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Fixin' Healthcare

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Healthy Lifestyles

Over the years as faculty members would retire, I would seek for them to return and participate on a part-time (paid) basis but doing what they enjoyed most. Usually, what they enjoyed most was what they did best. Many of them accepted and they enriched our institution once again.

One such faculty member was well-known and beloved in the university and in our state. His life was full and busy before, as well as after retirement but in different ways. He and I visited from time to time and we speculated as to how there could ever be enough time to do all the things of interest or worth. Our conclusion was that it helped to start early, gain wisdom fast (an oxymoron), live long, stay active and never lose enthusiasm.

It was this experience that taught me to question my parents' concept of retirement. That generation did more physical labor and considered retirement a reprieve. On the other hand, my father was in apparant good health and did not last two years after retirement. He was not as happy during those two years.

People need to remain active and productive to be happy and healthy. And, society needs the benefit of the experience and wisdom of these people. All organizations, especially non-profit enterprises, should re-think how to achieve a mutually beneficial balance with this valuable resource.

To lead a purposeful and productive life is to be healthy. The life of Sargent Shriver is a fine example and it should not be forgotten. He created and led the Peace Corps, founded Head Start, created the Job Corps and Legal Services for the poor, started Volunteers in Service to America and was president and chairman of the Special Olympics.

Mr. Shriver told the 1994 graduating class at Yale to shatter their mirrors. “In our society that is so self-absorbed, begin to look less at yourself and more at each other. Learn more about the face of your neighbor, and less about your own.”

His is a life of service that promoted healthy lives for others. It is a life young people should know about.

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