Tag Archives: service

As we Grow Older — Revisited

This is a revision of an older blog post that is still just as relevant as when I wrote it and appropriate for Older Americans Month.

As a person in  my sixties I believe the biggest obstacles we face as we grow older are the negative perceptions surrounding age and aging.  I live in an area that is a popular place to retire.  Popular topics of conversation include ailments, procedures and how bad it is to get old.  The most popular area of WalMart is the pharmacy with what sometimes seems like a never-ending line.  Depression, alcoholism and feelings of worthlessness over no longer being able or allowed to work are much more prevalent among the “elder” population than I had ever imagined.

The first time a doctor gave me the “as we get older” speech I just sat there in disbelief.  I normally would have reacted with anger. However this time I felt a smile coming over my face because explaining away that nasty looking spot on my leg that seemed to appear from nowhere and I was concerned might be a spider bite with “As we get older” was just so ridiculous.  While I was checking out I looked at Bob and said, “He didn’t have to say those four hateful words — as we grow older.”  The receptionist laughed and said, “it happens to all of us.”  But does it have to?  Really?

I know, and I suspect you do too, that a steady decline to the grave is not all we have to look forward to as we grow older.  I do not believe it is inevitable.  In fact, the belief that there is nothing we can do but watch it happen is foreign to me.  Members of my family have lived happy, healthy, active and independent lives well into their 80’s and 90’s.

Believing that it is not what happens to us, but our attitudes, beliefs and perceptions about what happens that matters, let’s try flipping the as we grow older speech into something positive.  Instead of talking about what we lose as we grow older, let’s talk about what we gain.

  1.  Wisdom — Hopefully we have learned the lessons of life experience and now know how to do things better, easier and with less drama.
  2. Time — The time to do what we want, rather than what society demands of us.  Time to pursue our passion, begin a hobby, learn a new skill even reinvent ourselves if we want.
  3. Service — Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves we can use our time skills, abilities and wisdom to be of service to others.
  4.  Endurance — Looking back on times we thought we couldn’t survive but did give us strength and hope that we can continue to not only survive, but endure and even thrive.
  5. Awareness of what is really important — This is the time when we can stop running after things that don’t last and seek that which endures over time.  We can focus less on accumulating things and more on creating memories, both for ourselves and those we love.

We sometimes need help realizing that these are positive things.  They are also not things we have to go searching after trying to acquire.  We already have them.  Let’s recognize this and change that “As we Grow Older” speech into a message of hope and strength.


No Act of Service Too Small

One important aspect of following a spiritual path is being of service to our world and our fellow travelers through life.  Many times when we think of service we think of large, organized events and much good can be done through some of these events.

But I also want us to look at the opportunities to be of service that are all around us everyday.

  1. Open a door for someone or hold the door for the person behind you.
  2. Help someone who is not tech savvy use a computer.
  3. Reach a jar or box on the top or bottom grocery store shelf for someone with a disability who cannot reach or bend.  Those of us who are just short appreciate this as well.
  4. Listen to someone who just wants or needs to talk.
  5. Walk the dog of a sick friend.
  6. Take a meal to a sick friend.
  7. Send cards for any or no occasion.  Send them to your friends and family or find an organization that sends cards to sick children or military personnel.
  8. Smile and say hello to people.  If you know the person or they are wearing a name tag address them by name.
  9. If you don’t know you neighbors on both sides of you, introduce yourself.  If you have elderly neighbors check in from time to time, especially if you haven’t seen them for awhile.
  10. Help those in need as you become aware of individual needs in a way that you can.  It may not always involve money.  Maybe someone needs a ride, or help finding a job or even just directions when they are driving lost.

Living in an area that is a popular retirement location there are opportunities for service all around.  The list above came from my personal experiences.  These are the little things we often just do without even thinking about it.  There’s no need to have a meeting, form a committee, take a selfie doing the good deed or post it on social media.  Just help.  Help who you can, when you can, in whatever way you can.

Looking for a way to change the world?  Start noticing and acting on those little opportunities to be of service.  Spread the love and light of God around, even in small ways.  We all need it right now.

Anyone have anything to add to the list?