I have a mission in life to share ideas on overcoming depression and beyond that, on building a life of joy. Some of my lessons come from the senior citizens I have the privelege to serve. They know how to build a life of joy.
Working as a therapeutic musician and entertainer at a local nursing home is a source of inspiration for me. Residents respond to music with a great deal of enthusiasm and happiness. When I look out into the audience I see a lot pf smiles and happy faces. It’s a pleasure to be able help them build a life of joy.
During today’s session, I met three residents who have touched my life in various ways. Vincent’s nephew was one of my students when I was a young teacher; His sister in law, Maryanne, is that young man’s mother; and another resident, Rena, is the mother of one of the most gifted students I’ve ever taught. All three are in their nineties and are still enjoying life to the fullest. So what are the conditions in their lives that have promoted longetivity and contentment in their senior years?
I’ve come up with five possible answers.
1. All three remain connected to their families. Vincent, the gentleman, had at least fifteen family members with him today. As I peered out from behind the piano, I saw two hours worth of smiles, hugs, and laughter among family members. I played softly the whole time so they would have time to visit. They remained connected to each other in a loving way. He knew how to build a life of joy.
2. All three have strong religious ties. I used to teach Vincent’s nephew at a local Catholic College. Rena, her daughter and I, used to have conversations about religion and religious beliefs during the time I was teaching Teresa. They used a spiritual connecting to build a life of joy.
3. Vincent, Rena, and Maryanne all smile at every possible opportunity. Having known them all over a period of about fifty years, I can attest to their abiding good humor and positive attitudes. They used humor to build a life of joy.
4. All three have a deep love for music. Maryanne, at age ninety, still plays at a local nursing home every Thursday. Vincent knows just about every song ever written; and Rena smiles with pride when I mention her daughter’s musical genius. They knew how to build a life of joy.
5. They are all joiners. Vincent and Rena come to every happy hour and Maryanne volunteers in the community in various other venues.
Apparently all five characteristics are scientifically based. According to a study done on 246 offspring of centernarians, a low range of neuroticism and a high range of extraversion are two of the common factors of longetivity. Apparently, extraverts have an advantage in living a long healthy life because they tend to create more social bonds. Additional characteristics include a normal range of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openess. Low neuroticism contributes to an ability to handle stressful situations and consccientiousness creates success and satisfaction in life. This study was sponsored by the National Institute on Aging.
Having known Vincent, Maryanne, and Rena over quite a few years, I can safely say that they have all modeled agreeableness, extraversion, and conscientiousness throughout their long, productive lives.
They are all models of building lives of joy.
Vincent, Rena, and Maryanne are all models of extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. in their long productive lives. They serve to teach us all how to build a life of joy.
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