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Growing Older is Mandatory. Growing Up is Optional

I yesterday got an e-mail with the nice story below about growing old and an old lady full of zest for life. It reminded me of four octogenarians I met in the course of the years and who impressed me a lot. One was a German theosophist from whom I inherited two big boxes of valuable books in the 80ies, shortly before he passed over. Another was an Argentinian marine officer and theosophist who started doing the Spanish translation of the Lunar Messenger, a third one a German lady from the WTT, a deeply spiritual person whom we visited last summer shortly before her passing, and the fourth a Canadian lady with a long spiritual background in the high 80ies with whom I have regular e-mail exchange (she just sent a note…). Here it goes:

“The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, ‘Hi handsome. My name is Rose.. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?’

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, ‘Of course you may!’ and she gave me a giant squeeze.

‘Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?’ I asked.

She jokingly replied, ‘I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…’

‘No seriously,’ I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

‘I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!’ she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this ‘time machine’ as she shared her wisdom and experience with me..

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, ‘I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.’

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ‘ We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets..’

She concluded her speech by courageously singing ‘The Rose.’

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

An old lady in a doll-house

3 Responses to “Growing Older is Mandatory. Growing Up is Optional”

  1. s├ębastien Says:

    whaou… very extra special mail… thanx for the share

  2. marion Says:

    Some say love it is a river
    that drowns the tender reed
    some say love it is a razor
    that leaves your soul to bleed

    Some say love it is a hunger
    an endless aching need
    I say love it is a flower
    and you its only seed

    It’s the heart afraid of breaking
    that never learns to dance
    it’s the dream afraid of waking
    that never takes the chance

    It’s the one who won’t be taken
    who can not seem to give
    and the soul afraid of dying
    that never learns to live

    When the night has been too lonely
    and the road has been too long
    and you think that love is only
    for the lucky and the strong

    Just remember in the winter
    far beneath the bitter snow
    lies the seed that with the sun’s love
    in the spring becomes the rose

  3. Dinu Says:

    This one is very very nice!

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