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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL (An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose)

The first day of university 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 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 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.

These words have been passed along  in loving memory of ROSE.



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.

'Good friends are like stars.....  .....You don't always see them, but you know  they are always there.'
                                                                                                                    -  September 27, 2012

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