Senior Scene

Senior Scene
Serene Karplus


Showing Up

We start off the year with good intentions about the positive changes we will make in our lives and we need to gently remind ourselves of them whenever old habits cause us to slip. Many of us say we will find more time for family and friends or for our health and hobbies, but continue to schedule our time the way we always have or indulge in the same unhealthy foods, watch too much TV or Facebook – or whatever we do that holds us back from being and achieving what we really want.

All of us have demands on our time. Those who work full time, especially with a commute, often arrive home spent, with no more energy to give. Raising a family is another full-time job. Retirees start the cycle all over again trying to help their adult children raise kids of their own.  

Still, we can stop and consider what impact we have on the world, how we demonstrate to our families what is important to us beyond the family circle, what our values are and what is meaningful to us.

Some folks indicate they want to be a little more pro-active about the things they care about in the world. Those with the means and the time may travel to other parts of the world on help missions, like Nurses Without Borders, Sasa Harambee, Bead for Life, or cultural exchanges. Others may accomplish helpful work in natural disasters across state lines and even more find plenty of projects that make a difference closer to home.

We have many active organizations here in the mountains that reach out to make a long-range difference. Whether we are concerned about sustainability, forest preservation, wildlife, combating hunger or homelessness, recreation, or a myriad of other issues, a group with similar interests has likely already formed and is working on it. Chances are, they would welcome new help in any amount. Most causes are in need of fresh energy regularly and don’t require anyone to start the entire process from scratch.

How to find these like-minded people? Sometimes we don’t want to display our politics or concerns in our social groups if we don’t want to “rock the boat” there. The internet and social media can provide a lot of information anonymously. If thorough online searches don’t net enough information, asking on popular Facebook sites might produce some one-on-one contacts who can direct us. For those whose geography, knowledge, or patience levels preclude them from connecting online, asking a local librarian or an internet-loving friend for some help with information or contacts can net a lot of leads. If the work we want to do is locally-based, word-of-mouth also still works well in the mountains.

The important part is to just do it. Why not take on one new project that ignites a spark of excitement or that soothes an anger about how something is being managed by others? We can let one old interest go to make way for the new and get moving on it. We can challenge authorities to see things from another perspective. Many local battles are lost because people who say “we care” don’t take the time to become fully informed on all sides of a story, speak up at a meeting, or write a letter to the right decision makers.

Let’s make this a year of standing up for what we believe in, for expressing our views and making a difference – in the right places, to the right people, at the right times. Let’s all “show up” for whatever we believe is important.



All adults are welcome at all Mountain MidLife and Nederland Area Seniors events, attended mostly by folks over age 50. Everyone is invited to all meals at the Nederland Community Center. Please call two days ahead for lunch reservations (a week ahead for dinners and breakfasts if possible) to 303-258-0799. Missed the deadline? Call anyway. Costs listed show first the over-age-60 requested anonymous contribution, then the under-age-60. Please note that all over age 60 are welcome regardless of ability to contribute financially.



Serene Karplus

About the Author: Serene Karplus – is the Executive Director of the Nederland Area Seniors, Inc. (NAS) which assists senior citizens in enhancing their quality of life, enabling them to live a life of respect and honor.  This is accomplished through the facilitation of nutrition, transportation, education, recreation, socialization and outreach programs for all seniors living in the Greater Nederland Area. Serene is a contributor to The Mountain-Ear with her Senior Scene column.