Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Older, wiser, but still 'young'

I saw "Young @ Heart" -- a documentary about a New England senior citizens chorus -- recently, and it really stayed with me. I can't recommend it enough (it's playing at The Manor; here's Observer critic Lawrence Toppman's review).

I didn't expect the movie to affect me as much as it did. It's laugh-out-loud funny in spots, and tear-jerkingly poignant in others (take Kleenex -- I wish I had). "Young @ Heart" follows the chorus as they prepare new songs to add to their repertoire before heading off to tour Europe. Among them: tunes by Sonic Youth, Coldplay and James Brown. The star, in my mind, is 92-year-old Eileen, sharp as a tack and an irrepressible flirt. Her delivery of The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" is worth the price of admission.

What I admire about the seniors is their vitality in their later years. I was immediately reminded of my paternal grandmother, because she has that same spark. We've become really close in the past five years or so. We communicate as two adults and I cherish that, because not only is she really wise, she's also really cool. My grandma is retired, but she has a part-time job, works the polls during elections, volunteers, is the leader of a neighborhood association, and is often not home when I phone. She has gentlemen callers; in fact, she gets more play than me! During a visit last month she regaled me with stories and made a Mother's Day gift request so naughty, I can't even repeat it here.

The stars of "Young @ Heart," and people like my grandmother, are model examples of how to age gracefully, smartly, and on one's own terms. They also show that we need not fear old age, because it is something to be embraced and enjoyed.

1 comment:

eye_dee_ten_tea said...

Dang but it's quiet in here.

So what and when's the BIG improvement?