Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many…

by | Oct 19, 2013

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“Growing Old is a Privilege Denied to Many. Says WWII Veteran…”

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
“WASHINGTON, March 12, 2001 – “Don’t regret growing old, it’s a privilege denied to many,” reads a sign on the wall of 87-year-old Bertha “Birdie” Gelfer’s small, tastefully decorated room here at the Soldiers’ and Airman’s Home.”
My Grandson, Joey, gave me a book sometime ago entitled, The Elder Within, the Source of Mature Masculinity, by Terry Jones. Jones dispels the belief that our final years should be either of self-indulgence in our motor homes and on the Florida beaches, or of sitting around wondering why we can’t be young. He provides all sorts of ways to be in truly enjoyable service, and suggests that our indulgence can come in the form of sharing our stories and watching as our mentor-ship makes a difference in the earth, our community, or in the life of a men-tee.”

I was also reminded this past week that we boomers have the “privilege” of growing older that so many have not, including the warriors and 1st responders who have given the ultimate sacrifice fighting to protect our freedoms during the 20th and early 21st Centuries…  Thinking about my own demise is a tad scary as a normal human reaction, but when taking into account the joys and rewards of growing older, I am mindful once again of living in the moment.  I am especially grateful for having the opportunity of making a difference in the lives of others.  When we focus on mentor ship as aging citizens we can reinvent ourselves with new purpose and freedom to do the job we were set out to do in the first place, to be the source of leadership and inspiration to others who count on us being present and proactive in our community at large.  

My own work with Neighbors for Kids, publishing a book, writing this blog, and public speaking, has transformed my post retirement life completely, giving purpose to the reality of aging and growing older.  We boomers have much to offer with our many years of education, career experience, and wisdom.  We are a welcome addition to any team of community service and business leaders when we continue to contribute in life following retirement at any age.  We also have the freedom of influencing positive change without the worry of being fired.  It feels great to be an independent thinker.  What we do and say is mostly well received and non-threatening to most as aging team members with the potential of making a huge difference.

When the worry of aging starts to get in the way, get out of your comfort zone, and become engaged in something larger than yourself.  There is nothing more rewarding than to discover your true value in making a difference in the lives of others and your community.  Besides, when engaged in a proactive ways with others each and every day, the aches and pains of getting older seem to magically disappear!  And remember, “do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.”

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story  click to order…


About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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