Seniors Outreach - June 21, 2017

Do you find yourself being nostalgic around celebrations such as Father’s Day? Many of us hove lost our father’s years ago but a random day or a day such as Father’s Day can lead us to take a stroll down memory lane. According to an article by John Tierney written a few years ago, “nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety,” he writes, citing research. “It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.”

Listening to music is a quick, easy way to induce nostalgia; researchers often use it in their studies, according to the Times. Think about the songs on the radio when you were growing up, for example. Scents, too, are powerful tools to unlock memories. Smells get to our brain faster than sights or sounds, particularly, to our emotional center, according to neurologist Alan Hirsch, MD. I for one, will never forget the smell of the “old library” in Three Hills which is soon to be moved or the outdoor swimming pool, those smells will stay with me a lifetime!

This past weekend, I spent time reflecting on my own Dad, Gordie Machell, who we lost in 1994 at the young age of 49, an age which I will turn this July. I have so many amazing memories and life adventures I was able to share with my Dad, along with life lessons he passed on to me, whether knowingly or not. Here are a few that I was thinking about this weekend, I hope you are able to spend some time reminiscing and savoring those special times with loved ones as well. I find it is not just about reliving the past, but understanding how life experiences in the past affect where you are today in your life.

Here are my top five lessons I learned from my Dad:

1. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something - be determined, set your mind to it and work for it.

2. Spend time working very hard but enjoy your outside interests just as much (we shared a love of hockey).

3. Live your life with integrity, fight for what you believe in and conduct your business activities with respect and fairness.

4. Treat your friends like family, for those of us with small families those friends do become our family.

5. Never forget the difference you can make with a kind gesture or act (my Dad could often be found rototilling a neighbor’s garden or helping a friend with a project).

I hope you all find time to reminisce and reflect on the amazing people in your life and those whom you have lost, while thinking of them brings a certain sadness, remembering them also brings a fullness to our lives.