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D.H. Lawrence said, “Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.” The thought of spending life is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it truly takes the wisdom of an Elder to demonstrate its’ power. Their knowledge leading us all to learn that life is really only about the relationships that are formed throughout it and the experiences that are had.

Luckily in Panama City Beach today, the Elders had a combustible mixture of both. The day started off with another adventure, this time one that involved dolphins and other fun creatures. The group hopped aboard buses to spend the day at Gulf World Marine Park, where the adventures were only just beginning.

It was at Gulf World where Ora Beck, an Elder living at Pickett Care and Rehabilitation, squealed with delight when she touched the stingrays. Her excitement could not be contained as she touched them each and every one.  She couldn’t help but grab her caregiver’s cheeks and exclaim, “this is the best day of my life!”. Yes, she was spending life.  Then there was Eliza and Carolyn. Both of these ladies were so excited to “swim” with the dolphins. Eliza couldn’t believe that she was doing it because it was something she had always dreamed of. Carolyn quickly became the life of the party, even ending the experience with a dance alongside her new dolphin pal. Again, these ladies were withdrawing from the bank of life.

So many firsts on this trip. James, from Kentucky, had never been on a vacation before. In his entire life, he had never stayed in a hotel, boarded an airplane, seen the ocean or taken a trip away from his familiar state.  The experiences he has had already takes my breath away. He said his favorite things so far were going to Gulf World and riding in an airplane.

The adventure continues on as Elders knock things off their bucket lists and build new relationships. Our Stakeholders are also getting to see life in a different way. Our nurse, Cynthia, said “I can’t express how thankful I was to not only meet the dolphins today but be a part of facilitating the Elders experience. I will carry this with me forever and let it guide me through my career as a caregiver!” 

Life is truly mean to be spent. These beach goers would all probably agree with me. Happy hearts abound in Panama City Beach tonight!