My own introduction to our local senior center was when someone suggested a drawing class taught there. I approached the room for my first class with a softened step. I was concerned on two fronts. In the first place, I was seventy-two and had not taken an art class for 30 years, and those classes were more craft classes, not a “serious” portrait class. And my other concern was whether my mother had been right and I would feel out of place with all those old people. Well, of course, the old person issue was moot as soon as I walked in. People MY age are not old!
I was blown away by the teacher, not yet sixty. So talented, so encouraging, so full of life!
That class had been going on for several years. It was a place for experienced artists (men and women) to gather to paint and learn from one another. It was a place for beginners to find acceptance and learn.
Then I began to check out the other offerings at the center. There were day trips and over-night trips. There was bridge for beginners and serious duplicate and masters players. There was cribbage and dancing and bingo and Tai Chi. I joined a group that went kayaking on the lake.
A Senior Center, sometimes called the Council on Aging, is a community center where men and women can find activities that you might be looking for or where you can just hang out and socialize. You can have coffee and lunch. You can even get a ride from home to the center or to other destinations. Some centers have wireless access for your lap top (definitely NOT your mother’s senior center). A support system is in place for anyone who is brave enough to face a community of mature people.
5 years later: Yes, I still go to the senior center for various activities and now I am teaching yoga there.
Barbara Younger, attorney, mediator, matriarch, is a facilitator in family conflict resolution.