Valley Life For All column: Norma Stanton — a profile in optimism and resilience
Special to The Aspen Times
Editor’s note: the Aspen Times, in conjunction with Valley Life For All, publishes a monthly series about fostering inclusion.
Norma Stanton just had a double total knee replacement. Who does that, anyway? That’s a crazy-difficult operation. Yet, Norma, who is 84 years old and three weeks post-operation, is walking around town, doing errands.
Norma has held tubas up long enough to roll the dents out of them; she still drives her lawnmower around in her big yard in the mountains, and cleans her large home by herself and drives 2½ hours to see her daughter.
“I’m a good old country gal,” said the gregarious Norma. “I can pretty much do anything.”
As she reflects on this stage of her life, she said she doesn’t care if people call her a senior, elderly or an older adult. “The phrasing matters not a bit to me. I am what I am.” She considers herself nothing special, but she’s a picture of resilience and optimism, which go a long way for anyone facing a challenge.
Norma had a unique job, especially for women in the 1960s: She repaired musical instruments in her husband’s music store for 20 years. Besides rolling out dents in tubas, she enjoyed repairing woodwinds, since she played the clarinet.
There was no void in her life once she quit her job. Besides her family, her grandchildren and her great-grandchild, she has time to be with her friends. She dispenses wisdom when she said, “You know what’s the most important thing in life to have? Friends. I still have the friends I did when I first came here, and I haven’t had any of ‘em quit me,” she laughed. “Friends are invaluable. I’d put my life in their hands. They’re here to support me, to hold me when I cry, just about anything.”
Norma has seen a lot of changes in her long life. A lot of them she dislikes, but so much of them she does like, because it’s moving forward that keeps her optimistic.
She doesn’t have anything to offer for advice. “Do you think I’m old enough to give advice? C’mon!” She grinned.
But she naturally speaks of what’s good for us all. She’s proud that she’s thriving at 84 years of age. “I’m stubborn, I’m not going to have it any other way. It’s what’s to come that keeps me alive. You can have sadness in your life, but you can’t dwell there, you gotta look forward to the future. I’m happy just to look forward to what can be.”
Local nonprofit Valley Life For All is working to build inclusive communities where people of all abilities belong and contribute. Learn more at http://www.valleylifeforall.org or on Facebook.
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