LILLIAN AT 95

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Getting old is what we all wish for. It’s good to have that desire. But it would be better if we had avenues to pursue to give our lives more meaning and to give us a reason for being.

 

Liilian 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With encouragement from a husband who  understood her need for a professional life,  Lillian finally entered college. She was 40 years old.  To accommodate her family life — her two children  were in school — she went part time to Boston  University. At age 46, not only did she achieve her  goal of a college degree, she was the valedictorian  of her graduating class! Soon after, she was hired  by Sharon High School and became the school’s  first female teacher in their history department.

Up until 10 years ago — when she was 85 — Lillian was passionately engaged in educating young people.

Lillian did not stop teaching because she was tired. In fact, she describes that time in her life this way:

At 85, I could still conquer the world!

But It was time to close that chapter of her life. Sadly, it has left a hole in Lillian’s world that she has not been able to fill.

I still miss teaching. It gave me a raison detre. Ive always dedicated my life to being helpful and useful. I believe that we are here for a purpose. These days, though, it feels like ‘Waiting for Godot’. I cannot see what that purpose is.

When asked what Lillian would like to tell the world about being 95, she responds this way:

“Society lumps all older people together without recognizing our uniqueness. We still have things to offer and things to learn.

When asked whether she wanted to offer any special “shout outs”, she sends a greeting to all the Sharon High School young people she taught between 1965 – 2005:

I am grateful to all my students who helped me fulfill my dreams.

 

 

3 Responses

  1. Barbara Friedman

    Wonderful write-ups! I am enjoying this blog immensely!
    Lillian has it right – life at any age needs meaning and fulfillment. Old age can be as rewarding a time as youth if each person is able to fulfill his/her passion and find a special meaning in everyday.

  2. cbobroff

    Susan, I applaud you for introducing us to Lillian. As difficult as her message is, Lillian’s words ring so true…as a much younger, but recently retired educator, I am trying to stay hopeful that I can continue to find that meaningful purpose in my life. I know it is complicated, but harnessing the talents of our seniors needs to be a priority for our society, at least equally important to senior healthcare.

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