I debated over whether or not I should cross this item off the list because of a technicality: the word “participate.” Allow me to explain. Last night I mentioned volunteering for an event dubbed “Senior Prom.” It was basically a dance for the residents of a local nursing home that was put together by the group I volunteer with through school. At first I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it, but at the last minute, an opportunity to go presented itself. By the time I arrived, everything was in full swing. The decorations had been put up (Hollywood glamour), the residents were dressed in their best evening wear, the king and queen had been announced (so precious!), the portraits had been taken, and the dinner was just being served. At that point, all I was really able to do was help clean up after the jubilation and assemble their picture frame mementos. In other words, my level of “participation” was minimal at best. However, what I witnessed in between really moved me, and left me with an altered frame of reference. To begin with, all but three or four of the residents were wheelchair-bound, yet enthralled to form a circle around the dance floor, tap their feet, and throw their hands up in the air when instructed to do so by Taio Cruz. Of those who were fortunate enough to be able to stand on their own, one really stood out. Let me tell you, this man could move his hips better than I can, and he loved nothing more than to shake what his mama gave him. On top of his incredible dance moves, he knew the lyrics to nearly every song, from “Burnin’ Love” to “Teach Me How To Dougie” (unfortunately, he did not know how to dougie, but I was still impressed nonetheless). Can you picture this? If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I’d find it hard to believe too. The point is, these people were inspirational. They showed me that youth is valuable, but ultimately nothing more than a mindset. Moreover, they proved the cliche that age is but a number when all that matters at the end of the day is whether or not you were able to smile at the world. In this way, these people helped me much more than I was able to help them… and that’s worth something.
Love & Summer,