This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link: Amazon.com. Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
CHITCHAT: I will be one of several speakers and will present a talk (at 10:25am) on “Finding New Opportunities” at the Senior Congress XI hosted by Conejo/Las Virgenes Future Foundation – Lifelong Learning: “Explore Your Opportunities,” on January 27, 2016, 8:45am to 2:30pm (free, lunch provided, reservations required), location: St Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, 5801 Kanan Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91362
Now, on to my blog:
Most of us are normal physically and mentally. Most of us are so much more adept than the disabled, disfigured, handicapped, or less competent in our society. Can we stop our busy lives for a moment or two to connect with another, less fortunate human being? Can we take an instant to be kind to those in that group? Can we be grateful that we can share of ourselves?
Yes, we can. Yes, we must. Probably, most of us have been touched by someone in our lives who was born disabled or became so through illness, disease, or an accident. I have, and it has made me humble, made me so much better than the self-absorbed teenager I once was.
Do you ever wonder how you escaped that fate and it befell another? We have an obligation to be kind and gentle to such people. A variation of a famous expression attributed to sixteenth century preacher, John Bradford, is: “There but for the grace of God go I.”
If you encounter a disabled person when you’re out and about, approach them and make a point of saying “hello.” Compliment them on something, anything: “That’s a nice shirt you’re wearing,” “That color looks so attractive on you,” “I like your smile,” “It’s nice to meet you.” Touch them: shake their hand; pat them on the arm or shoulder. That could make their day. It could also make yours.
Maybe when your turn comes to be less able than you are now, and it will come, someone will take a moment to engage you. How wonderful that will feel. After all, inside, you’re still that nice, creative, competent person you once were, or at least you feel that way.
I have a dear friend who has severe Parkinson’s disease. I remember how feisty she used to be. I remember our days of riding our bicycles along the bike path at Santa Monica beach. Now, I visit her from time to time at her assisted living home. I call her as often as possible to chat for a moment. The conversation is short, simple, and not world shaking. However, it brightens both our days.
Stop your very important business to connect with someone who will appreciate it so much. Make time to give of yourself. It will reap benefits to you.
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