat Falvey, has set yet another goal: to entice those of us aged 50 and upwards to defy the Grim Reaper, by living life to the full.

The 61-year-old has all the credentials of course. Having taken on death-defying challenges throughout his career, he uses the undeniable fact that we all must die, to really live — rather than frighten ourselves with the prospect.

“You are not able to beat statistics. I say to my kids ‘one day I am going to die’ and they say ‘stop talking about dying’.

But because I realise I’m dying, I’m going to really live. From the moment you’re born, you are dying.

Now he wants to instil that mindset in those of us edging forward a bit on life’s journey. Although he’s made his mark on history already — which includes being the first person in the world to complete the Seven Summits twice, by climbing Mount Everest from its north and south side – his current aim is to create “a legacy piece” and it’s called the Forever Young Club.

“For me now, the Forever Young Club is the stamp I want to leave by the time I die; it’s not about mountaineering, it’s that we will have this community going of positive-minded people, who are part of a tribe, who believe that ageing is good and that we can have a great life to the end,” he tells Feelgood.

Officially launched last month on his new website, the Forever Young Club was first conceived by Falvey when he himself hit the half-century mark, over a decade ago.

“I was pontificating about healthy ageing and more people became attracted to what I was saying. Then suddenly all these people were doing stuff like walking in the Camino and then some of them challenged themselves to do Kilimanjaro base camp and expanded their minds by doing foreign travel,” he says.

“They were going to places they never thought they would do, like off with Buddhists, or going to the Antarctic.”

Then over the next number of years, this group of people grew to about 400-500 in membership.

“What happened then was the 60-year-olds started to develop a 40-year-old attitude and the 80-year-olds became like 60-year-olds and the 90-year-olds, 70s, so it actually took their mindset back by 20 and 30 years, by joining in the activities we were doing.”

Witnessing these people become “younger in their attitude, younger in their ambitions, younger in the fact that they were living life,” spurred Pat on to build an even bigger community, joining forces with Forever Young Club director, Jim Kirwan, a 63-year-old wellness coach and author.

On the website the club is described as a “50-plus community which empowers our members to develop an active, healthy and sustainable lifestyle, allowing you to achieve your goals and most importantly do all the things you want to do in the future.”

“In Forever Young we are about being optimistic, having hope, accepting yourself, staying connected with the community, finding purpose, mastering your environment,” says Pat.

People who join up for free will be kept up to date with events and receive motivational and educational newsletters, but those on a premium paid membership receive additional benefits including podcasts from experts on lifestyle themes and discounted rates on seminars and events.

Pat says there is “a movement to stop ageism around the world” and a movement to stop people who are aging, thinking about it negatively. He hopes the club will meet that zeitgeist.

“Apart from Ireland, we have people interested in the Forever Young Club already in Australia, Canada and England so in the next couple of years our target is to move that membership from the 500 we have now, up to 150,000 in two years and up to 2million in 12 years,” he says.

Setting its target age at 50 plus is a deliberate move to appeal to people to not put off “living” until they reach retirement. “

For those who retire at 65, statistics indicate that there are “just 15 good years of life left if we survive,” he points out.

“We spend all our lives working and scrimping and scraping and then someone says ‘we will wait until we retire’ to do stuff, but what they’re not realising is that they’re only going to get between 15 and 18 years and a lot will be dead before they get there and it’s all for nothing.

“Every day I get up ... I’m gratified for the fact that I’m still alive. Because 50 climbers I’ve climbed with, are dead. So it’s about getting into the right mindset – it’s about getting people into the attitude to live; to live life to the full, even if you’re dying…”

Check out the Forever Young Club website at https://patfalvey.com/foreveryoungclub/

More in this section

Click and connect: 100 places in Munster to shop locally this Christmas

#HomeAtHeart

We want to help you to connect with the people you love, but may not see, this Christmas.  Every Saturday, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we will publish your messages in print and online, starting November 28.

Say it here, in the Irish Examiner.