Remember those email forwards from the 90s and 00s? The ones where if you didn’t forward them, you were going to have seven years of bad luck? I never liked those. I’m not sure what the forward in and of itself ever did for the original sender of the email chain; but I was not much for forwarding. Over the years, a few however, would catch my eye and touch my heart, even if the story may have not been real; but the message was all too real.
I’ve been dreaming a lot of late, feeling nostalgic, looking through old pictures, reading old emails, and reading old journal entries. The holiday season is a great time for nostalgia; it’s a great time to reminisce. Someone I once loved sent me this forwarded message on 3 November 2006. She wrote “I know we both dislike forwarded messages, but I really liked this story and I know you will too- especially that part about good friends being like stars…. XO ” and then I read this; and I just loved it.
I don’t know if Rose actually existed; but I hope she did. And if she didn’t, she should have.
Subject: Growing old or growing up?
The first day of school 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 years 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.
When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it! 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.
Pass this message to 7 people except you and me. You will receive a miracle tomorrow (if you don’t think so…look out your window when you wake in the morning and think about it). If you choose not, then you refuse to bless someone else. “Good friends are like stars………You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.”
As always, if you enjoyed reading this post, please share my blog with your connections
http://www.secretofmysuccecil.com and follow me. Thank you!