My job as Service Coordinator exposes me to all sorts of breakthroughs. My property serves the low-income elderly and disabled. These are folks who likely did not have many opportunities for personal growth early in life, or for whatever reason find themselves at a disadvantage in their current life. Previously, I had only served as a receptionist, and my interactions were limited to collecting rent, renewing leases, and taking work orders, so being able to offer the residents something more than a roof over their heads has been beneficial to all of us.
The drawing above is from our art class. It was drawn by a man who just recently turned 79. He told the teacher that he had taken one art class back in school, and it was something he always wished he could have studied more. I thought back to my great-grandfather who had only gotten as far as finishing 8th grade. After that, it was time to leave school and help out on the farm. Here in the middle of rural Texas, that’s what a lot of young men did. Then it’s off to join the armed forces (often lying about their age to get in earlier), then settle down and find a job to support a family. Art didn’t have much of a place for these men, but here he is picking up the hobby for the first time in nearly 70 years.
Another story this week comes from a man in his late 40s. He has suffered from mood disorders his whole life, and because depression can make a person less active and a bit neglectful of their health, he had gained significant weight and acquired a number of back and joint pains. Through it all, his concern for the well-being of others never waned. He’s always the first to ask someone how their day is going, and volunteers to help out if he can. Recently, he had a scary wake-up call from his doctor, and knew he needed to make changes. He stopped smoking, he started having balanced, portion-controlled meals provided in our clubhouse, and has been walking to work off some of the weight. His pain is diminishing, he’s enjoying healthy foods, and he’s got a positive outlook on life. He genuinely looks forward to every new day. Today, he even mentioned that he’s found a gym that he wants to visit once a week that will allow him to do the things he’s good at again (he’s a licensed swimming/diving instructor).
I’m sure they never thought they would be trying these things again, but these folks are teaching me something: it’s never too late to start enjoying life. It’s there to be lived, right up to the end.