My first day of snowboarding for the 2011 season, I had the honor of riding the chair lift up with Frank. I have seen Frank and heard about Frank, but have never talked to him so I was delighted to talk with him on the chair lift up. He lives at the base of the Super Bee chair at Copper Mountain. Frank can be found on first chair most days (it was already his 16th day on the mountain this season). Out his front door are ski hills in the winter and a golf course in the summer. He is thriving in life, full of energy and passion. Frank is 89 years old.
During our November travels, we were “fortunate” to miss our connection from San Jose to Maui and able to surprise my grandparents for a day. They were delighted to see Mia again. Our visit (and my cousin, John) reminded me that family memories and relationship are so special. I’m lucky to have grandparents who are in good health and living independently in their early 90’s! They have lived out all their dreams, so at this point, all that brings them joy is their family of younger generations. That inspires me to be sure I visit and stay in touch. I write to them and send pictures a couple times a month; and Grandpa writes back. It’s so rewarding connecting this way, especially since he can’t hear all that well and communication has always been somewhat of a challenge with the language difference.
On December 2nd, my Uncle Bob turned 83 years old. You would never guess his age by the way he lives life (and the changes of his hair color). He inspires joy and smiles to everyone he passes, wherever he goes… literally! Most days it’s going to the bank, Safeway (to buy lotto tickets), the post office, the gas station or the commisary… wherever it is you will find him singing out loud and engaging people. Uncle Bob served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, earned a purple heart, survived 2 open heart surgeries and lung cancer so these survival stories inspired him to live life vibrantly! He chose to live life this way. On December 8, 2011 my Uncle Bob’s lively soul left this earth and he is singing his heart out in Heaven!
So by these amazing people in my life, working with the Seniors of Louisville and Summit County Seniors, I am inspired to age well. One of my Louisville Seniors, Connie, once said, “Honey, I have earned every one of these wrinkles by laughing so hard.” I will never forget that. In a culture where getting old, wrinkles, sagging and grey hair is often resisted, I have been fortunate to meet those who embrace it.