A Fountain of Youth

Date:                           December 18, 2010


Location:                    Tucson, AZ




            I think that I have solved one of history’s major mysteries.  I know why Ponce De Leon did not find the fountain of youth while he was meandering around the streets of old St. Augustine.  It was certainly not due to his lack of effort or desire to accomplish the wonderful feat of finding the secret to eternal life or at least the feeling of eternal youth. As a species, man is always looking for the next deep secret to the path of eternal youth.  Sadly when old Ponce thought he had found the well of agelessness he was a bit off target.  He was off target by nearly a couple of thousand miles.


            While Connie and I are trying to get acclimated to the lively schedule of activities at Voyager I think we may have discovered why poor Ponce was such a failure.  I believe that if  there is a fountain of youth, anywhere, it must be in Arizona or very close.  It does not take long to feel the exuberance and life that exudes from the people who are part of this 55 plus, and I do mean plus, community.  They joke around here that you must schedule a rest time for yourself or you will not find time to accomplish that simple moment of relaxation.  It is not a joke, or an exaggeration.  It is a fact.  If you desire a few moments of alone time you have to place it on your social calendar or it will not happen.


            The activities that are scheduled or planned at the park are not always what you might expect of a very large group of geriatrics, and yet sometimes they are.  Most days seem to start early and activities that are planned for the masses often are scheduled to end early.  It is not rare to be expected to be up and ready to trek off on an adventure shortly after sunrise.  Most people have not only risen from their slumber and dressed, but also had their early morning power walks by the time the meet at the gathering post to car pool to a volunteer location to help the people of Tucson who are less fortunate.  I am attempting to learn this new concept of rising early.  It is a concept that I grasp but it’s execution seems to be, at times, a bit elusive.


            There is an energy and, may I dare say, a youthful energy at Voyager that might be easily disguised by the exterior age appearance of the citizens. This may be most easily exemplified by a Christmas concert we attended this past week.  The ball room at the facility was, literally, over flowing with the citizens of this rather large community.  It was, tongue in cheek, explained to me as an evening of “free entertainment with free cookie to follow.”  The entertainment was not totally free.  Three was a good will offering taken during the performance.  And I can’t vouch for or rail against the cookies because I chose to not add to my expanding waist.


            The magic that one felt in that room had nothing to do with neither the charge of admission nor the chance to add more sugar and calories to ones daily dietary intake.  The magic in the room was brilliantly displayed on the faces of both the members that choose to work and practice to put on the concert and the appreciative acceptance of the audience.  Sitting in the crowded audience I could see the energy and pleasure expressed on the faces of each group as they performed their part of he concert.  The average age of the performers and the audience was trending toward the three quarter century mark and yet as each performer completed his or her talent offering their faces were that of a child, bright smiling maybe relieved, but pleased with the result of a lot of rehearsing and effort.  These geriatrics were like children as loud and heartfelt applause complimented each performer.


            I thought that the energy of youth was flowing from the stage to the audience until I talked to one of the performers.  I was complimenting them on their efforts and how I enjoyed the youthful exuberance that filled each face on the stage.  She told me that, in deed, there was an energy that comes form the culmination of effort as you stand on stage and give your offering of talent.  But, she told me, the magic s in the eyes and face of the audience as they receive and enjoy the offering.  The performers realize that they are not professionals, but as they do their best the energy and appreciation that is reflected in the faces of their family and friends make all of the work worth while.


            It may be in this simple explanation that one can find the foundations of the Fountain of Youth.  The chance to share pleasures of giving and receiving among friends and family may be the fuel that sparks the energy of youth.  The citizens of our new home society may not be getting chronologically younger.  But they have found a way to tap into a youthful exuberance and energy that many people of much lesser years of lost or never found.


            I will attempt to keep my social calendar current and accurate  I will attempt to pencil in a few moments of reflection when I can attempt to keep my blog current; I will attempt to find time to read; but most important I will attempt to learn how to live my life as youthfully and with as much energy as these “old fogies” are doing on a daily basis.  Newton’s law of motion also applies to life:  “A body at rest tends to stay and rest and body i motion will attempt to stay in motion.”  I think this can be extrapolated to describe our human condition and our human minds; “A mind kept active will live actively, while let to rest it may be alive but one questions is it really living.”