Community Spotlight is a new feature where we profile the amazing stories of our Snug community members. Our inaugural profile is about Jan Van Vlack, the inspiration for Snug!
Jan P Van Vlack
Where do you live?
The Villages, Florida.
Where have you lived?
Tennessee, New York, Iowa, California, Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky,
Indiana, Cuba… to name a few! Multiple cities in some states.
Tell us about yourself!
What an open-ended question! I was born when I was very young. Seriously, I am a retired nurse, a mother, a grandmother, and a great grandmother (Boy, that will age you!); one living sister. I loved hands-on nursing, especially ER, then went into Home Health Administration, a CMS surgical care pilot project, and ended my nursing career as a Clinical Data Nurse. I love people and helping people, so loved the hands on nursing, but I was a math/science major in school and loved being able to help improve things, especially nursing and health care on the administrative side.
After divorcing and being by myself, I started more bicycling for the exercise and something to do. I was riding 3,000 miles a year while working full time. It hit me one day that I had ridden in many states, especially doing Charity rides, so I made a spreadsheet (but of course!) of all the states and started checking them off. I then planned trips to get as many states done as possible.
When I traveled for my job, someone with my company would borrow a bike for me… check! Another state done. In 2008 I started walking a lot, so read a lot of books on the benefits of walking. Then I found American Volkssport Association (AVA) and Volkswalking. This was so right-up-my alley… safer than bicycling by myself, with mapped walks all over the United States (actually it is International) that gave me places to go and things to see. So I switched more to walking, though I took my bike (or rented one) if I was going to a state I had not ridden in. In 2016, I finish my last two states—Hawaii and Alaska— so have now done a Volkswalk in every capital (including WDC) and at least one other Volkswalk (if not 10-20 more) in every state and have ridden a bicycle in every state. What a way to see things… walking tours that people who know the area have mapped out!
Since retiring and moving to Florida, I have started a Pickleball group (I no longer play), and a Walking Club. I also teach iPhone Tips & Tricks to a small group and help others with iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, HomePods, etc. I love helping people learn so they can enjoy their devices better. And I love learning… if I don’t know the answer, I look it up, so I learn from others’ questions.
What do you consider your personal superpower?
Upbeat, positive, outgoing, personable, active; love life, family, friends, people, and The Lord; very goal–driven and competitive with myself.
What are two things you’re looking forward to in the next 6 months?
I am facing two surgeries, one very serious, one with a long recuperation period, so I am not making long term plans as far as travel, etc., right now until after recuperation. But I will enjoy my life every day… until the surgeries, through recuperation, and afterward.
I used to read a lot of murder mystery and romance novels, but spend most of my reading/listening time now with Podcasts, tech articles, YouTube videos, etc. I am a huge music fan and keep my Apple Music going constantly on my HomePods when I am home. And I am a huge techie, love Apple products.
What does your day to day schedule look like? Morning routine?
My mornings are spent with chores at home, often breakfast or lunch out with friends or even by myself, then errands, and walking with my walking group when I can. Afternoons are usually water exercise and the gym or just my neighborhood pool. I usually spend two to four hours a day doing water Aerobics, water walking, or lazily swimming.
Evenings that I don’t go to a concert, out with friends, etc., I spend reading tech articles, watching YouTube videos, or Netflix Series. As you see, I stay very busy. I love the convenience of checking in with Snug Safety every morning… no calls to make to a busy Sheriff’s Department or similar call center at their convenience, but a quick check–in to Snug Safety that makes me and my family feel safer. It isn’t about calling emergency when I need to, but having emergency reach out to me when I am unable to call them.
How do you judge success for the day? Any guiding principles?
I am not sure I judge a day as a success or failure, just thankful for each. I do feel good when I have finished a project that has been put off too long. I guess success for me would be to eat healthy, exercise, enjoy family and friends, and am thankful for each.
What are your favorite activities?
Love walking, water activities, and dancing. Joint replacements have temporarily limited some activities. I love the outdoors!
Where are your favorite places to travel to?
To see my grandchildren, and to Memphis for Memphis Bar-B-Que! Seriously, I love to travel and cruise, but have no current plans.
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must… just never give up!”
Any tips or practices you personally recommend for someone who lives alone?
Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Get out with others as much as possible or find hobbies to do at home… whatever is your thing. It really is not hard to eat out or to go to activities alone, but occasionally look for others to join you. They may be hoping someone will ask them out. One of my best friends I met at a McDonald’s. After sitting by ourselves for breakfast for months, one day I asked her to join me when she couldn’t find a place to sit. We are dear friends now and do breakfast at McD’s almost every week.
Anything else we should include, that would either help the community or let people learn more about what makes you, “you?”
Try new things! Amazing how something you didn’t think you would like can become a favorite if you just try it.