June 21, 2004

Growing Older is Mandatory, Growing Up is Optional

I can't remember who sent this to me, and I've tried unsuccessfully to find the original author. Could it be Julie Hubert if so thanks and for the rest of you, the irresistible story of Rose below

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,
have a couple of children, and then retire and travel."

"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 reveled 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 humor 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 the 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 years end Rose finished the college degree
she had begun all those years 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.


Posted by Jill Fallon at June 21, 2004 3:39 PM | Permalink

Hi: That post is the very best that I have read from bloggers.I found you through my sons blog. I am 77, going to be 78 in August and heartly agree with your thinking. So far I am listed as the oldest blogger, like Grandma Moses, I am a late bloomer, as Rose said, it is never to late.
Will be looking in on you.
Have fun.


Posted by: Millie Gafield at June 27, 2004 5:03 PM

Here's the correct link to my blog:



Posted by: Millie Garfield at June 27, 2004 5:42 PM