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What is it, then, that memories are made of? From what these folks stated so well, the answer is LIFE. And how can we live life to its fullest? One of these seniors had the perfect answer, “Do not waste a moment of it.”

Memories are Made of This


By —— Bio and Archives--October 25, 2020

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Memories are Made of ThisIt’s enjoyable to mingle with folks who embrace our values, so I was especially pleased when I recently visited with a group of others who steadfastly embraced mine.  No, these folks were not family or friends.  They were an array of local men and women engaged in various activities at our Senior Citizens Center.

For added clarification, this citizen’s center is not a living facility; it is built like a meeting hall and it is open daily 9 to 5.  There are rest rooms and a small kitchen located behind the main room that is furnished with recliners, sofas, card tables, magazine racks, and a large-screen TV.  Not extravagant, but quite comfortable.



“If I had my life to live over, I would .....”

For the record, I have been a senior more years than I like to admit, but I wasn’t a member of this gathering, nor had I ever attended one of their functions.  Quite simply, my purpose in being there was to snoop for ideas for an article to write for the publication you are now viewing:  Canada Free Press.

What story did I have in mind, and what fodder did I expect to glean from a group of seniors you might ask? Well, truth is, I have gotten many article ideas from talking to others.  We all collect a variety of things as we traverse the road of life, but in my opinion no acquisition made along the way is as important or as precious as our storehouse of memories.  With this truism in mind, then, can you think of a better way to dredge for memories than visiting and talking with a bunch of seniors?  And, ironically, before concluding my visit I had enough ideas for several stories.

My first step at this gathering was to introduce myself to the group’s activity director.  This delightful lady was not quite old enough to have been my mother, but with her infectious smile and warm congeniality, she was the perfect host.  Within minutes I felt as if I had known her for a lifetime.  With this bond established, she made appropriate introductions, which also included the purpose of my visit.  In a short while I was seated with a double handful of like-minded others all willing to help in my quest.

The tricky part was how to open discussion with a topic all would feel comfortable with.  So, with this comfy-level parameter in mind, I sought their input on some words we’ve all uttered at one time or another:  “If I had my life to live over, I would (fill in the blank).”

Old dogs CAN learn new tricks

I had danced to this tune many times, and in the process had speculated on several avenues where I would have taken a different path.  How about the folks here?  Had they, too, thought of doing some things differently if they could live their life over?  Yes, many said they would, but not in grand fashion.  Space does not allow a full account, so here is my recap.

Sourpusses hold place in most groups and this one was no exception.  But why such attitude?  One man’s summation said it best: “It’s that thing about ‘too old too soon; too smart too late,’” he said.  “That is, I spent a lifetime acting the part those around me wanted me to be instead of finding contentment within myself.”

On the flip side, one spicy woman said she had never wasted a minute worrying about what others thought. As to aging, she said, “Aging is the price we pay for the game of life.  I love life, but I’m fighting the aging part every step of the way.”

Much to my surprise, no one in the group mentioned they would have chosen a different mate or occupation.  Indeed, most of the comments about what they would have done differently centered on personal attitude.  A few of the most notable items included the following.  Old dogs CAN learn new tricks.  Learning and doing keeps the mind and body in shape.  It is always darkest before the dawn, so do not waste a single day.  If one door in life closes, another will surely open.  The last one here was my favorite: Never fear adversity; it is simply a speed bump along the road of life.

 

The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience

My time with this group was enjoyable and was made more so because these folks had tangible memory to support the views they shared.  In retrospect I see their individual comments give echo to the words of Aleister Crowley.

“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”

What is it, then, that memories are made of?  From what these folks stated so well, the answer is LIFE.  And how can we live life to its fullest?  One of these seniors had the perfect answer, “Do not waste a moment of it.”

After thanking these folks for their time and hospitality, I started back home, thankful for this day and confident that I had not wasted a moment of it.


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Bob Burdick -- Bio and Archives

Bob Burdick is the author of The Margaret Ellen, Tread Not on Me, and Stories Along The Way, a short-story collection that won the Royal Palm Book Award.




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