My sister Sally’s e-mail put it succinctly: "Turquoise nail polish? A (musical) keyboard? I think you have gone a bit mad." At two UVTO programs in April, speakers had offered some suggestions for a positive outlook on life. To Sally, I merely had mentioned my own responses. Actually, I’m still chuckling about the aqua fingertips (for just four days), and I’m having fun with a ‘barbershop sextette’ preparing for the June talent show, as I practice their melodies on my new keyboard.
Resident Dr. David Clark, in his presentation on Positive Aging, showed a thought-provoking video. In it his wife, Dr. Jennifer Clark-Andrews, interviews therapists about their unique conviction. Life is typically graphed as an upward line which crests and then, with the onset of "old age," declines, either gradually or precipitously. These experts believe a person’s attitude can maintain that upward emphasis in later life, despite change. Yes, we lose loved ones, life-styles are altered and our bodies sometimes fail us. But we have gained wisdom and insight, and we can continue to "make meaning" in our lives.
In this special place where we live, "meaning" can stem from simply sharing a smile and a greeting with another resident. It can result from attending a lecture or a concert. It is nourished by a meal with a friend, perhaps a new resident or someone who has recently lost a spouse. It can strengthen in exercise classes or sessions in the gym, or just a walk through our lovely grounds on a sunny day. If you don’t usually look at The Club Corner on pages 2 and 3, read and consider the possibilities. From Bible study to bridge, French classes to photography, each of us can find meaningful enjoyment and fellowship without stepping outside our elegant wrought-iron gates.
A word to our many new residents. . .the "boxes" experience can be a challenging time! But you will live through it; we all have. Your neighbors want to be supportive – open your doors to them, even if your home isn’t "perfect" yet. In the Dining Room, consider sitting with someone you haven’t met. Sign up for an excursion – take a break from unpacking. And, ladies, if you use nail polish – try turquoise. Or, maybe my choice for Easter, pale lavender with sparkles. It may not be "meaningful," but it certainly makes me smile.