I’m most familiar with Dick Van Dyke from his role as Bert in my 2nd favorite live action Disney movie, Mary Poppins. I always like to imagine that Mary and Bert had a romance and Bert was just as magical in his aging ways as Mary Poppins seemed to be.
In Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging, Dick Van Dyke gives us some insight into his long Hollywood career and why he can’t stop dancing. The book is full of little reminders that being our age and acting it are two different things separated by the fac that one we have to do and the other is voluntary
What Can We Learn?
I’m a millennial so I’m far from worrying about grey hairs and colonoscopies (both familiar territory for Dick Van Dyke these days) but I’ve been feeling old and looking at how young Dick Van Dyke acts I wondered what his secret was.
Turns out he has a dozen or so secrets but the biggest is given away in his title, don’t stop moving. You move slower as you age but as long as you keep moving you’re not dead. One of his stories recounts when he took the stage with his wife unexpectedly during her dance recital (a video of this performance went up on YouTube). He goes into detail about how his wife’s routine made him just want to get up and dance and so, he did. There’s more to the story but I’ll let you read it for yourself.
What Stuck With Me?
I made over 20 highlights throughout the book and it’s hard to say which stuck with me the most. If I had to pick though I would pick chapter 2: Oh Brother, How Old Art Thou? where he quotes George Burns, who famously replied when asked if he lived in the past, “No. I live in Beverly Hills. It’s much nicer.”
This is one of the best autobiographies I’ve read and the easiest to get through. I laughed out loud at times and felt the emotional pain of some of Dick Van Dyke’s past poor choices (did you know he was an alcoholic?). Dick Van Dyke’s personality shines through and I could almost hear him reading it over my shoulder. It wasn’t hard to picture scenes in my mind and feel like it wasn’t that long ago that any of them actually happened.
At the end of the book though you know he’s still alive and still moving so it makes it a happy ending for all.