Married for 67 years, Ian Stace has four great grandchildren and still does the dishes every night after dinner. He is a man now losing his sight and his hearing but is never without an ageless twinkle in his eye and a razor-sharp view on the world.
What’s happening in the 2013 world of Ian Stace?
Thinking of what I look forward to this year has got to be limited by my physical ability; my failing eyesight and hearing ability means that I cannot but look to a fairly inactive year. I have always been very interested and remain so in the affairs of the world and have been quite an avid paper reader. I now have great difficulty reading the paper and unfortunately the headlines in the Dominion are some orangey colour and they are the hardest things to read. I am considering writing to the paper again. I did once when they did black on grey and they changed it and I think they need to consult an eyesight specialist now for older people to read the paper. However, I realise that in two weeks time, I’m going to be 99 years old and, at that age, I imagine it’s not unusual for people to have limited physical ability. I think I am very lucky in that, so far, I don’t think I have lost my mental ability.
For a person of my age, technical developments in the world are bewildering and it is of very great interest to follow what has been achieved. To be able to see events happening as they happen all over the world is really mind-boggling when you compare it with the ability to do such things 80 or more years ago. This, of course, means that what the media say and their own views about events in the world have often got to be reasoned out rather than always totally accepted as fact and that alone is a very interesting and time-consuming activity, which is of great interest to a person of my age.
What inspires you?
I find it difficult to define the difference between inspire and challenge. One thing I would say is that when you are reasonably tired, partly because of your age, to get up and do something that you know you have to do is a challenge and you’ve got to inspire yourself to do it.
Inspire can also mean that somebody does things and you’ll be inspired to copy them. Somebody can probably do it better but you do it just the same.
I would say, in general terms, you should always have an objective of doing better in the various activities in which you take part. I did activities because I wanted to do better and I was inspired to do it because it ought to be better. I worked long hours because I wanted to do a better job.
Describe the most generous person you know and how they influenced you.
If I had to define what generosity is to me, I would say in most respects it would be my wife. She has been a wonderful companion for 67 and a half years and has never had the ‘where-with-all’ to throw money around but has accepted the fact that we have not been in that position and her generosity in her kindness and help has been outstanding.
‘Generosity’ is very hard to define because some ‘generous’ people do it in kind deeds whereas others who may have great wealth can be so called ‘generous’ in what they give in wealth. I think that more often than not, the ability to be generous with money and goods is classed ahead of generosity in terms of kindness and help. I think they’re two quite different things.
Name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated.
I believe your question should be broader than just thinking about what one individual can do. I believe a group can do bigger and more powerful actions and there are so many groups that could be classified. However, if I had to say one group that in every respect has contributed to helping mankind that would be The Salvation Army. Ever since I was young, I’ve always admired their ability to help people in trouble from the poor to those suffering from alcoholism.