It was one of those times filled with moments that I could scarcely believe.
At an awards gala called Movies for Grownups, the overflow of encouragement and openness, honest to goodness conversation, and inspired words from the podium by artist after storied artist moved me. The AARP has been combating ageism in media portrayals of our older Americans and last night’s event is just one part of their ongoing advocacy to recognize the more experienced and “wiser” part of our society as wonderfully human and deserving of dignity as any hot-bod in their prime of youth. I applaud their efforts and celebration of life…and felt so awed that I was even invited to be a part of this special evening.
This was an event so different than many others I have attended… yes, there were celebrities; yes, there were the requisite media and photo opportunities; yes, there was the glitz of a glam location, but what made this night fill my soul was the distinct absence of pomp and circumstance. Perhaps it was because the award recipients were already known prior to the event, or perhaps because it was such a very tightly monitored guest list and an impeccably sound production… No. I am certain that the difference came from the undercurrent of lives well-lived and that these talented household “names” (basically the entire room!) were simply there to glory with one another’s successes and lovingly support the journey toward more. …throughly satisfied in what life has garnered them already with no need to please or be concerned with much more than seeing promises fulfilled in their own, as well as the lives of their peers. No pretension anywhere to be felt–just heartfelt conversations and encouragement aboundingly shared…especially with the next generation including a wide-eyed and deeply touched me.
Speaking of awestruck… this was quite a memorable red carpet walk for me. As I walked, posed, smiled, etc… halfway through the media step and repeat wall path, I notice Michael Nouri ahead, followed by June Squib, (then me), and then it’s Susan Sarandon, the winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award just steps away. If I ever felt out of place, it was now! … then I laughed–at least I was providing some ethnic diversity to the red carpet!!! What the heck was I doing here in the midst of greats like Morgan Freeman (I wish I had the chance to hug him!) I realize I was there to see the possibilities ahead, not for a season, but for many many seasons and to be reminded to embrace the standard of ego-less excellence. Oh my word, in my heart and soul, I was humbled and so grateful that a dear friend and mentor on the Board of AARP asked me to attend… Thank you Fernando Torres-Gil!!!
As lively Kathy Griffith entertained us all while moving us along the program full of a dizzying array of A-listers presenting and receiving awards, knowing words of wisdom poured into my heart. Many spoke of honor. The loving kind of honor by which you never let your parents and grandparents stop dreaming. In fact, dreaming and the pursuit of that fleeting passion should be kindled and nurtured by the younger generation–what a joy and priceless gift it is to be a part of and witness the fullness of life and joys during such rare moments of dignified bliss.
There is always another chapter. No matter who you are, where you are, where you have been…there is another chapter to unfold and more life to share.