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The next chapter
by: Marilyn Farrell

I love a good story. I love movies that tell a good story. Stories abound. The power of sharing a fun thing that happened in one’s day is the stuff that friendships and family are built upon. 

Where else do we learn that we are not the only ones in the world who has done a dumb thing, suffered a mistaken impulse or had trouble befall us?

Where else would we learn about “snipe hunts” or the perils of licking a frozen metal pole in the middle of winter or volunteering to “see stars up a coat sleeve”?

Who would have ever guessed that I would need to know how to pencil on my eyebrows when I had such thick dark ones in adolescence? Or that forgetfulness gets aggravatingly common as one ages? Or that one can survive — even thrive — after the loss of a spouse or a life-threatening illness?

Stories reveal that courage really is in the day-to-day ability to make the most of one’s moments in life.


An unfinished book

Stories that others share with me give me confidence; I too can hope that in the future I will see the humor in the most humiliating of happenstances. Heck, at 25 years of age, I began writing a book titled My Life as a Klutz so that I had a way to “use” my mishaps for something other than humiliation.

I love the stories others tell on themselves that are perfect fodder for my book. And I thought only I could befuddle myself in such embarrassing ways. It’s one of the things I like best about dinner conversations here. There are so many people here willing to share their embarrassing moments.

I also love the coincidences that make my world feel smaller and friendlier—those chance coincidences that again and again result in my meeting long lost friends in an airport in a foreign country. Those are the stories I love reliving in the sharing.

I just returned from a cousins’ reunion, a first for that side of the family. We had had limited contact as young children. And then in our parenting years, we were too busy to travel for family get-togethers. So our children are strangers to their cousins and we to them and their children. We spent four days sharing our individual family stories, our parents gone but the insights were fertile ground for discussion. It was the stories that will linger pleasantly and create a new bond beyond the title “cousin.” Each of us understands, and appreciates better, our cousins’ growing up.

Stories help me find perspective. Sometimes they offer a new way to think about things or a way to find a silver lining in most any circumstance.

The next chapter

For the past five years, I have shared my thoughts and experiences of life in a retirement community so that others could see, from at least one point of view, that living in a “home” was not about narrowing one’s life.

Instead it has been an opportunity for me to spread my wings and enjoy making new friends with new stories to appreciate.

I hope my stories have been helpful, and given you a different perspective of what retirement can be. For those of you who have commented on my blogs and shared your own ideas with me, thank you!

For now I am putting down my pen in trade for a TV script and video-editing equipment so that I might enhance the sharing of events and ideas within the community. I have never been a “movie director,” but have always wanted to try it. I get to work with a team of resident volunteers who are committed to producing the media that airs on our internal TV station.

I have a sneaky suspicion that I will get some more stories for my book long before I get an Oscar. But if my story line holds true to form, I will be gifted with a lot of laughs on the retelling.

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About the Author

Marilyn Farrell moved into Emerald Heights with her husband Jack in February 2008. She has a passion for photography, quality printing and telling a good story. At Emerald Heights, she loves taking her dog Nessie for walks on The Nature Trail and especially cherishes the support and new friendships she has discovered since joining the community. She welcomes your questions or comments via e-mail.