Spreading “ FUNshine” in the Older Years

Today marks a full four months and six days since my hubby of sixty years and I moved to our Happy-Ever-After retirement community cottage. We are settling in very nicely. Tomorrow the last pictures will be hung in my “office,” and by the end of this week our closets will be ready for winter, with summer stashed snugly in the attic.

“Learn something new every day.” It is amazing how it happens. The other day as we ventured to the exercise room, we happened upon a lovely lady coming down the hall, pushing her walker. She was dressed carefully: hair fixed nicely, a touch of makeup on her face, and earrings completing her “put together look.” She moved at a spry clip, and as we met in the hall, I said, “Good Morning! You certainly look pretty today.”  She stopped, smiled, and replied with a twinkle in her eye, “Thank you. Guess I am not too bad for 102 years old!” WHAT???

The remainder of that day I could not stop thinking about her. Learned her name is Helen, and although she attributes her well-being to “good genes,” you and I know that is only part of the story. How eager I am to interview her, if she will agree. How interesting her story must be, and how lucky we are to be exposed to such a remarkable role model. Living in this lovely retirement facility opens doors to realizing that this is not a place where people only come to live out the remainder of their days. No, older age is not about aches and pains, or of letting go of our former lives. Rather it can be a time of renewal, of watching, listening, and embracing life with excitement and enthusiasm. It is a happy choice and privilege.

Spacious grounds around Cedarfield are conducive to wonderful walks. There are carefully maintained  paths through the woods, with strategically placed benches for those who choose to stop for a brief rest. There are bridges with handrails on them to steady the more tenuous traveler…What fun to meet fellow walkers and their pups. Lady Pippa Piper, known as Pippa, is our five-year-old Border Terrier who loves meeting new friends. All animals are on leashes, and all owners are dedicated pet lovers. Breeds are gentle…no Pitbulls, Rotweillers or other scary types.

One lady we met last week introduced us to her lovely rescue dog, Gloria. Pippa and she became instant friends, and we vowed to meet again. So, what I am saying is that pets at this stage of life are a plus. They force us outside in all kinds of weather; they are a conduit to meeting neighbors; and they keep us moving forward, so that we don’t freeze up, get stiff and stoggy. Having a pet is caring for another living creature. I am convinced that just as dogs or kitties are important in the development of little children they are equally beneficial to older folks. They help us remember how important it is to love others, be they four legged or two legged.

Returning home this afternoon from a leisurely trek with Pippa, I felt energized, invigorated and grateful for the glorious crispy, sunny fall weather. Bottle it up to uncork during the dark dreary days of January or February. As we finished the walk through the woods, Pip and I met a lady with a fluffy, well-groomed pooch, whose tail wagged her welcome. We stopped, introduced ourselves; I learned that the pup’s owner is a lady also named Joy! We laughed, and she told me there are three of us here at Cedarfield, although the third is a big old dog named Joy!

So, life is good. Stress level is minimal. The adjustment process is 99.0% fini. We are happy. We are more than glad we made this move in a timely fashion, before we started to fall apart. We are glad that we can let go of what once was and embrace a new chapter of life with enthusiasm. And I know deep in my heart that we can give back with gratitude for our many blessings by Spreading the “FunShine” of Living. A small thing to do in the grand scheme of this universe…

Joy Nevin is the author of Joy of Retirement – Live, Love, and Learn. Click to buy on Amazon.

Top photo Bigstock

About Joy Nevin (76 Articles)
Joy Nevin was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, attended Connecticut College for Women for two years until she married John Nevin in 1957. Four children later, with twelve corporate moves in 20 years, the family learned flexibility. In 1990, with a nearly empty nest, Joy and John moved to Richmond, Virginia where they put down roots. Now in her eighties, Joy is the author of “Get Moving: A Joyful Search to Meet and Embrace Life Transitions” (2002) and “Joy of Retirement: Live, Love and Learn” (2015). Since 2016 she has written numerous articles for Woman Around Town on downsizing, moving to a retirement facility and her current series, Octo Observations. She is also a proud Grammy of nine, great grandmother of two…..AND forever grateful to Charlene Giannetti for supporting her passion for writing!