The whole thing started with a battered cardboard box. It was the mid 1990’s and my wife, Jude Meyers Thomas, and I had stumbled on to something that seemed very much like magic.
We had spent several years bringing life and a new sense of fair play to a handful of nursing homes and found that doing so brought people to life. The elders were happier and healthier. The staff were happier and healthier. We called this new approach to care– The Eden Alternative.
Jude and I were determined to bring these new ideas and practices to every nursing home in the country. That’s where the battered cardboard box comes into the story.
At first the only thing we knew how to do was load up our box with pictures and photocopies of our materials, visit nursing homes and tell our story. There was one problem. No one knew who we were and no one knew what we were talking about. I remember one fine spring day when Jude was pregnant with Haleigh. We were making a four hour drive to visit a nursing home where they actually wanted to talk to us! Jude was having morning sickness and we had to stop every now and then because of her nausea. I asked her if she just wanted to go home and she said, “No, this is too important.”
It is still important.
We are now twenty years into our journey and the message has changed. We are more aware than ever that our society is being damaged by ageism and the unthinking rejection of the virtues to which normal human aging entitles us. Next week I am setting out on a new journey that we are calling the Age of Disruption Tour. We will visit 30 cities in an effort to disrupt our culture’s misunderstanding of age and aging.
And I need your help.
I might have traded in the cardboard box for a tour bus but in many important ways, I am right back where I started. People find it hard to believe aging can be viewed as an asset that can enrich individuals and their communities. People think that aging is dull and boring.
This is why I have created the “Life’s Most Dangerous Game” performance. It is intended to help people “peek around the corner” and catch a glimpse of an exciting, engaging, exuberant vision of age and aging.
Here is how you can help.
We know that people will enjoy the performance. Would you be willing to look at this list of city and dates and send people you know in any of these cities an email recommending “Life’s Most Dangerous Game”? They will thank you for doing so. And since you’re willing to take a chance on me, I will also take a chance on you — as of today guests can “name their price” for tickets to “Life’s Most Dangerous Game“.
Those of us who are already committed to creating a new vision of aging can help others take hold of new possibilities. The thing is that it takes persistence (I have plenty of that!) and the support of a community of like-minded individuals and organizations to turn possibilities into realities.
We are at the beginning of a new phase in our long journey and it is a good thing to remember Jude’s words from so many years ago.
Me: Do you want to turn around and go back?
Her: No, this is too important.