Back in July I spent a week in South Texas, visiting six of our owned and managed communities. On my second to last day, I woke up exhausted after multiple days of working long hours and not sleeping. On top of that, by 7 a.m. I had the news that the offer on our house in Tennessee had been pulled, the house that I loved and poured my heart into, had been on the market for seven months, and now we were seemingly back at square one, with no buyers. So I reluctantly went about my day trying to stay positive and not think about the problems in my life – problems which to me were huge at the time, and in the big scheme of things, were no big deal whatsoever. On my way to the next community, The Conservatory at Alden Bridge, I got stuck in a horrible traffic jam and road closures, and my handy GPS device stopped working, so I was lost, in The Woodlands, a suburb outside of Houston. The Woodlands is a beautiful area…tall pine trees and not a lot of big overwhelming signs. Which is gorgeous – except when you’re lost and can’t see what’s ahead. So I was at my breaking point, all my troubles had come to life that moment and I nearly burst into tears. The last thing I wanted to do was go the community, I just wanted to be at home. And for those of you that know me, when I am in a bad mood, there is nothing bringing me out of it. So I made my way to The Conservatory with the help of their concierge directing my way. I was greeted by smiling faces when I walked through the door, and sat down for a wonderful lunch, relieved to be sitting outside of my car and eating. After lunch I was greeted by Tim Smith, the Executive Director at the community.
Tim took me upstairs to the Game Room, where residents were playing poker and getting ready for a game of horse racing. I watched Tim with the residents – goofing around with them, making a fool out of himself to get them to laugh, playing games and telling jokes. And all of a sudden I was laughing, smiling uncontrollably. My bad mood went away instantly. I have never in my life experienced a mood shift like that. I sat and watched Tim and the residents play horse racing, where they al bet fake “Tim Money” and roll dice in order to be the first to get their horse to the finish line. There were at least 25 residents participating in the game, and there was non-stop laughter. After the game was over, he took me into the fitness room, and many residents came in to do the group fitness activity. I guarantee that it didn’t seem like a workout to any of the residents in that room, they were just with their friends enjoying thirty minutes of an activity, forgetting that they were lifting weights and doing chair exercises. We then went to the Brain Fitness Center, a room filled with computers where the residents can search the internet or play brain fitness games. I sat with some residents as they searched through the internet, showing me pictures of places they had travelled and pictures of their family. And by then it was time for happy hour, so I joined the residents in the Safari Lounge and watched them eat and drink, and dance and sing along with the entertainer that had been hired for the evening.
I ended up spending six hours with Tim and the residents at Alden Bridge, and it was some of the best hours of my life. The residents are engaged, excited to be at the community, participating in activities. They smile and have fun. They let loose and enjoy life. The environment that Tim and the other associates at Alden Bridge have created is one of excitement and laughter. And what better way to spend your retirement years? After all, what’s the point of living if you’re not laughing?
One of the core values that we live by at Legend Retirement is Excellence. We all strive for it, and some of us live it every day. That day, all around me was excellence. I cannot wait to get back to The Conservatory at Alden Bridge. So thank you, Tim and the residents at The Conservatory, for turning my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, upside down.