Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day #427 Bees Must Be Artists

I was thinking about people who live—and work—well into their nineties. Most of those people, at least the ones I know about, are highly creative. Artists, musicians, writers just don’t seem to retire. They keep on creating. Pablo Cassals, , Grandma Moses, Artur Rubenstein, and Lillian Jackson Braun come to mind.

Bees are like that, too. They work until the end of their life span. They generally die while they’re still working, trying to get just one more load of pollen and nectar back to the hive. When their little wings wear out, they simply can’t go on.

One woman, though, who has been an inspiration to a number of generations, worked and worked and stopped before her wings wore out. She's the well-known Georgia pediatrician, Dr. Leila Denmark. You may have heard of her. She’s 113 years old now.

(photo credit, from an online article written for the National Library of Medicine,
entitled Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Physicians)
Dr. Denmark retired (sort of) when she was 103, only because her eyesight had gotten too poor for her to feel completely confident of her diagnoses. Due to macular degeneration, she is now legally blind. But I’ve heard that she’ll still take calls from her former patients and give out good advice.

One thing I find wonderful is that she's known for her own work, rather than just for the fact that she's lived more than a century.

We should all be so lucky.

Finding work to do that we love (and that we're willing to devote our loves to) is a rather old-fashioned concept. Many people now change their jobs almost as often as they change their underwear.  Yuch! Hope that's not true.

If you're interested in learning more about Dr. Denmark, here's the link.

What a role model! Between Dr. Denmark and the bees, I have a lot to live up to.
And a long time left to do it.

Next to her, I'm just a spring chicken.

BEEattitude for Day #427:
       Blessed are those who love the work they do, for they shall play every day.

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AggiePete said...

What an inspiration - Dr. Denmark. I'd love to be active in my later years - my mom got her nursing degree at 66 after retiring from her secretarial job at 65. And worked up until she passed at 81 years. Like she told Katie & I "age is only a number" and that's how I've lived my 63 years so far!

Fran Stewart said...

Sounds like your mom was a great role model, too, Petie. You know, I've known people who were old at thirty, and others who were as vibrant as could be when they were old.

Old, of course, is a variable. I can remember a subtraction problem a teacher gave our class once. "Figure out how old you'll be when the 21st century begins," she instructed. I was appalled to think that I'd be fifty-three. That was positively ancient.

Keep in mind that I was living on an Air Force base. The oldest people I knew were my parents, who were older than most of the other military people. I didn't remember my grandparents very much -- hadn't seen them in four years.

"Old" keeps getting farther along the more I age. But--still, oldness is more inside the head than anywhere else.

So I say, hurray for people like your mom!