It’s your attitude
Recently I was in Las Vegas at an American Society on Aging conference presenting a workshop for OWL with our President, Donna Wagner, and the co-chair of our board’s field services committee, Gladys Considine. Las Vegas is a strange place for me because I don’t gamble and I prefer the quiet of the woods or mountains to large crowds and flashing lights. When I first got there I couldn’t help railing against the place. “What were all these people doing here? Gambling is a waste of money. This place charges you for everything. ” And so on.
My brother, a gambler, told me to lighten up and try enjoying Vegas for what it had to offer, not what it didn’t have. As he put it, my asking what historical or cultural museums there were to see in Vegas, was like going to Florence, Italy and asking where the waterslide was. He was right. There was a warm sun (which I could use after a very cold winter in the northeast), good shows, and as it turned out, the roulette wheel can be fun if you are playing with friendly people and don’t mind loosing a little money. They even give you free drinks.
This experience reminded me that, although I believe in trying to “change the world for the better," that sometimes we should accept what we find. I think about growing older and knowing the difficulty of deciding what I should try to change and what should be accepted. I am not going to accept injustice nor older women living in poverty or lonely and alone, but I am willing to accept winkles and flabby arms. I will also accept (but not like) the loss of close friends and loved ones.
As I struggle to sort out what I should try to change and what I should accept, I know that I will be happier if I am working for positive change and not complaining about everything that is bad. There is a lot to complain about – big banks doing “lord only knows what” with taxpayer money, corporate bonuses for bad behavior, and a stock market that has sucked the retirement savings out of our 401(k)s. But there is also good. Women coming together in OWL chapters or small groups to work for paid sick leave, universal health care, equal pay, guaranteed pensions, better housing, etc. Taking time to help a sick friend or a young child. Let’s think what each of us can do in a positive way to deal with the suffering people are experiencing. As women working together, smiling and laughing, we might be able to have fun while making lemonade of lemons. It certainly will be more fun than complaining about how horrible the banks are.
Ellen A. Bruce
Immediate Past President