Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Truly Rewarding Experience - J.L.

I have lived in the Asheville area since 1973 where I taught history at Mars Hill University.  I retired in 2006, and after a few years, joined OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville, where I took up teaching again, this time with seniors.  I had many friends before I retired and found afterward that these connections were no longer as important to me as they once were.

I joined my men's group both out of curiosity to see what such a group was about and also to see if it were possible to make a new set of friends and particularly men of my own age.  I have learned much and greatly enjoy being part of the men's group.

As a resident of Western North Carolina, it's been fun to learn about the experiences of men who have lived in places that are very different from here and who have had careers far different than my own.  At the same time, I have learned that in spite of our differences, we had many things in common as we told our stories about growing up in the 50s and 60s and how we faced the world as adults.  It appeared to me that at this stage of our lives career choices were far less important than they once were. Hearing the stories of my colleagues told in our meeting room at The Reuter Center and at a watering hole over beer has been a truly rewarding experience.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Change of Mind S.J.

When a friend asked what I thought of the idea of organizing several Men's Wisdom Works groups through OLLI (Osher Life Long Learning Institute) at UNC Asheville, I had lunch with him to encourage his initiative but to say decisively, I'd be the last to join.  What I actually told him was, "It was a good idea but not for me."  He received a similar response to his request for me to write a blog.

Not only did I join Group #3, but now I'm an enthusiastic supporter of the concept and my group.  In fact, I don't know how I would have gotten through the last 14 months without these men.  Being with a dozen men whom I like and trust has meant so much to me.  We listen, think, respond, and support each other as much as we can.  When one of our group died we joined his family at his memorial service.

About a year ago I went through radiation and chemotherapy for terminal cancer, and I relished their personal support plus the many rides they gave me to the hospital; what a difference that made for me and my wife. So now I'm writing this blog to encourage others to consider the idea as an opportunity to open your heart to others and to broaden your circle of trusted friends.  I doubt I'll write a blog often but who knows.

Stephen Jones, MWW Group III