My maternal grandparents were integral to me and my siblings in myriad ways and left a lasting impact on how I live my life. Gram and Gramps were two of the most energetic, sociable people I’d ever known. Giving back to their community was a mission they took on with a fervor; remaining independent and able was, too.
Gram was always on the move, helping out her neighbors, baking cakes and cookies for charity rummage sales at the church, watching after us grandkids while my mother worked and producing beautiful paintings – a passion she developed in the latter portion of her life. Gramps was known for his massive summer garage sales, never meeting a stranger and refusing to let anyone help out around his house (or ours) – even if that meant climbing up on precariously tall ladders to clean the gutters or prune trees, which he did until he was 90 years old. (He also was known for hiding “trashy” romance novels and then feigning any knowledge of the books’ owner, though we all knew it was him.) Gram and Gramps were the epitome of the adage “use it or lose it,” which helped me to view aging in a, well, golden light instead of looking at the inevitable with trepidation.
In her interview, dancer Jeannde Ford – who is featured on the cover – discusses a new Louisville Ballet program geared toward seniors and the understanding that movement is imperative to longevity and health. But, she adds, so, too, is the playfulness of imagination, regardless of one’s age.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, one doctor referred to my state as a “geriatric pregnancy” (I was 41 the day I gave birth but still…), and my husband and I joke about the impending days when we know we’ll be mistaken for our child’s grandparents. But I don’t care. Aging is an opportunity. When I’m 60 or 70 or 80, I am going to be among the people in a class like the ones Jeannde will teach, finding a new passion, using my imagination. I’m going to wear whatever I want – leather jackets, tutus, yoga pants – and ignore what the world says about “acting your age.” And, like my grandparents, I am going to use it – whatever that means to me at the time – and refuse with a fervor to lose it.
No matter your age, I hope you find a bit of inspiration in this, our Senior Living issue, which also features post-coverage of Speed Ball 2018, one of the most magical events I’ve ever attended. You can find even more photos of the spectacular soiree on our website, voice-tribune.com.