“The biggest thing in my life is caring about living things,” says Abby Ybarra.
At 72, he continues this practice by having strong relationships with his family, his culture and his environment.
Abby is from the Yaqui Nation. He recalls living most of his young life being forced to repress his culture to assimilate and stay safe. He then was reborn to his native self in his 20s and spent most of the following years in environmental conservation jobs, in award winning television journalism work and on stage as an actor in theater plays.
He has been married to his wife Monica for 35 years. He has four children, two of whom have their own families, giving him seven grandchildren and one great-grandson. His other two children, Marina and Diego, still live with them at their home in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland.
Nowadays, Abby is still active in the Native community, having recently been one of the hosts for the Native Youth Climate Adaptation Leadership Congress. He also gardens at home when he is not in New York acting on plays. His most recent venture is writing his own play titled “The Seventh Fire,” which will be produced at the Rose Theater in Omaha, NE.
Despite his busy schedule, Abby is most proud of being a husband, father and grandfather. His family is his greatest joy and he is so glad to have been blessed with a big family.
How does it feel to be 72?
"My mind doesn’t see my age. I don’t believe the age my body has, but I used to be able to mow the front and back yard in a day and now it takes me two days. I pray to stay blessed and stay in good health. It is an interesting time. I get to reflect and look back. At 72, I did well, I made a difference."
What do you look forward to?
"I look forward to being able to spend time with the people I care most about: my family, my grandkids, some of the relatives I have that are still alive. I have an aunt who is turning 100 in May."
What is your biggest concern?
"Two years ago, we had the Covid-19 pandemic. It is still in the back of my mind because my daughter is a nurse. At my age it is about maintaining good health. I have worn out my knees from hiking, running and jogging all my life. Mowing the lawn up and down a hill is a pretty good workout at the age of 72."