Independent Living and Realities of Aging
AN ONGOING SERIES WITH CHAPLAIN HOWARD EARLE
Independent Living residents of Beacon Hill at Eastgate meet every week with Chaplain Howard Earle to discuss the realities of aging during. Every week during this class, “Nobody Asked Me,” they discuss new topics. Read the final Nobody Asked Me blog post for 2023 below!
Rewrite the Rules
I can honestly say I had a great childhood. Being an only child enabled me to grow comfortable with being alone. But I remember more times being surrounded by friends and family than not. I attribute this mostly to growing up with a swimming pool and basketball goal in the back yard. My house was the spot! In the midst of adolescent, male chaos over stiff competition on the court and the bliss of a pool during a Texas summer, there was also the bellowing of my dad out the window, “No RUNNING!” Water, concrete, and boys is the perfect recipe for both fun and injury. While I know my dad was more concerned about our safety than he was concerned about our fun, his “no running” rule was a real fun-sucker.
I’m sure my childhood was no different from yours when it came to rules. While you understood the importance of them, they seemed to hinder more than enhance. The truth is, there will never be a time when we will not contend with rules. Some rules are harder to follow than others. Some of us struggle to drive the speed limit. Others may take just a few more items through the express check-out line. There are medical and dietary restrictions imposed on us by professionals who often know what’s best for us better than we do. We live in a world of restrictions and limitations, which in essence are rules.
It was with this lens of “rules” that we observed the senior adult lifestyle in a recent Nobody Asked Me group. Along with the usual restrictions and limitations that come with growing old, it turns out culture has imposed unwritten rules on senior adults. If you’re a senior adult, you’re supposed to rise early, go to bed early, drive slow if you drive at all, wear old, unfashionable clothes, and watch daytime television consisting of gameshows, court tv, and the news. You’re old! Too old for romance, love, adventure, and fun. “The world thanks you for your contribution. We’ll take it from here. Ride off into the sunset of retirement, bridge, bingo, soup, and pudding.” It makes you cringe, doesn’t it? While I’m being facetious, I’m not off base when it comes to general attitudes concerning senior adults.
Yes, there are rules. But, not all of the rules need to apply to you. Why not rewrite some of those rules. Or should I say, break some of those rules. Release your inner rebel. Who says seniors can’t be adventurous or have fun? Be open to discovery and learning and appreciating life – all of life! Life is getting longer, which means you have more time to play. Dick Van Dyke tells us in his book, Keep Moving, “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment…there is no other life but this.” It’s time to start rewriting the rules. But remember, “no running around the pool!” Join us each Monday at 2:00 pm in the Vistas Lounge and Tuesday at 9:30 am in the chapel for lively discussion about the wonderful world of senior adult life.