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The Story Of Lanta Ladies

So often, the things that are the most powerful determinants in our lives, seem to be so inconsequential at the time. We had the privilege of having older parents. You may ask: “Older? Exactly what does that mean?” Well, when we were born, our mother was 38 years old and our dad was 60. It was the first marriage for both. Mom traveled the world over with the Red Cross only to go back and marry the man next door.


Growing up, we never gave our Dad’s age a second thought. When Dad’s siblings were enjoying the births of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Dad was savoring every minute of the births of his own five children. We like to think we kept him young. Even as little girls, we were mystified when an acquaintance pulled Dad aside to give him some unsolicited advice about having such a large brood “at his age.”  Unfazed,  Dad chose to blaze unchartered territory and raise a family during the third act of his life. He enjoyed good health and lived to the ripe age of 90. We never saw his age as a liability, if anything, we saw it as an asset. Through the lens of many well lived years, he had the amazing capacity of keeping the main thing the main thing. Our mother was the extrovert. . . the emotive one. Dad, on the other hand, was that quiet anchor that steadied our course.

Having been imprinted in an indelible way by the rich potential of the third act of life, it is no surprise that we chose to trail blaze too. In our sixth decade, we, like our Dad, chose to embark on a new journey as well.

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Having worked in the senior industry for quite some time, we both have witnessed the powerful unfolding of the promise and possibility that only comes with age. And, unfortunately, we are also aware, like in our Dad’s time, that there is no shortage of naysayers regarding aging. If anything, the chorus of critics has only gotten more vocal. They all sing variations on the theme of “ageism.” The one-liners abound. We all have heard them at one time or the other:

  • It’s too late to start your own business.

  • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

  • The old grey mare just ain’t what she used to be. 

  • Let the young folk get out there on the playing field. You’ve had your chance. Now it’s their turn. (As if there is a statue of limitations on dreaming after you reach a certain age.)

Sadly, too many seniors are yielding to this rhetoric; they are exchanging the truth for a lie and folding up their tents prematurely, and. . . .  as a result, we are ALL the losers. 


The words of Moses in Deuteronomy 30:19 have always had a special meaning to both of us through the decades: 


“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” 

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As the stages of our lives progress, we have different needs; and with these changing needs, we must discover fresh reasons to “choose life.” The story of one resident Robbye had the privilege to minister to speaks to this very point. In Robbye’s own words:


One day, as chaplain at Lenbrook (the retirement community where I serve), I heard the news that we would be receiving a “hospice alum”.  Hmmm…” I said. “Alumni from hospice……I don’t think I have ever heard of that before. Tell me more.”  The hospice staff went on to explain that this incoming resident had so flourished with the around the clock  care of hospice that she no longer was deemed “actively dying.” 

One thing led to another, and before I knew it, this new resident was moving into our Assisted Living. At 94 years young, she courageously chose to start a new chapter in her life. Once she settled in, she made her way down to our Event Center to enjoy the weekly dances. While she didn’t feel steady on her feet, this resident could hum, tap her fingers and keep time with the best of them. It pleased me no end to see her enjoying not only the music, but the company of her new-found friends.

Everyone took to this resident  like a duck takes to water. At 94 years young, she simply did not have time for game playing.  She was as authentic as they come, and soon, she had all of us eating out of her hand. In short, she jumped into life with both feet and she never looked back. 

Upon entering hospice, this resident had dutifully given away most of her earthly belongings to family members. I will never forget the day I heard that this resident had called her daughters and asked them “to please bring back her jewelry because she now had a need to wear them again.” And wear that jewelry she did! For a solid 13 months we enjoyed our hospice alum.

It takes a great deal of grace to “choose life” whatever our age. We all have a need to find fresh reasons to wear our jewelry again. Lanta Ladies and Trail Blazing Aging, intend to join the young-olds of this world to:

  • Challenge the traditional aging stereotypes, 

  • Combat the three plagues of aging; Loneliness, Helplessness and Boredom (edenalt.org) and

  • Encourage others to embrace the bright promise and possibility of aging.

 

This is more than a podcast… we are brokering a new culture:

  • Where people proudly own their age instead of going to great lengths to hide it

  • Where “rewirement” replaces retirement (Northof52.com)

  • And where growing bolder supplants growing older. (Growingbolder.com)

We invite you to saddle up and join us as we explore this new frontier for the young at heart. 

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