The sun shone down onto the crisp, white snow. Outside, it was cold but in the solarium Hazel was warm and cozy. She listened to the silence, felt her breath rising and falling in her chest, listened to the crunch the soil made when she dug into it. She was present in that moment, at one with her surroundings. At times, Hazel thought it was almost too quiet now, with her granddaughters gone. She missed them both, and was heartened to hear the praise about how great they were from many of her fellow residents. Charlie just beamed with pride whenever the residents talked about the girls. In many ways it feels like their family just got bigger, which is really a blessing in so many ways.
With spring fast approaching, Hazel was thinking about plants. This was her favourite time of the year, brimming with possibilities and life. She was so pleased she had found a group of ladies who also loved gardening. Together they decided to grow a few herbs and flowers from seed. Lorelai, who had lived in the community the longest, showed them all the beautiful raised gardening beds that were available for the residents to use out in the garden. “It will be so good to garden without all the kneeling!” Hazel had exclaimed when she saw them. The solarium was far brighter and more comfortable than any room she’d had when she and Charlie lived in their old place. In fact, it was perfect for starting these plants. It was so much easier and quicker to do this with her new friends. She had secretly admitted to herself that her big gardens at home had become way too much for her to manage. Besides, having company while doing it was way more fun too! Lorelai shared her tips and tricks. “Last year Dean, one of the maintenance guys, brought in chili pepper seeds. They grew like weeds! The kitchen staff even used some in the soups that they made.” Hazel thought that herbs and flowers were fine for now, but she was already excited to try growing some fruits and vegetables next season.
Charlie smiled as he watched Hazel place a few of the plants she’d brought back from the solarium on the window ledge in their front room. He could already see tiny shoots poking out the soil, and would be excited to see the vibrant greens once the plants really started growing in a few weeks! It was so good to see her enjoying what she loved to do again, and it reminded him of how energetic and full of life Hazel had always been. All these years later, it was still the same. While Charlie was the one who had really insisted that they move into the community, until recently he truly never thought life could feel this good ever again. Charlie had made new friends too, and after a few games of pool he knew he really needed to practice to catch up with the men who had been here longer. He always had a bit of a competitive streak! “A little help with this, dear?” Hazel called from the living room. Charlie went to help her pack her gardening tools back into the box he bought her for their fifth wedding anniversary. He would be heading off to the clubhouse soon to practice pool. “Do you want to come with me?” he asked Hazel. “Not today, thanks. I want to finish my book. Some of the girls are getting together later to talk about it” she replied.
Both of them were busy again, doing things that they loved and sharing them with new friends.
Seniors living offers many of the same activities we enjoy while we are on our own. Yet there are also many additional bonuses, like having better equipment, more available spaces and most of all, friends to share and join in the fun. As Charlie and Hazel learned, it takes a bit of boldness jumping back into activities, but it is well worth it to rekindle long-standing interests in a supportive environment.
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