In a recent interview with the CBC, Margaret Atwood made a profound observation about turning 80. To paraphrase what she said: we don’t know where life’s road will take us, but we journey on. We cannot know what is around each corner, or how it will end.
We all know that life can be very busy. As we rush through roles of child, student, parent, and worker, we don’t have much time for reflection. For me, raising a family as a single parent was full of various multiple jobs – sometimes four at a time. Besides work, life’s road included caring for children, siblings, aging parents, neighbours, students, friends, family pets, and renovating old houses. I enjoyed every adventure. I won scholarships and earned three university degrees as my daughters grew into adults. As life flew by, I’m proud that I found opportunities to make a difference, I stood up for those less fortunate, and actually risked my life to make the world a better place. That mindset continues in retirement, and I want to pass on the wisdom I earned, but does anyone really care?
Many seniors will tell you about their family, of years of caring and kindness, and of career and work challenges. Now retired, they may have good friends and family close, yet some live alone, far from family, and sometimes nobody calls them for weeks. They may still drive neighbours to the store and try to help others, and they may have pets to keep them company. But, as they age, they need to know that family, friends, and neighbours remember them and care about their welfare.
So during this holiday’s family celebrations, please check in on the seniors in your life and neighbourhood. They may be a friend or neighbour, a parent, or relative. Or, you may barely know their name, but they may have shovelled your walk when you were sick. Now they need to be included and to know someone cares. Do it for your own ancestors who shaped you. Just get in touch – call them, walk with them, ask how they are and what they would like, enjoy tea or coffee together, hug them, and say thank you for being kind. It will do your heart good, and help you both remember the good things as you share life’s road together.
Margaret Atwood was right in that we don’t know what lies ahead in our life’s journey, but we can make the present better by showing seniors that we care about their welfare. When we keep in touch, we will all enjoy the true meaning of holiday giving.
This local senior has requested that their name be withheld, because they could be any senior in our area.