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Name: Eileen Nawa
Age: 74
From: Cerritos Baptist Church, Cerritos

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment?

Two years ago, I ran a half marathon at the age of 72. … That was a big accomplishment because we had to train for it.

What is your weekly schedule like?

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have a Pi-Yo class (Pilates and yoga), and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have a total fitness aerobics and weights class. I also go to tai chi on Tuesdays, and I walk with my friends on Fridays. I try to work out every day. Exercise is really important for me.

I walk with two of my friends. It’s good that I have the accountability and support. Walking goes faster, too, when we can do it together. Today, this afternoon, we are walking at the mall. If it gets too hot at the park, we go to the mall so we don’t have an excuse to not walk. (laughs)

I was an elementary school teacher, and I retired in 2005, but my weeks are always full! I don’t know why, but I enjoy getting together with people, like with my friends, and doing my church activities.

What do you look forward to each week?

I like to travel, and I belong to several travel groups. There’s a group that goes fishing at Mammoth every summer, which I just came back from.

I’ve also been traveling with a group of friends, who wanted to do a weekend getaway when they all had small children. We began traveling together annually, and in 2021, we will have traveled together for 30 years. This past April, we went to Portland.

I like to do one long trip each year, too. I’ve been to Japan eight times. I have family there, but I started going with this one group that take tours. I still feel I don’t know Japan well, but I enjoy it there. In October this year, I am going to Korea with another friend.

I also look forward to my Korean dramas. I was in Mammoth this past weekend, so I am looking forward to catching up on them this week.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Two years ago, I ran a half marathon at the age of 72. It was a fundraiser to get supporters to provide clean water to Africa. I only did it once, but that was a big accomplishment because we had to train for it. They gave us a workout schedule, from the couch to the day-of.

What contributes to your happiness?

Getting together with friends. And traveling, too.

Has your definition of happiness has changed over time?

Probably … but I’m not sure how it’s changed.

For me, my life has always been centered around my relationship with God, as I’m a Christian. When I was younger, more material things were important to me, but I’ve matured. It’s not the material things, but it’s the relationships and being satisfied with what God gives me and being blessed with that.

I’ve been fortunate to have material things, but I’m grateful and thankful for what I have and don’t monku about things.

What three things sustain your quality of life?

Exercise, my relationship with God and my friends. Exercise also encompasses being healthy, too.

Are there any barriers that prevent you from having your desired quality of life?

I am lazy. (laughs) I could get lazy if I don’t have things scheduled, saying, “Well, tomorrow we can do that.” So sometimes, scheduling of my time is important.

What is it in your life that most influenced the way you live today?

My relationship with God, and my church. I grew up in Sunday school; my parents were not Christian or of any faith, but the pastor from church came and invited me to Sunday school, and that’s how I grew up.

Also, my grandfather started the Norwalk Japanese school because the community wanted it. My grandfather used his land to start the school, and eventually bought the land next to it to build one. Right by where  my grandparents’ land used to be, there is a street named after us, Nawa Lane. The Nawa family has a long history in Norwalk. 

Do you have any goals you are working towards right now?

I don’t have a bucket list like a lot of people do. If someone suggests something, I’m usually open to it.

A lot of my friends have different interests, and that’s how I get into them. My friend, who is a huge Dodgers fan, retired a few years ago. She wanted to go to spring training in Arizona, so the last two years I’ve gone there and because of her I’ve become a Dodgers fan.

I just enjoy each day and each year as it comes, and it seems like I’m blessed to have the finances and support and friends to be able to do a lot of different things.

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