Each day, I listen to my senior client’s stories. Some of my clients are older than Arlene, my 86-year-old mother-in-law, and some are younger.

I am paid to give my clients legal advice, experienced counsel, and quality representation. I also learn from many of those same seniors.

Arlene, however, has taught me the best lessons about aging, how to age, and how I want to be when enter my 80’s and beyond. Here are seven things I’ve learned (so far) from Arlene:

1. Say Yes to offers of help or assistance. There’s nothing wrong with a wheelchair in an airport to get you where you want to go – whether a visit to your first great grandchild in another state, or to see your college roommate and friend of 60 years in California, or to travel to other destinations.

2. Say Yes to new friendships and community. After her husband died, Arlene moved to assisted / independent living. Saying yes to this new life means art class, chair exercise class, lectures, holiday celebrations, concerts, and book clubs as part of a group, not alone and isolated.

3. A smile and conversation “about nothing” are a wonderful way to introduce yourself to someone new, including strangers standing on a line with you and in your new living arrangement.

4. Flowers make the setting of wine and cheese look fancy and fun when you invite new friends for a pre-dinner cocktail or after-dinner gathering, in your new living arrangement.

5. Even a T-shirt and comfortable pants look better with fun costume jewelry and lipstick to dress-up your outfit.

6. Never tell a story in a straight line. It’s more interesting with lots of tangents and then circling back to the main story — and it’s a good workout for your brain health.

7. Say Yes to new things and experiences without fear. And, in this case, even an 86-year-old can snow-shoe in northern Michigan.

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