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Empowering Aging Canadians

Don’t Stop Believin’: Aging Gracefully with Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John discusses her life, journey, and how she embodies her “Don’t Stop Believin'” motto as she stays positive — and ages gracefully.

Mediaplanet: With over five decades of entertainment success, what does “Don’t Stop Believin’” mean to you?

Olivia Newton-John: “Don’t Stop Believin’” is a special song written by my long-time producer, songwriter, and friend John Farrar. The song means so much to me on many levels — professionally and personally. The message of the song is simply to not stop believing, even on your worst days.  It’s the reason why I chose it as the title for my new memoir.

As you’re best known for your strength, courage, and grace, what do you think is the key to healthy aging?

I think the key to healthy aging is just using common sense. Eat healthy foods, exercise, do something you enjoy doing every day, and laugh — a lot! I laugh as often as I can — and often at myself!  I find humour in most situations because a sense of humour about life and myself is so integral to my healing.  

Amidst your busy daily life, how do you stay positive?

I stay positive because we really only have two choices — being positive or negative. I choose to be positive because I feel if you put out positive energy, it will return to you ten-fold!  I stay positive because I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful husband, family, animals, and friends. Those are really the important things to help keep you happy and healthy!

Can you tell us about your experience with cancer? Has it changed your outlook on life?

I know it will sound strange, but my diagnosis in 1992 was a gift. Had I not been diagnosed, I may never have set out to help create the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre (ONJCWRC) in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia. It’s a beautiful place with traditional treatments, a dedicated wellness centre, and a research centre all under one roof. I’ve always been a very positive person so that’s how I choose to look at things.

Cancer doesn’t define you, it’s only a part of who you are, but my outlook on life has changed — even more especially this time, with my third diagnosis. I do something I enjoy every day and I don’t sweat the small stuff, and I try to always live in the moment. Every day is a gift!

What gives you the motivation to be such a strong figure for so many women who have breast cancer?

I didn’t plan on it. Having had cancer now three times, I’ve had many years to adjust to it and talk about it. Having helped create and build the ONJCWRC has been a passion of mine for the last 15 years and being open about my cancer journey has helped other women on theirs, I believe. That makes me feel good — and it’s encouraging for them that I’m still here! It’s encouraging for me too!

Learning from your own experience, what do you think was the most important lesson? Is there one message you’d like people to know?

I’ve learned so many lessons, but I think my main one is gratitude — for every day. For every sunrise and sunset. The appreciation of life in all its beauty — it’s all a gift.

Olivia Newton-John and her dog
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