This is one of many stories from a wide variety of sources and a multitude of forms contributed by people upon request for my 70th birthday. They will be posted without editing, with the attribution that was with them. I will be posting these regularly until they run out next year sometime: if you have others to add, please send them to me.
My strongest impressions of ordinary people making a difference come from my life in Portland, Oregon as a senior citizen and as a lesbian woman. Three years ago my partner and I decided it was time to move to a condo. We were thrilled to find just the right unit – all on one level, perfect amount of space, great area. Little did we know we were buying into a real community with a core group of people committed to making life better for each other. We share monthly potlucks, meet together at the pool at 4pm during the season to share exercise, story-telling and laughter, and actively practice appreciating each other’s differences.
As winter approaches, I made a decision to try to become a bit of a gym rat during this period when it’s hard to be outside. I attend senior fitness classes 3 times a week at our local gym and am so impressed with how many seniors are taking advantage of this benefit of our insurance policies. It’s a diverse group of people, one man with Parkinson’s, some with fairly serious arthritis, but people truly help each other to put our aging bodies in perspective, to just do our best and accept what is happening to us. Our very young instructor is so respectful of who we are and has an awesome playlist – our favorite tunes from our formative years.
The Queer Center here in Portland is a bustling locus of activities that respond to the needs and interests of our diverse community – writing groups, yoga classes, holiday dinners, coffee klatsches, dance classes of many genres, holiday dinners, structured conversations on race, on death and dying, etc.
It’s good to be alive and participate in this abundance.