Monday, January 23, 2012

Dreams Are Renewable

Are you too old to get married? Several years ago, Jim Gorringe, 99, and Dinah Leach, 84, wedded at the St. James Rest Home in Christchurch, New Zealand. Both had been previously married and great, great grandchildren attended the ceremony.

Just before the wedding, the groom quipped, "We won't be having children."

I wonder if this is the same older couple who stopped by a pharmacy a couple months before their wedding. They told the pharmacist they wanted to get married. "Do you sell heart medication?" they asked. He said that of course they do.

"Then how about medicine for circulation?"

The druggist replied, "All kinds."

"Do you have drugs for rheumatism, arthritis, memory problems and scoliosis?"

The pharmacist assured them that they had a wide array of medicines for all of those problems and more.

"And you sell wheelchairs, walkers and canes?"

"Absolutely," said the druggist. "Whatever you need."

They looked at each other and smiled. "Great!" the bride-to-be said. "We’d like to register here for our wedding gifts."

You have to admire their enthusiasm. They may have old memories – that is a gift of age. But they also have young hopes.

Author and television personality Hugh Downs reported some good news for seniors. He said that when older adults are properly motivated, their intelligence does not wane. In fact, the ability to organize thinking may actually increase as folks age. Many people in their 50's, 60's and even 70's can go through college with greater efficiency than at 18.

Adults over 70 years of age have contributed richly and in varied ways.

  • Emmanuel Kant wrote his finest philosophical works at age 74.
  • Verdi at 80 produced "Falstaff" and at 85, "Ave Maria."
  • Goethe was 80 when he completed "Faust."
  • Tennyson was 80 when he wrote "Crossing the Bar."
  • Michelangelo completed what may have been his greatest work at age 87.
  • At age 90, Justice Holmes was still writing brilliant American Supreme Court opinions.

And then there's George Dawson. George learned to read at age 98. (He was forced to quit school when he was a small child in order to help support his family.) "I got tired of writing my name with an 'X,'" he said. Four years later, at age 102, he co-authored his autobiography, Life Is So Good, published by Random House.

Dreams are renewable. They need not expire like an over-due library book. No matter our age, we can breathe new life into old dreams. In fact, we have to renew our dreams, or else they will wither away altogether.

I don’t want to spend my life so busy looking back that I lose interest in what lies ahead. As I age, I will have old memories. But I also want a few young hopes.

After all, dreams are renewable.

-- Steve Goodier

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