The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?” I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.
“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.
After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.
Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet.
She cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.
There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success.
You have to laugh and find humor every day.
You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.
Grow up by always finding opportunity in change . We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability.
Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”
One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.
Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be .
REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL
We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.