I bought a keyboard. It’s nothing fancy. It has 61 keys (because anything with more was out of my budget and the chatter on the internets said if you buy anything with less than that, you really have no intention of learning how to play—and I do. I have so much intent.) The idea to learn the keyboard came out of this other idea: to start a band.
Recently I had that frightening realization of oh man, I don’t do any of the things I love to do nearly as much as I should. I think most everyone feels this way once in a while. The very young are limited by options, the youngish and middle-age by time and the old…well, by what? Certainly as one ages there are new limitations, be they physical or mental. Some of these limitations are fixed and cannot be changed. But some of these limitations boil down to motivation, or lack thereof. The feeling that all your best efforts are silly, and so you give up and sit around in pajamas watching reruns of Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo.
If you’re an elderly person, maybe you don’t do those things, but you do something similar. You sit in your home all day and clean or you watch the generational equivalent of Millionaire Matchmaker (Who are we kidding? I’m pretty sure Millionaire Matchmaker is a show that appeals to every Jewish person in America.)
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can buy that keyboard, and you should. Before I purchased mine, I made a very important phone call. It was to my eighty-four year old grandfather. He just bought one too and he’s teaching himself to play. He’s managed to fit it in between his Spanish tutorials on Rosetta Stone (so he can talk to the landscapers about gardens), his photography hobby and all of the other hundreds of things my grandfather does to satisfy his soul.
My grandfather is the ultimate Renaissance Man (take note, James Franco.) He’s not the person he was at forty-four. He can’t exercise the way he did then, he doesn’t have the energy to stay up past the 10pm news, but he still has the same spirit—the same desire to live life and the desire to accomplish things. So he does.
One needn’t take up the keyboard to feel satisfied with their life. There are a million little things you can do to stay active, mentally, physically and emotionally. Do things in groups. Take a class, join a Walking Group (Shameless plug: JFS has one! See our previous blog post!), reach out to organizations like the JCC or JFS of Metrowest and see what other sorts of programs we offer. Do all the things you’ve thought about doing—there isn’t a good enough reason not to.
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