Smorgasbord Blogs from Your Archives – New Bloggers on the Scene – Melanie M. Stewart – Finding Joy in your 80s and 90s (2019)

This series of Posts from Your Archives is exclusively for blogs that are under a year old. It is an opportunity to meet new readers and to show off your writing skills.. All the details are in this post along with some tips on how to make your blog more reader friendly.

Delighted to welcome Melanie Stewart to the series.. Melanie blogs at Leaving the Door Open: A Daughter’s stories about an aging parent. Sharing Tips and facts learned along the way.

In Melanie’s first post she shares some of the wisdom she picked up from author Judith Viorst who is almost 90 years old and the joy that her mother who is in her 80s, has found in following Tiger Woods….

Finding Joy in your 80s and 90s (2018)

Today I’m in the mood to pull the curtains back from a darkened room and find the joy. Living through aging parent experiences is draining, it goes with the territory, but witnessing pure joy sure brings in a lot of light.

I found an example of just such a joy when reading a Glamour article about Nearing Ninety – a book written by the well-known author Judith Viorst who is indeed, close to 90 years old. (That very fact is joyful! A woman turning 90 has the energy, mindfulness and desire to write a book. Can I have some of that please?)

Here’s a quote from her book:

There’s a quote from philosopher George Santayana, whose proposition all of us should heed: “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” I believe he’s telling us that instead of wistfully looking back at what we once had, or anxiously imagining what might come, we ought to be seeking what satisfactions, what pleasures, what meaning, the season we’re in has to offer us.”

She is almost 90 and she wants to live in the moment. Find the best joy in the moment. Who’s kidding who? That’s an enviable goal for all of us.

I recently discovered the extent of joy my own 88-year-old mother Ginny has found in the most unusual of places. She is mesmerized by Tiger Woods and watching him play golf.

My mother has neither golfed in her life nor did any family member of her generation, but she adores watching Tiger. My husband Dennis (who is a golfer) will call her and tell her that there is a major tournament on a particular weekend and that Tiger made the cut. He’ll also tell her which network is carrying it. Given her interest, she is usually aware, but not always and she’ll thank him as she heads to the television.

I have made the mistake of calling Ginny during a tournament. She’ll answer the phone, but after a couple of minutes, I’ll realize that I’ve lost her as her play-by-play begins.

“Wait, Tiger’s up, he’s looking at something, oh what’s happening here (suddenly I hear the crowd, so I know he took his shot) and she continues “Ohhhh, he got it close to the hole” and on and on. There’s no competition to who is capturing her interest.

I love that she loves Tiger. And when he won the Masters this past April? Look no further for a sign of her devotion than this newspaper clipping collage that my own mother placed on a wall in her condo. I have never seen her do anything like this in my entire life. I was dumbfounded when I turned the corner and saw it.

“What do you think?” she asked grinning.

“I’m blown away” was my truly honest answer.

What speaks to her about Tiger? I really don’t know because she has never been able to verbalize it. His strength? Sheer will? She has both qualities. Somehow she seems to lock into the challenges right there beside him – living vicariously through his struggles and his triumphs. And he’s a champion. And the camera loves him. Ultimately, I guess her reasons for her joy don’t really matter. The bottom line is she has it.

Ginny’s birthday will be here soon and she’ll be receiving a throw pillow with Tiger’s golf swing in silhouette. When the 2019 tournaments end, she can sit by the pillow and contentedly look forward to the seasons changing once again; to the golf season of course.

How does (or did) your parents find joy? What inspires them? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

@Melanie M. Stewart 2019

About Melanie M. Stewart.

Many years ago, I worked as a freelance writer for a local paper in suburban Chicago. I covered everything from cloning & measuring the risk of heart disease to my “Day in the Life” series where I spent the day with a veterinarian or watching “behind the scenes” at a popular restaurant.

Then I went to work for (online obituaries). I stayed there for almost nine years. I enjoyed helping customers navigate the site and at times, offer support during a highly emotional time.

This blog combines these two experiences. They are non-fiction stories pulled from my own experiences navigating the aging parent years. I also provide informational links and tips as well as the opportunity for you to share your story.

I have no professional background in psychology or senior healthcare. I’m just in it day-to-day. I’m married and a mom who enjoys a good laugh, a good mystery/thriller and watching the Chicago Cubs.

Connect to Melanie


It would be great if you would head over to Melanie’s blog and follow her there and on Twitter.. Thanks Sally.


28 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blogs from Your Archives – New Bloggers on the Scene – Melanie M. Stewart – Finding Joy in your 80s and 90s (2019)

  1. Ginny sounds very active and fun, even at 88 years old. Terence’s granny is turning 98 this year in October. She is also still active and enjoys life. My mom and her are having a joint birthday party in October and I already have the two cake orders.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So much to comment on here, Melanie and Sally. First of all, Melanie, your mom is adorable. Ha ha. I’ve been immersed in parent care for a while now and though a lot of it is exhausting, there is so much fun to be had too. I actually like most parts of aging and have years of joy to look forward to. And Viorst is a favorite author of mine. Thanks for recommending her book!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Following Melanie now and I’ve been wanting to get the Viorst book for a while. Great quotes here in this post. Like Diana (above) I’m immersed in watching my parent sink into dementia but allowing the memories of my family life help keep the joy. My mom was vital until she was 89, then sharp decline. She has taught me how to live life to the fullest for as long as possible. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and for following me roughwighting. 🙂 I am sorry that you and your mom are facing those tough issues related to dementia. Thinking about and sharing memories is exactly the way to help you smile. I think Viorst’s book will too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved this! Thanks for introducing us to Melanie’s writing Sal. I think no matter how old we get, our thoughts and preferences continue to change. It’s like we see old things with new eyes sometimes. I think it’s fantastic that Ginny has a great hobby. She reminds me of my Aunty Sherrey who I write about in my books. My aunt died too young and a horrible drawn out death, but one thing that kept her spirits up was our Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. She was a fanatic and never missed a game on TV. And I will add that if that phone rang during baseball, she wouldn’t even bother answering during game time. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m glad to have discovered your blog, Melanie. (How many times can I thank Sally in one week?) My mom had a glorious, full life and passed at the age of 92 less than two years ago. The last few years were hard as her dementia progressed. One of the things that gave me pleasure (and some to her, I hope) was to read the old journals that she had kept for years. Most of the things she wrote about were mundane in nature, but it felt good to share her words with her. The circle of life was complete, and she was no longer reading stories to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. wonderful to read such positive stories about the elderly. Judith’s use of Santayana’s quote about the seasons gave me pause. I often think about when I retire, I want to move somewhere where it is always warm. Now I wonder if I would miss the change of seasons. And I am the same way as her mom about Tiger. I am not a golfer either, but there is something so mesmerizing about Tiger that I always look forward to when he is in a tournament. Looking forward to reading more of Melanie’s posts!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I did make that move south Jim to be closer to my family and because my husband just couldn’t take another Chicago winter. At least we picked an area that has “cold” temps for about 6-8 weeks. It helps, but I’ll admit I miss the seasons. Yes, Tiger IS mesmerizing. Thank you for your kind comments. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Melanie. You and your husband may be a good resource for us as my wife and I consider moving to a warmer climate! I’m like your husband – I don’t need any more cold winters, although I am sure Chicago’s are worse than ours in Philly.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Jazz, Winter Soups, Chocolate, New books, reviews and funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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