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Celebrating a season for growing older

POSTED: December 7, 2017 9:29 p.m.
Sherry Young/

With good helpers, Sherry Young trims up a Brazilian cherry tree in her son Jim's yard in Gilbert, Arizona.

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Many people have written or asked why I wasn’t in the paper anymore or why my articles stopped coming. I decided to submit an article to show that, yes, I am still alive and mentally copacetic with the world. Like many of you, that still-able mind is beginning to focus on this yearly season of joy.

For Thanksgiving this year, we were in Arizona with two of our sons, Tom and Jim, and their families. It was a good opportunity for my husband, Grit, to help Jim put together some Ikea closets in the home they finally were able to move back into after three long years.

I wrote about the home destruction from a microburst that occurred six days after they moved to Gilbert, Arizona, from Michigan (see "Looking for the rainbow after a storm," published Aug. 6, 2014, on deseretnews.com).

Jim’s wife, Shamberlin, is expecting their fifth child mid-December. While Grit and Jim were building closets, I was able to have some grandchild time, and also to help around the house a bit, easing Shamberlin’s life.

Jim is our youngest child, and he is 17 years younger than our son Steve and nine years younger than our fourth child Tom. We helped Tom and Stacy move from Connecticut to Paradise Valley, Arizona, and then to Mesa, but that was 12 and 8 years ago, respectively.

We are older now and it makes a difference. But in spite of feeling more creaky, I couldn’t help but ponder on the blessing this year of being alive and fit enough to be of service to them. There is no greater reward than to be useful, especially this time of year as all of us start tallying up our blessings.

Aging can get downright discouraging, as noted in an Arizona Republic editorial titled, “Don't mourn aging. Celebrate it. We're better off if you do" (published Nov. 28, 2017, on azcentral.com.) They write that, “The perception that old age is dismal runs contrary to the simple fact that every year of life is a gift and a privilege,” and then they added the best line, “Only the lucky get old.”

Ponder that. "Only the lucky get old."

They also suggest “… the people in this demographic group have lived and gained wisdom. Their collective knowledge is a national asset worth cultivating, appreciating and using… older people have made mistakes and learned things. They have insights.”

The editor feels instead of being discouraged we should wear our wrinkles like a badge of honor and gray hair as something to be proud of.

More easily said than done if you are a man, not a woman. And more easily said than done if your health is good.

Still, as was suggested, there is wisdom earned from trial and error that needs to be embraced and passed on.

We now have three great-grandchildren. Getting to know them and having pictures taken with us can be important. At some point some of the stories that survive after we do may give them courage or strength to carry on.

Which brings up another point. I slowed down on writing articles because I wanted to write my history. Did I write it? Not much.

Grit was more fortunate. His brother Richard and wife, Sharon, came down last summer with a list of questions and they recorded the stories he told them. Many times we do not realize how important we may become to our posterity. Perhaps something told down through the ages will add to their lives.

With that said, I’m way ahead of the season. Now I have a good New Year's resolution.
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