Growing old is Mandatory, Growing Up . . . Optional!

I thought I would share a short story written by Frank Kaiser, as it's about someone who also favoured my favourite quote by George Bernard Shaw.

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

"Hi handsome," she said, "My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze. "Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel.

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester, we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed, she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry. I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed, she cleared her throat and began: "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!"

"There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything, I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability."

"The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year's end, Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation, Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example, that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

If you read this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it . . . and maybe learn something of what's in store for them down the line!


Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. I love that quote too. I came upon it years ago when I was looking for a quote for something else and instantly fell in love with it. It is entirely true. And I love the lesson behind what Rose said. Particularly the line, "When you lose your dreams, you die." I always think, "One day, I'll try and get that novel published." but one day has turned into many many years. This is such a timely reminder and an inspiration. Excuse me while I go dust off that novel and have another crack at a rewrite.

    Thank you Rose and thank you Xanadu for reminding us that it's never too late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Alasse, I got all soppy when I read it myself, especially right at the end. However when all is said and done, there is something we can all take away from the story.
      Hugs,
      X

      Delete
  2. Hello Sandy,
    That was very beautiful.
    Big hug
    Giac

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for sharing this lovely story Sandi! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are most welcome Sharon. It's a pleasure to write something on the blog from time to time, aside from dolly stuff. I hope you enjoyed it. :)
      Hugs,
      X

      Delete
  4. A beautiful story, thank you for sharing. So true, that you should never stop living your dreams and never let things stop you from trying to do the things you love. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Niina. One must keep on keeping on, it's very satisfying when you do. :)
      Hugs,
      X

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story, it is really inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Musume, I'm pleased you enjoyed it.
      Hugs,
      X

      Delete
  6. Hi Sandi,

    What a wonderful story and message. I really agree, we're never old if our soul is young so we have to keep having and living our dreams. Age is just a number.

    Greetings ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lily,
      I agree with you. I hope to always follow my dreams, irrigardless of what others may think or say, after all we are given one life to live, why not enjoy it and make the most of it while we can. :)
      Hugs,
      X

      Delete

Post a Comment