Sunday, December 20, 2015
Today, for the final blog post of 2015, instead of an older adult’s or volunteer’s story, I thought I would share my vision for our organization.
My vision is a world where people come together, listen to each other and respect each other despite differences in age, background or opinion, where ordinary days are made extraordinary because of the friendships that are made and nourished, where past and current struggles are confronted and replaced with a new courage to face the future, where the experience and perspective that comes with age is a source of inspiration, where life is not measured by the number of days lived or days remaining but its quality, where community is made up of love, laughter and life lessons and is something you can feel deep in your heart.
Thank you so much for your support as a blog reader, and together, let’s make big strides in 2016 towards a world filled… not just filled, beyond that, a world that is totally bursting… with love, laughter and life.
Monday, December 14, 2015
In the previous blog post, Jen introduced this parakeet story as one that really spoke to her. Me too, Jen!! Liz's story is so funny yet so heartbreaking, so simple yet so intricate, the way real life and true love is. Two little love birds showing us simple humans how to live and love.
Liz Abrams11.19.2015Two Birds
Adam and Eve parakeets, the children’s intro to the wild life.
Yes she henpecked him
At night he would pick the lock on the cage, ease out of the cage coveOut he would fly-
He hung out all nightDailyDay in and day out
She always squaked, squabbled, naggedAnd cleaned his feathers
Each night, he made his grand escape
Before returning home in the morning to his cageHe, Adam, would fly to each roomAnd pick our hair, our cheekAnd wake us for the new day
Then Adam returned home to his henpecked environment
This ritual continued for almost a year
Our family commented one day,One day, we are going to find Eve, flattened outAnd Adam will be out of his misery
And then, it happened
One night, Adam and Eve, both out of the cage, walking on the living room floor and conversating
She fell over and diedThe next day the children shoe-boxed her, buried her in the backyard facing the kitchen window
Adam stood duty on the kitchen window facing Eve’s grave
Never moved or ate anymore food-Just looked out daily, without movement
And one morning, Adam lay on the kitchen floor, dead of a broken heart
A henpecked man does not mean an unhappy man if she’s the Love of his Life.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
"The depth of beauty, insight, and pure poetry that comes from a sheet or two of paper exquisitely written in the span of 30 minutes is stunning… Who knew that a short story about a group member's children's pet birds could leave you with tears in your eyes?"
"Two of my overarching goals in life are to effect social change on a macro level and create opportunities to share our humanity on a personal level. Best Day accomplishes both of these in a real and lasting way… The Best Day of My Life So Far provides a place and a space where people across generations can connect on a deeper level that can be tricky to find in our super busy, hyper-productive society, especially for seniors. For an hour each week, we get to come together to laugh, write, and share stories about our human experience or whatever happens to be of interest to us that day."
Growing up, my two favorite places were the home of my grandparents, Gramagee & Grampagee (a hybrid of gram/p and our last name, McGhee, which inexplicably lost the H when combined) & Aunt Ellen and the library. Time spent with them in their old Victorian home and reading made my young world go round. I was the kind of kid who'd trail behind my mom in the store, tears running down my face as I finished the last pages of a particularly poignant story. From conversations with my grandparents to books to documentaries to podcasts and radio shows, I became enamored with the ability to experience another's narrative.
I've spent the past few years reflecting on this power of storytelling as a medium to transform self, others, and society as a whole. One night, while having one of these introspective moments, I simultaneously decided to research volunteer opportunities. On the first page of the first website I went to, Storytelling Facilitator for The Best Day of My Life So Far was listed. Up until that moment, I had no idea such a thing existed and was intrigued by the serendipity of it. I emailed Benita right away to express my interest and heard back from her almost immediately.
After our initial conversation, I did some research on Best Day and in keeping with the theme of 'bests', discovered that my best friend from middle school, Cara Scharf, was on the Board of Directors and head of the Development Committee. When I mentioned the connection with Cara to Benita during our first phone conversation, she responded that she was literally supposed to be on the phone with Cara at that exact moment and had to call her as soon as we got off of the phone. While we laughed about the serendipitous connection, we decided to confuse Cara by having me send her a text out of the blue to tell her that Benita would call her soon. From the get-go, things clicked and the energy within the organization was great.
I've been working with the group for three months now and feel grateful for the existence of Best Day and for the opportunity to work as a facilitator and development officer. Two of my overarching goals in life are to effect social change on a macro level and create opportunities to share our humanity on a personal level. Best Day accomplishes both of these in a real and lasting way. Each week, I am blown away by the words shared by the seniors. The depth of beauty, insight, and pure poetry that comes from a sheet or two of paper exquisitely written in the span of 30 minutes is stunning. One of the stories that sticks out from our most recent session was a story about parakeets. Who knew that a three minute short story about a group member's children's pet birds could leave you with tears in your eyes?
The Best Day of My Life So Far provides a place and a space where people across generations can connect on a deeper level that can be tricky to find in our super busy, hyper-productive society, especially for seniors. For an hour each week, we get to come together to laugh, write, and share stories about our human experience or whatever happens to be of interest to us that day. Around the same time that Best Day came into my life, and partially influenced by the organization, I made the decision to stop letting my busy life get away from me and rededicate myself to spending quality time on a regular basis with my grandma; there is no one else like her on earth and as the old song says that she lovingly sings to us time and time again, we belong to the mutual admiration society. I'm excited to be a part of Best Day and look forward to watching our organization grow and impact the lives of countless seniors and their communities.