It’s Okay to Try!
While growing up, I often heard the words “it’s okay to try”. In fact, my parents were so supportive of me dabbling in new interests that in retrospect, they may have felt like a pinball bouncing from lever to lever.
Don’t misunderstand me. We didn’t have the means for travel, private lessons, and luxury purchases. My “trying things” related to everyday stuff. Like the time I begged my dad to install a ballet barre in the basement so I could do a new exercise routine. (I think the barre was used less than 12 times.) Exploring and doing different things kept life fun and curious. It helped shape the person I am today.
A Recent Reminder
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sharon Christ during a recent Embracing Aging virtual discussion titled, Hey Younger Self, Think About Your Aging Now.
Sharon shared she wished she thought more about her older decades when she was younger. The impact of not doing so tossed her into a whirlwind after retirement, which included redefining her purpose.
As she encouraged us not to limit our thinking as we age, I realized my childhood “it’s okay to try” mantra lost its priority in the busyness of life. Recognizing there’s a potential of living 20-30+ years beyond traditional retirement age, I started to imagine what my purpose will be in my later years.
Some people treat older adults like antique cars; they can handle a Sunday drive but not a long-distance trip. In other words, they were useful in their prime, but no longer. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our abilities to learn, create, and be productive do not disappear as we age.
In fact, some people blaze history later in life because they have the freedom do so. For instance, Grandma Moses didn’t take up art until age 75, when arthritis made embroidery too difficult.
Whether big or small, having something to look forward to and be particularly excited about is integral to our quality of aging. That’s Sharon’s message to her younger self, and to people of all ages.
Resources to Cultivate Your Purpose
To help people cultivate their purpose, Sharon shared a partial list of resources she finds helpful. We hope you will too, after all, it’s always okay to give something a try.
Employment and Volunteering
- York County Economic Alliance - https://www.yceapa.org/workforce-development/
- AARP Work Reimagined - https://www.aarp.org/work/?intcmp=GLBNAV-PL-WOR-WOR
- ReServe - https://www.reserveinc.org/
- Age Equity Alliance - https://ageequityalliance.org/
- United Way of York County Volunteer Center - https://www.unitedway-york.org/volunteer-center
- Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) - http://rsvpcapreg.org/
- SpiriTrust Lutheran (some opportunities pay gas mileage reimbursement) - https://www.spiritrustlutheran.org/volunteer/
- Community Progress Council Foster Grandparent Program - https://www.yorkcpc.org/programs/early-childhood-education/foster-grandparent-program/
- American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) - https://www.aarp.org/giving-back/
- Leadership York - http://www.leadershipyork.org/placement-opportunities
- Volunteer Match - https://www.volunteermatch.org/
- Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) - https://olli.york.psu.edu/
- Harrisburg Area Community College - hacc.edu
- Penn State York - yk.psu.edu
- York College of Pennsylvania - ycp.edu
- York Art Association - https://www.yorkartassociation.org/
- Senior Centers (offer a variety of programming) - https://yorkcountypa.gov/county-human-services/agency-on-aging/senior-centers.html
- Road Scholar (combines learning with travel) - https://www.roadscholar.org/
- Embracing Aging – EmbracingAging.org
- York 365 - https://www.york365.com/about-us/
- Seniors Blue Book Events - https://www.seniorsbluebook.com/events?distance=50&search_location=Leola%2C+Pennsylvania