Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Return of Former Storytellers (Carolyn, Barbara, Rochelle)

As I thought about Veteran's Day, I realized that while we do have plenty of former members of the armed forces in our group, I had been seeing plenty of other kinds of veterans at Best Day. I'm talking about veteran storytellers, as in those who had been with our group for a while. Some of them had only been able to come sporadically, while others were regulars returning from years of absence. The reality of working with older buds in that their bodies break down with age. Older buds will often take extended breaks from Best Day to recover from a medical procedure, a prolonged illness or a surprise injury. I'm always grateful to see an older bud returning after these breaks, because I know their stories are nowhere near finished, and they have plenty more Best Days in store.

C. Boston 

The challenges of aging are many more than imagined. The body displays its long usage with age spots, wrinkles, varicose veins, hair loss and a myriad of other unwanted signs. One looks in the mirror and says, “who is that?” of course YOU know its you, but you question who is this new aged person reflected in the mirror. One has to adjust to still muscles, arthritis, malfunctioning knees, slower physical movement of hips, legs and feet. Your eyebrows have gray hairs and you can no longer lift a 20 lb. bag of kitty litter and put it in the shopping cart.
You’re assigned a new title – old lady, grandmom, mom, lady or man with the cane. It’s a new time in living as the years progress.
There is an upside to aging. I’ve found a few things but they don’t surpass the aches and pains. Yet, there’s an opportunity to re-invent yourself. There’s this new older you. New talents emerge and there’s discovering of new places and abilities. You dress the way you like, learn how to say “no” with joy. Wisdom adopts you and if you don’t want to do it, you don’t. Aging is cerebral – you are as old as you think and as young as you embrace life. 
I don’t want to go back and relive my life – I’ve discovered a new hidden me that I never knew existed. Aging is humbling, exhausting, challenging – it may start out as a butterfly – with all its stages, at the end, this beautiful butterfly emerges from the cocoon bearing exquisite colors, gracing the environment with its beauty.

Barbara Griffin 

This story is about change. 
In 2010, I made the decision to sell my home that I had lived in for 41 years and move to a Senior Living facility. It was a big change. Living in your own home is very different than living in a facility that has other people. You have to make decisions about things you never did before. But the good part is that you don’t have the responsibilities that you used to have. I also feel safer because we have 24 hour security.
Can you imagine how I felt the first time the fire alarm went off at 2:30 a.m. and I had to get up and move to the fire escape? I also do not like elevators, but I learned to deal with them. I have come to the conclusion – change is good for you.

Rochelle R. Tynes 
My Tubing Trip 

While attending college, I completed my courses to obtain my Bachelors and Teachers degree and wrote so many papers. As students, we were told to write, write, write, and rewrite, until our papers were great, we wanted the world to see them. Well, after you get your initial teaching credentials, you must then obtain 24 more credits in order to receive your permanent teaching certificate. Well, I took quite a few classes at the University of the Arts at Broad and Spruce. They had weeklong cram courses, which I had to pay for. Also, the Board of Education also had courses, which were free. I decided to take a course in stress management. The course was very relaxing, non-stressful. I enjoyed the class very much until I learned that the choices you choose to pass the course. One option was to do a presentation, write a paper, or go tubing on the Delaware. 
Since I had written so much for the college courses which resulted in my having corns on my index and my middle finger, I thought that I’d make it easy on myself and just go tubing. I asked one of my classmates who was 6-foot-two and said that she could swim if she’d be my partner – she declined saying she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go. I then asked my ex if he’d go with me – he said yes.
So off we went. On the day of the trip, first we got a tube and were told where we were to go as we floated down the river. When my ex got on the tube, he fell, he still had the pipe that he always smoked in his mouth. I was trying not to panic when he didn’t immediately come up out of the water. My classmates came over to see what was going on. We talked to them for a while, then proceeded on our journey. There were shrubs and bushes along the paths of the river a few feet and there was no shrubs or bushes and we were drifting further away into the river. I kept going back to the banks of the river because I had become afraid of going out too far. Finally, we both said, let’s get out of this water – we did. I wrote about the trip, got three credits, told myself don’t do this again.

Speaking of returning older buds, I hope everyone here has made Thanksgiving plans with the older buds in their lives. And I hope you've made plans to be as large a part of their lives as possible. After all, nothing beats the feeling of a former friend coming back and becoming a welcome part of your regular routine.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri