Today is one of those days that made me feel like I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to do. For one of my classes we visited this assisted/independent living and nursing home facility. This is the CREAM of the CROP. Library, beauty salons, gardens, gazebos, lounges, even a bank. After a tour of the lavish facility, and me constantly wondering how I'm going to stack up enough coins to afford the 2,000 a month bill for this place, because I DEFINITELY HAD to live there. We sat down and had tête-à-tête with some of the residents about ...aging. They were very open and honest about how they had reached this point in their lives and it all boils down to something that bell hooks preaches but I don't think that we fully comprehend the power of,especially in the way that she talks about it: love. She talks about it as a transformative force, and I truly believe that it is. Not just the love of ourselves, which keeps us taking care of the bodies that we are trustees of, but also our environment, and other beings. Imagine all the things that we do for romantic love, or even the hope of it. Now think of all the things we could do with that same power and attention focused outward in all directions....it's limitless. The two women I talked with, Mary Jo and Mary repeatedly told me to smile, don't worry about the small things, and to be kind to everyone.
I admit there is always some trepidation when I come into contact with older adults in Indiana. I assume that they were born and grew up during its tumultuous racial past and feel as I expect someone from their cohort to feel towards me, but this so far as not been true, and everyone has been uber friendly and helpful (one of the older ladies at the Community Center even offered to give me a ride home...how sweet, right?)
There's so much wisdom floating around waiting to be grasped. Within a half an hour to forty five minutes I learned about their families, hardships, friendships, sex lives, financial struggles, and got some AMAZING advice. There is NO other place or group of people who you can learn so much from so quickly, and with no cost. We as a generation our cheating ourselves if we do not take advantage of this time with our elder population.
I don't know if I'm trying to give advice here, or share my experience, but today was amazing and I feel soo much more at peace about everything. :)