Senior Living May 27th 2008

I started reading a book called “Secrets of Becoming a Late Bloomer” by Connie Goldman and Richard Mahler that I heard about while attending the “Aging in America” conference.

The book tells the stories and secrets of how older adults transformed and brought new meaning to their lives becoming late bloomers, those “extraordinary ordinary people who defies the notion that his or her best years are over, someone who responds to the late stage of life not as a crisis but as a quest.”

One of the secrets Connie identified for staying creative, aware and involved in midlife and beyond is knowing who we are. For many of us, we lived our lives trying to be what others wanted us to be or would allow us to be. We became the role or position that we held: a respected manager, a caring parent or a successful adult athlete. But when we turned 50 reaching that half way point in our adult lives and began to see the end of our working career, or we got smacked in the face with some serious event that knocked us off our balance: a major illness, or a death in the family, these life events may cause us to question who we are and what do we really want.

Through greater insight and understanding particularly through the lens of experience we have developed over our many years, we have the ability to better understand who we are. We can begin to see the possibilities and opportunities and live our lives congruently, as one late bloomer would say, where “who we want to be” becomes the same as “who we are” and we stop worrying about who we should be.

Everyday I meet and hear the strories of extraordinary ordinary people: one who started singing in a local country western band, another who is learning to tap dance, another who started a college class in psychology, and another who taught a class on aging. It can go on and on.

By taking this step of finding who we are and what we want with honesty and without fear, we can redefine aging as a time of great potential for growth and opportunity with remarkable rewards. It is not easy but it is possible.

On Tuesday June 3rd, at the Next Chapter Lecture Series, Dean Dollarhide, financial representative for Northwest Mutual, will be discussing the The Myths and Realities of Long Term Care – The Basics”. Dean is another home town boy who has returned and is actively giving back to the community.

Next Tuesday Night, June 3rd, the music program will feature Harold Gimlin and Friends playing down home Country and Western music. Harold is well known in the local “jamming” scene and he and his friends will put on a really nice show. Tonight the “Jazz Generations” will be performing. The dancing always starts at 7:00 PM. The admission is free although donations are gladly accepted.

Tuesday is the Senior Center Night for music and dancing but Friday night is dance night at the Cherry Park Grange, 1002 Lambert St. in The Dalles. They have line and partner dance lessons starting at 7 p.m. followed by open dancing to DJ music until 10 p.m. It is open to singles and couples of all ages (kids, teens and adults) and only costs $3 per person, $5 per couple and $6 for the whole family. For more information, call 993-3540. And if you don’t want to dance the night away, there is Gospel Music every Thursday night and Karaoke Music on the fourth Sunday of the month from 7 – 10 p.m. All at the Cherry Park Grange.

On June 7th from 12 to 8 pm, you are invited to a Mosier Cherry Festival benefit for the Seniors of Mosier. It is described as an Octoberfest but in June. There will be food booths, arts and crafts, carnival games for the kids, bingo, desserts and dancing in the streets. For venders or anyone who has questions contact Bernie Evans at 541-490 6882. It sounds like fun and way to support the seniors in Mosier. Like many of us, Seniors of Mosier Valley are dealing with the transition from depending on the old guard to recruiting the younger newly retired seniors. They have been in existence for 28 years providing many activities including lunch every Monday and Wednesday in the community room at Mosier Creek Terrace. As Bernie Evans said, “The Seniors of Mosier Valley isn’t anything but a fun place to go relax and visit.”

Skip Tschanz has led three Wildflower Walks this spring, and he is willing to continue through the summer leading a hike on the first Monday of every month. The next hike on June 2nd is a moderate trail hike, less strenuous than last month’s Mosier Syncline hike, and has two great waterfalls, Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls plus the bridge over Oneonta Gorge. (And there could even still be some wildflowers.) Skip suggests hikers wear traction soled walking shoes to avoid slipping and sliding and to also bring some water. This hike will start at 10:00 a.m. and we should be back to the center by 4:00 p.m. We will car pool from the Senior Center and gas donations are welcome, but not mandatory.

Just a last reminder on Thursay May 27th at 1:00 at the Senior Center, Collette Tours will present information about trips to Branson, Missouri this October and San Antonio in March 2009.

That is it again for another week. It is always nice to have an extra day off. It gives you a little time just to catch up. So until we meet again, be true to yourself.

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