Arts, Crafts, and Assisted Living

One of my boyfriend’s dearest friends is a former landlord. While he was friends with her daughter, his roommate and a fellow art student, he always loved it when the landlord stopped by. She edited fantasy novels for a living and her husband was a publisher, so she always arrived with a stack of books and great recommendations. She would often stick around for board games, video games, and partake in the endless stream of laughter. When my boyfriend suffered a brain injury, she let him stay, even though he couldn’t afford the full rent, to prevent him from becoming homeless.

When my boyfriend was six and threatened to run away from home, his mother packed his bag, ushered him out of the house, stated “I wish I’d never had kids”, and then locked the door behind him. He was bullied at school throughout his life, but the bullying he experienced at home was infinitely worse.

Thus, the kind and jovial landlord was his first maternal figure–the mother he always wished for. And, thanks to their shared love of fantasy books and Mario Cart, they were fast friends. And have remained good friends for over 20 years. Like the ex-girlfriend that saved his life, I like to believe this women also acted as his guardian angel.

A few years ago, the former landlord moved into a retirement community. Now that she no longer works, she’s taken on all kinds of new hobbies! Her community offers an abundance of classes, as well as endless variety of supplies for the residents. She gardens, cooks, bakes, sews, spins pottery, paints, and makes collages. Most recently, she’s taken up bookbinding. She eagerly showed us fabric options in our latest video call, insisting on making us a set as gifts, and recently sent out pictures of the in-progress projects.

While I’m thrilled that my boyfriend has such a cherished friend, I am also thrilled that this amazing woman finally has the time and space to explore her creativity. On several occasions, she’s mentioned that she was too scared to try new things and failing when she was younger and regrets waiting.

Her advice to us: don’t wait to start trying new things and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

My grandmother is 91 and still very active. She attends water aerobics almost everyday, socializes with neighbors, works on jigsaw puzzles with her caretaker, and has at least one of her five kids or nine grandchildren stop by to visit each day. At Easter dinner, she shared numerous stories and jokes about a recent trip to Costa Rica. “Do you know why the howler monkeys wail? Well, if you watch closely, you’ll see that they slap each other in the balls as they swing by!” I think her late husband’s humor rubber off on her!

Point being, I think there’s something powerful about exercising creativity throughout all stages of life. It’s important to feel that we are connected and adding something to the world, no matter how trivial it may seem. Join us over at the Heart of the Matter to further discuss how creating and contributing lead to a longer, healthier, and more meaningful life.

12 thoughts on “Arts, Crafts, and Assisted Living

  1. Don’t wait and don’t be afraid to make mistakes? Simple wisdom there….that packs a punch! And thank you for introducing us to the wholehearted woman who changed the trajectory of your boyfriend’s life with her loving kindness. I love stories about ‘found family’. What a beautiful human she is. Big hugs, Erin! 🥰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love hearing about people like her! She restores a faith in humanity to see the great impact she has had in the lives of the people around her!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes, Tamara and Vicki! She, and people like her, absolutely restore my faith in humanity. We do need to share these stories… and be reminded that there is still go much goodness and love out in the world. 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just love hearing about folks who see so much great stuff to try and get themselves involved as they age- your grandma being one of them! And grandma can tell a joke! I hope I’m like that at 90 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I also love seeing people getting involved with and trying new things, without any fear of failure or looking foolish. It’s such an inspiration to me. I hope all of maintain a keen sense of humor as we age–laughter is the best medicine and the best way to bring people together. 🥰

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  3. Your boyfriend’s former landlord sounded like an Angel indeed! What a kind and generous heart. It sounds like she’s finding her new creative calling in her retirement years. And anyone who loves Mario Cart is a winner to me.

    Your grandmother sounds like a lot of fun too and I love the activities she’s doing in her 90s. I can only wish to be that vibrant and active in my 90s one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, she was and always has been just wonderful to us (and I’m sure everyone she encounters in life), and I’m so happy to watch her keep busy and enjoy herself so much in her retirement.

      Yes, I hope we’re all able to remain vibrant and active into our 90s and beyond! So many people fear again, but it’s a new adventure… there may be some new limitations, but that’s all part of the experience. Too many waste those valuable later years.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely friendship and how wonderful she’s getting to create in so many ways now! What a beautiful message about staying connected and creative!

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