by Nancy Lund

When people ask me how do I stay so young I tell them “I don’t stay young – I stay active.  You can’t fool the calendar;  my birthdays come around like everyone else’s.”

Do I have a secret?  I think it is that I have stayed actively involved — with my community, with people of all ages, and for the causes that are dear to my heart.

Leisure World, and its type of retirement living, may be ideal for some, but not for me and my husband.   To us it seemed an artificial life.  I don’t want to disparage golf but aside from its health benefits and a better tan, what do you have at the end of many years spent on the links?  We wanted to live in a real community, where  there is a mix of people with different backgrounds and different interests; a place where kids are born and grow up.  And we found it in the beautiful mountain valleys of Plumas County.

My story is a familiar one to many retirees.   For much of our married life my husband’s job and mine took us into different fields.  He worked a swing shift, I had a day job.  I would have weekends off  while he often had to work.  So when we retired we had the happy experience of doing things together.   We shared the household chores so we could be out and about —  doing what mattered.

And what mattered?  We discovered that the Greenville AARP  was not only busy with the Senior Nutrition program but was a prime supporter of the local hospital and the schools.  The AARP also played a big part in re-opening the Taylorsville Pool, since re-named the Indian Valley Pool.  Now, every summer the pool is host to aerobics for seniors and a place where kids  can splash and play, but more importantly are taught  to swim!  And we were active in the successful campaign to secure safe water for the people of Greenville.  The community now owns and operates the water system.

My husband and I had always been active in civic affairs; now as retirees we saw the need to be informed  about Social Security and In-Home Supportive Services.  Some good things and some bad things were being enacted in Congress and in our own state capital, and there were letters to write and petitions to be circulated.  Interestingly enough all these activities put to use some of the skills we had used in our work-a-day life and led us to learn new ones!

And of course  there is family!  We were not as fortunate as some of you to have children and grandchildren living in the area but we took every opportunity we had to be with them , traveling as far away as Saudi Arabia to welcome a new granddaughter! And we took advantage of Plumas County’s many camp sites when different members of the family were able to come here!

Sadly, since my husband’s death four years ago, I no longer have the partner with whom I shared this active  retirement, but the ties I made in the community have sustained me.  I know too many men and women who are unprepared for widowhood, who now find it difficult to get out of the house.  How much better it is to get involved with people now, in the church and in the community around you.

No, we can’t stay young, nor fool the calendar — but we can  make our present life preparation for the years ahead.