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Aging Well: The write approach

Creative writing can be satisfying and stimulating for many, including Sara Fitzgerald, an author planning a move to The Mather in 2024.

This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better.

Finding a creative outlet that suits you, and then devoting time and thought to that outlet, has wonderful effects on your mood, your brain, and your overall well-being. “Creativity doesn’t have to be painting or sculpting; you can be creative in starting or running a business or nonprofit,” says author Sara Fitzgerald. “For me, I spend a lot of time writing, and I find it very satisfying.”

Sara is a multitalented writer who has applied her talents to crafting everything from satirical song lyrics to nuanced biographies. A resident of northern Virginia for nearly 50 years, she is preparing to move to The Mather, a Life Plan Community for those 62 and better, in Tysons in early 2024.

Early in her career, Sara was an editor and new media developer for The Washington Post, then held  positions focused on internet policy making and promoting technology in education. While she continued to write during those years (including publishing two romance novels), she says retirement offers the time and concentration she needs to devote herself to it.

“There’s something about the way writing stimulates my mind — there’s a kind of high,” says Sara. Since retirement, she’s been focused on historical fiction and biographies of little-known women. She’s in the process of publishing a biography of Emily Hale, the secret love of poet T.S. Eliot. (You can browse all her published works on her website at

However, Sara’s writing isn’t limited to books: “I enjoy rhyming lyrics — I’ve written them for the Hexagon Club’s annual satirical revue in D.C. for years,” she says.

And, after taking a brief playwriting class at the Creative Cauldron theater in Falls Church, she wrote a script for a very personal cabaret-style show, Comfort Songs, which was performed in July 2023 at the Creative Cauldron. She explains, “During the early days of the pandemic, I was inspired by Yo-Yo Ma, who put out a call for ‘songs of comfort’ and who posted videos of himself playing the cello. I began posting my own videos; I used my mobile phone to record daily videos of myself playing the piano — one song a day for nearly 90 days.” In her show, Sara described the project and the background of the songs  she selected, and “some talented friends” performed about 15 of them. “I wanted it to be a healing experience; I think it worked well,” she says.

Sara is looking forward to her next chapter at The Mather. “What’s reassuring to me about my decision to move to The Mather was that nine or ten households of my friends have also decided to move there,” she says. “I then learned about friends of friends moving there — including the two neighbors on either side of my future apartment home!”

While she hopes to enjoy more time to regularly practice piano in her apartment home at The Mather as she admires the views from floor-to-ceiling windows, Sara is simultaneously excited about the community’s amenities, including an indoor pool, and looks forward to meeting new people. “I figure I’ll be able to sit down with any of my neighbors and find interesting people whom I would like to know,” she says.

The Mather, projected to open in Tysons, VA, in early 2024 for those 62 and better, is a forward-thinking Life Plan Community that defies expectations of what senior living is supposed to be.

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