By Dr. Rich Bimler, Lutheran Life Communities –

GROWING OLDERMy thought for this day comes from Solon of Athens, known as one of the seven wise men of the world, who said many, many years ago, “I grow older, constantly learning!” Now that’s what I call aging gracefully!

To be wise these days does not mean that we know all of the answers. Rather, it means that we have become wise enough to know that we do not know all of the answers! As you and I age, we take on the responsibility of modeling and mentoring those younger than we are what life and living are all about. We do this by showing that people of every age continue to learn and share their learnings with others. We do this by listening and forgiving and affirming people, rather than by convincing and confronting and arguing with them.
So, what have you learned this week? Who have you listened to? Who have you forgiven? Who have your encouraged? Perhaps you have even learned how it feels to be forgiven and loved and accepted.

Maybe you are learning a new hobby. Perhaps you learned something more about a neighbor. Maybe you enrolled in an on-line course in photography or enrolled in a course at Edison College or at a community agency. Some of us older adults even attempt to learn new habits, like a daily walk, time for meditation, e-mailing a friend every day, just to say HI!

Gracefully aging is all about living life each day as if it is our last day on earth. It is accepting each day as a gift and living it with gusto. It is sharing your ups and your downs, your UH-OH’s and your AH-HA’s with others. It is knowing that the Lord continues to love us, just the way we are – and that sure is a relief!

Aging gracefully is also planning ahead for our future, with hope, even though we do not know what the future holds. That is one of the benefits of having The Arlington of Naples, our new continuing care residential community, being built right in our own back yards! It will allow us the opportunity to consider how best to spend our future days here on earth, as God’s grace-filled and learning people!

There is another favorite quote of mine that fits in here also. Author G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “Make your religion less like a theory and more like a love affair!” To be in love with life, and the people who surround us, is what aging gracefully is all about. It is seeing people as blessings from the Lord rather than as burdens.

May today be a great learning experience for each of us! May you encourage yourself and others to see today as a Gift – after all, that is why we call it the Present!

God’s blessings to you as you live life today as a love affair, learning as you live, in the Lord!

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