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Saluting Seniors

While some elderly people, either by choice or illness, have “retired” from community activities, a vast number of older individuals fuel the world through volunteering, continuing education, mentoring and role modeling. We deliver Meals on Wheels, stock food banks and care for neighbors who cannot fend for themselves. Many of us usher at local theatres, reminding patrons that theatre is an essential part of life, nourishing the soul and mind.  

For many years, I have been a member of Osher, a lifelong learning program for seniors. My classmates and I–all Baby Boomers–have a wide variety of courses from which to choose, ranging from foreign languages to Brazilian music to trips to the Galapagos Islands. The high school students I tutor are impressed that I, at age seventy-five, am still a student. My example teaches them that education does not have to be confined to the four walls of a classroom or only be the means to a career.

We Baby Boomers play positive roles in society. We tend to vote in large numbers, basing our ballot choice on the character of candidates, not on their blue or red affiliation. We buy season tickets to the symphony, ballet and opera, and we attend the authors’ lectures at the local libraries. At a restaurant, we speak to the people with whom we are dining, demonstrating that interpersonal relationships matter more than individualized texting.

America does not sing our praises at a ceremony. There is no Tony, Oscar, Emmy or Grammy for what we do. We do not walk the red carpet. But a lack of public recognition does not deny us the status of heroes. We are assets, not liabilities—the givers, learners and wise women and men who enrich society through what we do and who we are.

Ronna L. Edelstein
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Comments

2 thoughts on “Saluting Seniors”

  1. Thank you, Ronna for these positive comments, especially the value of volunteering. Soon after retirement I took a “dynamic aging” course at OLLI, and one of the takeaways was the importance of finding purpose and meaning through volunteering. As a fellow pet therapy volunteer said, “It’s the highest paying non-paying job in the world!” Volunteers are the life blood of so many organizations, and there is always a need.

    1. Ronna Edelstein

      Thank you for reading my essay and responding to it. I 100% agree with your praise of volunteers. I hope that good health allows you to remain active and to give back to your community.

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