“Have nothing to do with growing old—but fall in love with growing older.” — J. Ellsworth Kalas
Are you growing older? According to J. Ellsworth Kalas, in his book, I Love Growing Older but I’ll Never Grow Old, this is far from a duh-yes question. Kalas says, “Older is a journey. Old is a destination.” Whereas Kalas’s destination is heaven, for others it might be sourness.
What I address today is how we can get creative to stay on life’s journey and never stop at the destination called bitterness. I’ll give examples to get your creative juices flowing.
A person who is “growing older” learns new things.
- Take a writing or art class and write and illustrate stories for your grandchildren in which they are the main characters.
- Join a scrapbooking group and learn how to create beautiful albums for each of your children. Go through your boxes of stored photos and select the best. Then pitch the rest so your children don’t have to do that job after you’re gone.
- Learn to play the guitar or keyboard and visit nursing homes and prisons with your church or other groups and share age-appropriate music.
A person who is “growing older” develops relationships.
- Build a friendship with someone who’s older than you.
- A homebound person. Be consistent in your visit schedule. Bring tea and cookies, read a book together, assemble a 300 large-piece jigsaw puzzle, listen to her stories.
- A mentor. Look for an expert to teach you a “dying” art: canning, gardening, knitting, tatting lace, woodworking, sewing.
- An Octogenarian. Record her stories. Start a historical blog and share real life stories.
- Grow a friendship with someone who’s younger than you.
- A child without a parent or grandparents. Create a road and businesses and play cars (have a police car for those speeders), play restaurant with plastic food (take turns being a server, a cook, and a patron).
- Join interest groups attended by people of a wide range of ages. Writers groups, book clubs, a church choir.
- Schedule “date night” with your spouse whether you have children in your home or not. Try something new. Dancing lessons, a sport, dinner with friends in a different nationality restaurant each week, geocaching.
A person who is “growing older” helps others.
- Use your expertizes from your still active or retired career to help others. Help with someone’s taxes, show a novice how to plant a garden, change the oil in a widow’s car, give an art lesson, tutor a student, pray for others.
- Volunteer in something new to you. In a food pantry, at the voting poles, as a chaperone for a teen mission trip, teaching Sunday school or Vacation Bible School, at Habitat for Humanity, driving people to doctor appointments or the grocery store.
- Write a blog sharing information you’ve learned. How to: write fiction, research genealogy, make the best deviled eggs, travel across the country in an RV.
Get involved in learning, building relationships, and helping others. You’ll grow older in a wonderful life journey.
What are activities you do to grow older gracefully in your journey?
I play with my grandkids and spend time with my mother. Going from one extreme to the other reminds me to cherish what I can still do, take care of myself the best I can, and make the most of the time.
Jane, parents and grandchildren are like bookends couching our backstory and our future.
I started a whole new career at 50+! Fun and it keeps me young.
Me, too, Ane. One I hope never to retire from.
Hi, Zoe! I think all of us did a good job of “growing older” over the past few days. Thanks for a great time!
Most definitely, friend. Riding bikes down the Virginia Creeper Trail may give us a few aches but keeps us growing older instead of old.
Excellent life affirming suggestions for anyone. Any age.
Joan, you are so right. We can get started now.