I turned 65 last December and threw a party for myself. Sounds strange to “throw a party for yourself,” but at 65, you really can do whatever you want. For this birthday, I was either going to coast in under the radar, or just tell everybody – I’m a senior now! The truth is, I needed to push through the stigma of aging, declare it and own it.
It felt really good to see nearly 100 people show up at a brewery on a Sunday afternoon to share a beer with me and those I know. People met other people and chatted away. Community happened, and in a natural, relaxed way, more friends were made.
Since then I’ve thought a lot about my life to come. I’ve been a volunteer for several years now, working with local men in life transition. They need someone to walk alongside them for a time and help them know there is hope and the clouds will clear. It doesn’t take a “professional” to give hope and comfort when it’s needed. Just being there will make the difference today, and tomorrow.
I also started a craft beer meetup for guys. I wanted guys who perhaps hadn’t landed comfortably in a social group to gather around a table and share their lives. The burgeoning craft beer movement in the Twin Cities offers great places to meet and sit for a span of time and get to know each other. Guys who would not have met outside of this group have found and created community here.
I seem to be someone who creates things. I just do, and I’ll continue as the years move forward. There are more ideas seniors have that haven’t yet been born. There either wasn’t time or perhaps the right space to do it before. I know our community can use our incredible life-learning to do more of what we’ve already been doing, or be inspired with a whole range of new ideas.
Let’s be more visible in these years of ours. We can do things we love to do, invite others to do it with us, and it’ll make a difference. I think it’s that simple.
Grant Meidal lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.