Conversations That Matter

What’s next for you to be thinking about in your life?   Is it hard to be alone with your thoughts?

In this new stage of life, what is it that’s calling for your attention?  Would it help to find like-minded others with whom to explore it?  Or, how about inaugurating a conversation yourself?

Recently I surprised myself by doing just that. An article caught my attention. It was some research on the Shifting Trends for Resident Engagement at senior living establishments, much like where I currently live at Providence Place in Holyoke, Massachusetts.   As I said, this report really caught my attention. So I gathered a few folks willing to read the report and invited them to lunch to discuss.

What happened is that the conversation generated interest. And seemed to spread of its own accord.

Yes, we do want to be engaged!   My neighbors are older, from the few in their 70’s, to the majority in their 80’s to a surprising number in their 90’s. We’re not dead yet. Nor do we wish to be invisible.  We are still wanting to be living life. Yes, we want safety and security. Yes, we want to be included and accepted for who we are. Yes, we want to live with meaning and purpose during our remaining years. That means that Yes, we want to find our voices and express ourselves.

And that may mean thinking about, and starting to talk about, what we really want to be doing on a daily basis, with whom we want to be doing it… and then, to make it happen.

Very organically, a little grass roots movement started. We named and inaugurated some of the activities and discussions in which we would like to participate as elder beings. From water aerobics,  to a book club, to the memoir writing group, to fulfilling volunteer activities, to the possibility of a choir.That’s the short list.

It’s only been two months. We have a newly arrived Program Administrator who is eager to champion our ideas. There is a new energy of excitement. And it feels good.

Here’s the deal! What matters to you? What conversations about life, from whatever age you are looking forward into your future, are important right now? Is it how to live fully? Or age gracefully? Or plan for a good death?   Or, how not to leave a mess for your children when you pass on? (These are a couple of  tough ones, but you might be surprised how many are wanting a forum in which to explore exactly this.) Or, how to build a supportive community of friends in new circumstances?  There are any number of other queries.

I’m discovering that these conversations are actually proliferating in our cities and towns, as our Boomer demographic enters their 70’s. They are happening at the local colleges, at the senior centers, at the libraries, at the churches and in Meet Up groups. Seek and you shall find.

Or, dare to meet your own needs by just starting a conversation of your own. You might be surprised at the result.


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