Keep Dancing

As I walked through a park this past Sunday, I passed a man sitting on a bench at a particularly beautiful stretch of the path. He was alone and seemed so content. I took a photo of him after I passed, and then decided to stop and say hello to him.
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His name was Matty, and he told me he comes to the park often, even though it is a 15 minute drive from where he lives. He loves the outdoors, and usually bicycle rides but his knee has been giving him a hard time lately. He told me he continued to ski until he was 70. His favorite activity has always been ballroom dancing, his favorite dances salsas. I wondered about his family but didn’t want to ask, when he offered that his wife had  passed away some years ago. Today was Mother’s Day and he had just come from the cemetery to sit here in the park.  I felt bad as he choked up when telling me this, but he brightened quickly to tell me more about his dancing and how he goes twice a week. DSCN5123

He then asked me how old I thought he was. I estimated late 70’s, as his face revealed no lines, he was fit and trim. He laughed out loud and said 91. He shared how it is hard to be alone and how important it is to get out and be with people, stay involved. He said his only daughter lives on the west coast, and works in TV, that I could find her if I googled her and looked her up on youtube. Matty set a good example of someone who is keeping himself current and relevant by keeping up with the times- something to emulate I thought to myself.

I finally said I had to go, but was glad I had stopped to say hello. Our short visit had left me with things to think about; growing older, being alone, staying current, staying active, participating in life, not quitting life just because you reach a certain age. A 15 minute life lesson to take with me, to keep as a reminder.

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52 thoughts on “Keep Dancing

  1. Oh, Lisa, this is one of the best things I’ve ever read in the Blogosphere! Like you said, a valuable life lesson and something to emulate. I’d love to have Matty for a next-door neighbor. So glad you took the time to talk to him.

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  2. What a GREAT story Lisa. How nice of you to stop and say hello and because you did you were rewarded. He looks amazing for 91. Such an uplifting story.

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  3. Oh I love this encounter! This is what active aging is supposed to look like. Yes, there is loss but, at 91, he is active, relevant and values his life history and loves to share with others. I would love to use this as a guest post on my blog in the near future (I can’t reblog due to being self hosted). I will contact you for details. Very inspiring and touching!

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  4. God Blessed him and God Blessed you for giving you both the opportunity to reach out to each other. Look how many lives that simple moment touched, including mine. Thanks

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  5. that was a wonderful idea to talk with this man … and you brought a smile on my face with this post… and I bet a lot of readers feel the same. BRAVO for making this wednesday to a good one this way…

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  6. What a beautiful story. So lovely of you to stop and talk to him Lisa. One small act of kindness can make such a difference to others and to ourselves. Truly heart warming. 🙂

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  7. i have small tears in my eyes = of joy!
    how wonderful of you to stop and chat! and he was hitting the slopes at 70 – oh my – also – he does not look 91 – wow.
    truly one of your most special posts ever –

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  8. I agree about keeping up with life … We are in Italy at the moment & the older people are so much a part of the community. .. Lovely to see …

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  9. Reblogged this on Unmeasured Journeys and commented:
    Don’t you just love reading spirit-lifting stories?

    When I saw this post from one of my favorite bloggers, I knew I just had to share it with you. It made me think about my grandpa.

    My grandparents were married nearly 52 years when my grandma suddenly passed away. My grandpa was devastated and mostly sat in his house quietly withering away, until at one point he got ill.

    After a hospital stay and a difficult recovery, his life changed. He started living again. I can’t even imagine the courage it took for him to start over. 52 years with someone is a lifetime. Can you imagine that kind of a loss?

    When grandpa was still with us, we lived a state and a half apart. While I did write him weekly letters, I didn’t get to see him as often as I would’ve liked. I always hoped that the people in his community, at the grocery store, coffee shop, or bank were kind and friendly to him.

    This story reminded me how that.

    I love that saying that you never know when a kindness can change somebody’s life. Even if it’s something as simple as extending a hello.

    Hope you enjoy this story. I sure did.

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  10. Matty shared with you the wisdom of his age and his positive outlook on life. But you also shared a lot, Lisa. You listened to his story, valued him as a person and he felt cared about. Although he wasn’t necessarily lonely, you may have been the brightest part of his day. ❤

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  11. What a heart-warmer, Lisa. So happy you stopped to say hello to him. Ninety-one?! He looks wonderful–the power of positive living. This makes me smile. 🙂

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  12. Wow!! It’s absolutely amazing. One small gesture like just saying hello can make someone’s day. It’s a wonderful story for anyone to hold on to. It’s absolutely possible to make a positive difference in this world. All it takes is simple everyday gestures!

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