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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Year(s) (01/20/11)

TITLE: Lessons on aging those in the know
By Judy Lawhon


Definition of a senor community--a group of people who are in the later years of their lives; past their usefulness; waiting to die.

Wrong! A better definition might be a group of lively adults who still have quite a bucket list and are doing all they can to stay healthy physically, spiritually and emotionally.

As one of the younger seniors in this community, I learn every day about the best ways to age. My neighbor LeRoy is a classic example that I intend to follow. He is 90. He still bowls, fishes, walks daily, is active in his church and loves to cook steaks on the grill for his many guests. His wife Dee is only 82. She does all the things LeRoy does, plus she quilts. In fact, just two years ago, she thought her church should do something for persons dealing with cancer so she started a cancer care quilt group that has made more than 80 quilts and distributed them throughout the church and city. Sheís also a wonderful artist who paints with oils and always has a work in progress.

But, itís more than what they do--itís who they are. They are gentle caring folks who are always there for others. They start each day with prayer and devotions and a positive attitude. They laugh often and cry easily. Their personalities are quite different from each other, yet they respect and compliment each other. He is so proud of her paintings and quilts; she is so proud of the big fish he catches.

And in the home behind me is Kathy, a very young senior at only 57. She had a serious illness over 20 years ago and literally step by step brought herself back to good health. Two years ago she threw away her cane. Now she leads the walk aerobics classes each morning. She is always encouraging to people new to exercise and watches to make sure they donít overdue. Her philosophy is to do what you can; you will get stronger; keep coming back. She always has a hug and smile. She remembers your name and asks about you and your family. She could have quit many years ago, resigned to a wheel chair. But as she ages, she becomes stronger both physically and spiritually. She plays piano for her church. She recently helped her good friend raise funds and prepare for a mission trip.

Of course, not everyone in this community holds such optimism. There are those who seem to find fault with everything. It seems that their faces are in a perpetual frown. They are not always pleasant to be with.

However, I try to always have a smile and kind word for these negative folks. Iíve not been in their shoes; I donít know what they have experienced. Itís not up to me to judge anyone. Instead I concentrate on me and my attitudes. I try to stay in good health through wise nutrition and exercise. I look at the sunsets and sunrises over the mountains and remember to thank God for all the blessings in this world.

Iím not Pollyanna. I know not everything is wonderful all the time. Sometimes life hands us some things we really donít want. Itís been that way for me. Several young people in my family were taken from us much too soon. The economy has limited some of those wonderful retirement travels my husband and I had envisioned in our younger days. And on and on. I choose not to dwell on these things. I know they are there, but so are my parents who are 88 and 85. I have the privilege of helping them have a healthy aging as well.

We laugh, we play cards, we walk together, we share stories. They have health issues, but we rarely talk that they donít comment on how life could be more difficult and they could be so much worse off.

The older I get, the more I learn about living and aging. Iím enjoying the days I have left, be they few or many. My teachers are all around me. Theyíve touched me in such awesome ways. I can only hope that when the time comes to join my God, I will leave positive lessons on living and aging to my children and grandchildren. Life will have been a success. Life will have been lived well.

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This article has been read 346 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tracy Nunes 01/27/11
I loved this line "His wife Dee is only 82." May we all remember to add "only" to the front of our ages, no matter how many decades we have seen.
Noel Mitaxa 01/30/11
There you go, my anonymous friend - younger than you will ever be! Good thoughtful stuff!
AnneRene' Capp01/31/11
This is refreshing. I enjoyed your positive perspective and absolutely adore Leroy and Dee! :)
Michael Throne02/01/11
Amen. I learned a lot; thank you. Grace is something best demonstrated, and you showed us the meaning through your writing.
Jan Christiansen02/01/11
I enjoyed reading your story. Not only is it an encouragement to us all not to give up, but remain active in life and in serving God, but it is a very well written piece. Thanks!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/01/11
This is a great lesson of the paver of thought! Yan characters seem like charming people I'd like to have as neighbors