“Do, What you’re going to do in longevity. Not just what happens tomorrow.” – Skitch Henderson
What would you do with an extra ten, fifteen or twenty vibrant and healthy years added to your life? Would you travel, take art classes, spend quality time with family and friends? Would you read more books, go skydiving, garden, prepare gourmet meals? How about volunteering at a nursing home, giving manicures to people who can’t get out of their homes or giving a smile to those less fortunate than you?
My mother is in her eighties. She may move a bit slower than she did when she was in her forties, but she still gets around just fine. And where do you think she spends her time every Monday, just like clockwork?
Monday is the day she gets in the car with her good friend and fellow church member Christine, who is also an octogenarian, and they visit shut-ins. They visit people in their area who are in nursing homes, hospitals or in their own homes but unable to get out.
That’s right! These two women who have earned the right to sit quietly at home and enjoy some peaceful time instead choose to bring smiles, flowers, lively conversation and companionship to others every week. Some of the people they visit are even younger than they are! But my mother and Christine have an advantage.
They have tapped into one of the little known secrets of longevity.
As my mother sits with shut-ins, she often combs their hair, clips their fingernails and puts cream on their dry hands. After so many years of doing this, she said she found that most of the people she visits are starved for a little attention, a gentle touch and an interested ear. But, she brings far more than just a manicure set and a comb when she walks into those rooms. She brings a sense of purpose, a will to live fully and a passion for what she does. She doesn’t just touch their hands. Indeed, she touches their hearts.
Many people have come up to me and told me what a difference my mother’s visits have made when their mother or father was no longer able to get around. Some people have called her an angel and I understand why. She exudes a desire to do something wonderful in this world. She loves having a joy-filled purpose. And she loves to make a difference, one person at a time.
So what does my mother do with her time since her retirement? How does she stay youthful, vibrant and alive? What keeps her going long after other people her age have stopped doing much at all? She has tapped into the longevity secret of being passionate, caring, having a sense of purpose and a strong desire to serve.
I bet she’ll be visiting those shut-ins for a long, long time, don’t you?