June 22, 2011
Lesson learned: Suzanna J. wanted to share something special with me, an essay that her father had written many years ago, which appeared in a book entitled “This I Believe” edited by Edward R. Murrow. As she read her father’s words with the warmth and inflection of a seasoned actress, I began to take notes. The highlights of this inspirational story appear below.
What to Value? Take time before time takes you. Each day is precious. When the sun comes up you have 24 hours to fill, not pass. Listen to the wind in the trees and look at the sunlight on the water. Make the most of it! Be grateful! God made this world – a place of beauty and wonder. Take time to absorb the beauty and wonder. From the heart – give thanks!
June 10, 2011
Lesson learned: I met Suzanna as she was preparing to move from the apartment she has been living in for 40 years. Dressed in a simple housecoat and seated on a wooden chair in her kitchen, we chatted about what her new routine would be like in the retirement community she will soon call home. She was charming and a natural conversationalist. A broad smile came across her face when we talked about how easy it will be for her to make new friends. She readily agreed and added “if you have some childhood left, it helps! So does humor.”
There is something to be said for letting the child in you shine through from time to time. Being playful and silly can not only be fun, it can also be a great stress reliever. And having a good, healthy sense of humor often not only makes you feel better, it also attracts attention from others around you. “Just like a smile”, Suzanna added. “It’s infectious.”
June 3, 2011
Lesson learned: There I was mingling and networking with my colleagues at the Atria Center City Open House when a gregarious older woman approached me. She inquired, rather impatiently, what the reason for the large crowd was. After I told her why so many strangers were assembled, she demurred and introduced herself as being a long time Atria resident and extended her hand to me. I responded by telling her my name and shaking her hand in return. “A firm handshake shows character” she exclaimed quite authoritatively. I must confess that I was caught somewhat off guard and felt like a youngster being trained by a no nonsense grandparent for whom these social skills were so important. Satisfied with my answer and handshake, she promptly turned her walker around and marched off. I appreciated the affirmation and was quite relieved that I passed the test.