By Katie Sufferling, Program Coordinator, Washington Park Senior Center, Interfaith Older Adult Programs
I'm going to tell you a story about a woman named Marlene. I work for Interfaith Older Adult Programs, Inc., a non-profit that helps older adults in Milwaukee County. More specifically I work at a Senior Center as a Program Coordinator. Instantly you picture wheelchairs, grumpy old men, and lots of drool, right?
I did too until I started working here and met a woman named Marlene. Marlene is involved in several activities at the Center including dance groups (Jazzy Jewels Pictured) and Yoga. Every time she comes into our office she radiates joy and positive energy. She sits and chats about how wonderful life can be if you look at it with a positive attitude. She gushes about her community and her involvement with her family and friends. Sometimes these conversations are unwelcomed due to my tired and cranky nature, but most of the times she is a real inspiration on how I want to be now and 40 years from now. Marlene is 80 years old, but she looks and acts like she's 50. All the participants we have here are interested in enriching their lives. We have Seniors learning to play piano, exercising, learning new languages, weaving rugs, participating in Zumba...the list goes on.
Many of us are driven, intent upon proving ourselves and making sure we fit into societies mold. We go from work to volunteering to social events to work without stopping to take a breath. Seniors like Marlene have taught me that life is short so don't forget to slow down and enjoy it. One way I've begun doing this is writing down “one line a day” in my journal about my daily activities. This helps me reflect on where I've been and what I've done.
How do you seize the day?