Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thank You – Jana, Rachel, Cassie, Allison!

If you’ve been following our group’s “family pics” on Facebook, you may have noticed that my belly is rapidly expanding… every time I catch myself in a mirror, it’s always bigger than the last time I looked! My second pregnancy is going by much faster than my first. My baby is breakdancing in my belly even more than I remember my firstborn doing (who is a VERY active toddler now) so basically my husband and I are getting ready and excited for our home to turn into crazytown.

I want to dedicate this blog post to four wonderful young women, without whom I wouldn’t be able to focus on my son’s arrival next month. Jana, Rachel, Cassie and I share the facilitating hat at our group – at least one of us is there every week to make sure our senior buds have the best time (so far!) of their lives. Jana wears another hat which is to pass our seniors’ handwritten stories onto Allison. Allison is our copy editing coordinator who works behind the scenes with copy editors around the country to make sure our seniors’ stories get typed up between our group’s weekly sessions, so they can be shared with readers like you, on this blog, our other social media, books and events. As you will see in the stories below, each of them has a heart of gold. With this blog post, I just want to say...

Jana, Rachel, Cassie and Allison: Thank you for the impact that you’ve made, not just on our seniors’ lives, but also mine ;) I appreciate you guys so, so much!

Jana Henry, Volunteer
Not Really A Loss

I’m not sure in this life if we have a time limit to grieving. If we do have time limits I myself think that it’s only a time limit that we place there ourselves. On December 19 almost 2 years ago I spoke my last words to my granny. Though she didn’t speak back I know she heard me. A few days later she passed. I remember the holiday season being a blur. In my heart I felt like I had lost my best friend. Though I know it was her time I selfishly wished her to stay 97 more years. I don’t cry sad tears anymore but I do shed thankful ones. You don’t get many relationships in life like the one her and I shared. I smile at the habits of hers I picked up. I laugh when my family says I sound just like her, and I fully accept it now when people say I act like an old lady because – young or old – she was one of the best people you could have ever known. A long winded woman who turned every conversation with a stranger into two old friends catching up.

Rachel Hampton, Volunteer
Finding Home

I made a new friend! Her name is Cat, and she is a friend of my boyfriend, Serge. I am always nervous to meet new people, because when I went to a different school I had a very hard time making friends – I was very lonely. That was a hard time in my life. I have more friends now, but then I worry about losing them. I worry, about the loss of friendship I see around me. People move around so much, they lose contact, with family even – it’s like we’re losing the talent to live in community with each other. I feel like – okay, I’m not very adventurous, but I just want to live in one place with a bunch of people I love and trust – I want to have a home. And the way society is set up now, that’s so hard to do. You leave to go to school, you follow whatever work you end up doing, you move and move again and you’re supposed to put all this energy into your work, it’s so hard to put energy into just paying attention to other people. A lot of the relationships I see around me are superficial as a result.

But I am determined not to live like that – I want the people in my life to be the most important part of my life. And I hope that if I focus on that, I’ll be able to find my own kind of happiness and love.

Cassie O'Leary, Volunteer
Sweet and Sour

I just wanted to share a little and say how happy I am to be here right now and see everyone's shining faces seated at these tables. Lately, life has handed me some lemons and I somehow forgot the old adage and recipe to always make lemonade with the lemons you're given. I'm reminded today that I am lucky to be here and alive and have the chance to share even just a small amount of words with you lovely people.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dolores (I'm Not Getting Old You Are)

We’re so excited to officially announce the details of our next event. Check out our flyer and please try to come if you live in Philly – maybe even take the afternoon off of work and invite your grandparents out for a date?! If you can’t make it, we’ll miss you, but please still spread the word! We'll mix in stories about life, love, childhood with fresh, funny, deep perspectives about aging, like Dolores' take below -

“In reality, perpetually young seniors don’t and won’t fit the stereotype of old people… We drop such questions as, ‘What’s the latest Instagram news about Kim Kardashian?  Did you send a Snapchat text to me about Rihanna’s latest selfie?’  We also refuse to admit that we have a landline, a relic, signifying old age.”

Let’s just say our seniors will get us laughing and thinking and feeling. I can’t wait!

Dolores Malone
I’m Not Getting Old (Wink, Wink!) You Are!

Many of us mature women and men – seniors – think that our peers have grown old, but not us.  We lament when we especially see friends from long ago, “What happened to her, to her once pretty young face?  Why, he looks like a jumping jack – a slow one – the way he shakes when he walks.  Too bad she’s so stooped over that she looks as if she is permanently tending a garden.”  Yup, we gloat as we say to ourselves about them, “Thank goodness, I’m not getting old; they are.”

Even when we look in the mirror, we see our air-brushed or photo-shopped selves.  Few lines map our smooth faces; lush hair covers our scalps, and bags hardly appear under our eyes.  To be sure, we view ourselves through the prism of a 30 0r 40-something person.  Consequently, when we see our peers, we smugly tell ourselves, “So sad that they are getting old, but not me.”

And we seniors – those of us who are not getting old – hear very well – so what if everyone else around us mumbles or speaks too softly during conversations.  Pray tell, we should ask someone to speak louder during a conversation.  We pretend we are too preoccupied with other things to join the discussions.  At home, though, we blast the television, turning the volume up so much so that our grandchildren question our sanity when the visit.  They ask, “Are you crazy; you don’t think that’s loud?  What’s wrong with your hearing? “Doesn’t it hurt your ears?”  We deny, deny, deny that there’s anything wrong.  We tell ourselves, “We’re not getting old, other people are.”

In reality, perpetually young seniors don’t and won’t fit the stereotype of old people.  We tell ourselves that we are current, relevant, not stuck in our ways, willing to change.  We boast to our grandchildren, for instance, about knowing most of the words to the top ten pop songs, even as we hide the fact that we still listen to the oldies radio station.  When talking to young people, we let them know that we are computer savvy, aware of social media.  We drop such questions as, “What’s the latest Instagram news about Kim Kardashian?  Did you send a Snapchat text to me about Rihanna’s latest selfie?”  We also refuse to admit that we have a landline, a relic, signifying old age.  Indeed, to stay relevant in a youth- oriented society, many of us say to ourselves, especially as we look at an aging peer, “I’m not getting old, you are.”