May is Older Americans Month. Established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy as Senior Citizens Month, it has become a way for us to honor older Americans and recognize their needs:
"Whereas there are now more than seventeen million persons aged sixty-five and over in our population, and this number is expected to increase to twenty-four million by 1980; and
Whereas this large segment of our population represents a great national resource of skills, wisdom, and experience upon which much of our Nation’s progress has been built and which continues to enrich our daily lives and to provide counsel and leadership. . . .
Now, Therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the month of May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month; and I urge all persons and public and private organizations to cooperate in its observance by increasing community awareness of the problems faced by older men and women, strengthening services and opportunities to meet their special needs, giving recognition to their past and present contributions, and malting this special month the beginning of continuing interest and activity on their behalf. . . . (Kennedy, 1963, para. 1, 2, & 6)."
One of the greatest contributions older Americans can make is to share their lessons learned. H. Jackson Brown (1992) compiled hundreds of valuable lessons learned from people in his book Live and Learn and Pass It On. Some are simple, and some are profound. But they are all important. Here are a few:
" I’ve learned that. . .
- self-pity is a waste of time. – Age 81 (p. 36)
- when you can be either brilliant or pleasant, choose pleasant. –Age 53 (p. 37)
- when bad times come, you can let them make you bitter or use them to make you better. –Age 73 (p. 55)
- how people treat me is more a reflection of how they see themselves than how they see me. –Age 49 (p. 100)
- hatred is like acid. It destroys the vessel that holds it. –Age 56 (p. 131)
- it’s not enough to have a wonderful life. You must recognize the fact and be grateful for it. –Age 74 (p. 142)"
When we pass along our lessons learned, we share a huge part of our lives. I like to look at our lessons learned as the flowers of our lives. A flower is “the blossom of a plant” (Dictionary.com, para. 1), and we all have had some blossoms in our lives. These are our forget-me-nots, and they worth sharing with others.
|Alfred Borchard, photographer|
What lessons have you learned? This is the story in you. Share it.
#OlderAmericansMonth #MayIsOlderAmericansMonth #PresidentJohnFKennedy #SeniorCitizensMonth #ForgetMeNots #YourStory #Memoir #WritingYourMemoir #TellYourStory
Brown, H. (1992). Live and learn and pass it on. Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press.
Dictionary.com. (2014). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/flowers?s=t
Kennedy, J. (1963). Proclamation 3527- senior citizens month. Retrieved from http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=24066