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Consider the Sunset on Your 102nd Birthday
We celebrated my neighbor Alice this evening.
A quick reminder that the next Small-Group Conversation Reunion is happening tomorrow (Saturday, 10/28) at 7pm ET. This online event is open to all past participants. If you’ve participated in any of the small-group gatherings, you’re invited to the reunion!
This photo was taken a few hours ago. Another sunset celebration for my incredible friend Alice. In honor of her 102nd birthday, I wanted to share some words I wrote two years ago.
Consider the sunset on your 100th birthday.
In a season of disappointment and feeling alone, the humble invitation was handed to me. A single simple piece of paper announcing that my neighbor Alice was about to be 100 years old. A celebration at the river just before sunset on her big day, and I was invited. At the bottom of the paper was this sentence: “The important part is that you are wanted there!” That’s a heck of a line.
Two years ago, there’s no way I would have said yes to an invite from a neighbor I barely know, to celebrate another neighbor I barely know. But I’m trying to do better. Being alone all the time isn’t good.
Alice was born on October 27, 1921 in New Jersey. Her parents came to the United States from Poland, before it was called Poland, just before World War I. She loves playing bridge, she’s in a book club, she still drives, and she plays golf twice a week. I learned all of this at the party, because I wanted to start to learn about Alice.
Being there this evening was surprisingly emotional, every interaction with Alice arriving as an honor, like talking to a queen. And I thought about a few things. I thought about how beautiful and wonderful this was, and yet I wondered how many other older folks feel invisible, feel alone. 100 is exciting but what about 74 and 81? What if we valued all our seniors the way my neighborhood values Alice? I also thought about the tragedy of suicide, the many lives that end too soon. I thought about the contrast of Alice’s life. This woman was born a century ago, but also, quite simply, THIS WOMAN IS STILL ALIVE!
We can’t know how many years we will be given. Maybe 72, maybe 57, maybe 81, maybe 26 or 17 or even less. May we stay alive as long as possible, believing that life is worth living all along the way, in every different season, that love is possible. Connection. Friendship. Wonder. Other people. Life. More life.
Consider the sunset on your 100th birthday. The important part is that you are wanted there.
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