Craft Your Happy

Fun at any age starts with you.

Creating your own happiness is a lifelong journey. One upside of post-retirement life is the free time to pursue new passions. Exploring hobbies and activities offers opportunities to make meaningful connections with those around you. Many seniors opt for retirement living communities because they enjoy an active social life and the convenience of a fulfilling lifestyle right on campus.

Dancing through life

Music and dance bring joy to our lives, and Tom and Linda Holloman know that better than anyone. They are a retired military couple, who have traveled extensively. Since joining the community last year, they have been busy sharing their happiness through a wide range of hobbies and interests, and they have brought their love of dancing to Carlyle Place.The Hollomans have enjoyed retirement living for many years, but relocated to Carlyle Place after a friend convinced them they’d love it. In addition to the year-round warm weather, they felt the incentives of living in a Life Plan Community were better for their long-term needs. Should either of them ever need healthcare or assistance, they have it right on campus. The peace of mind that affords contributes to why they’re so happy.  Where Tom and Linda lead, others follow. They’ve been line dancing enthusiasts for years and even though they’re by no means professionals, they know enough to feel confident teaching others some simple steps. When they arrived at Carlyle Place, there weren’t any line dancing classes, but that all changed when they got involved. “Suddenly we had 100 more friends,” Linda said. “We laugh a lot, we’re happy people. We started offering these little lessons then everybody wanted to do it; that’s how people started signing up. It’s just a matter of creating something people might be interested in and making it happen. I think a lot of folks used to really enjoy dancing. For that reason, we don’t always play country western music when we dance. We like to mix in music like the Supremes or the Temptations, stuff everyone knows and likes.” Tom also loves to play his harmonica which is something he picked up later in life. Turns out he’s not alone. “I never thought anybody here would be interested in the harmonica, but now I’ve got five students and we’re having so much fun. Maybe we’ll start a band next,” Tom laughed. “We started off sounding like a bunch of chipmunks, but once everyone got the hang of it, blowing into the harmonicas started to make us feel good about ourselves. It’s been joyful.” Linda recalled a neighbor, Edith, had approached them because she knew Tom was fond of his harmonica. Edith’s husband had passed on, but she couldn’t bring herself to get rid of his beloved harmonicas. Instead, she offered them to Tom and his harmonica group. The harmonicas are getting a second chance to make their players happy, and Edith enjoys hearing them again.

Coloring their world

While music and dance are a huge part of the Holloman’s social lives, they also explore self-expression through visual arts. Tom loves to watercolor, and this past year he’s been taking a sketching class. Linda formed a coloring circle with some residents at Carlyle Place. She finds shading in the intricate designs with colored pencils very soothing. Her fellow artists get to reconnect with a hobby they enjoyed as children. The relaxing effect is wonderful for stimulating conversation. Of course, they don’t neglect their physical well-being. They attend exercise classes a few times per week and Tom is an avid golfer. He meets up with some friends at a course not far from Carlyle Place. To say the Hollomans have made the most of their first year at Carlyle Place is an understatement. They get a kick out of bringing people together, and they’ve been doing it their whole lives. “It’s fun to get people out of their shells,” Linda said.

Happiness is contagious

Tom and Linda certainly didn’t invent fun at Carlyle Place. Dances and parties featuring live music and DJs are a common occurrence. Our parties are occasions residents anticipate.
“Instead of having everybody just there at a table watching the bands, we started moving tables out to create a dance floor. We try to bring people out of their chairs and get them moving. We even did the Y.M.C.A and the Bunny Hop. I thought to myself, ‘when was the last time I did the Bunny Hop?’ We had some employees on the floor for the Electric Slide too!” Linda said.

The Hollomans might sound busy, but they’re no different than many other residents at Carlyle Place who have chosen to spend their retirement pursuing a life that brings them joy. For some, that joy might come through dance; for others, it’s discussing a good book with friends and neighbors once a week. Whatever your happy is, you can craft it at Carlyle Place. And if you don’t see the programming you’re looking for, our staff and fellow residents will help you make a space for it. You never know what interests you might share with your neighbors.

Happiness is a choice, and we know that as we age, the opportunities to learn new things and meet new people can become more limited. In an active adult community like Carlyle Place, we offer countless ways to share your interests with others and bond through new experiences. If you’re looking for a change of pace this year, we’re here to help. Call us today at 478-405-4544 to get more info.

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