Content starts here
AARP AARP States Michigan Health & Wellbeing

A Smile Washes Over Me!


Author: Tom Watkins, former director of the Department of Mental Health and State Superintendent of Schools

I find joy in elder affection.

Seeing older people (my contemporaries and up) holding hands, walking arm in arm, opening a door, or pulling out a chair - assisting their partner in small and meaningful ways gives me joy.

A smile washes over me as I take in this human gesture of tenderness, companionship, support and love. Often a tear will well in my eye.


Dissecting the emotion of the endorphins rushing through my veins as I witness this affection I feel:
* hope
* happiness 
* joy
* tenderness
* love
* humanity 
* longing

I imagine a life of love, disappointments, fights, exhilaration and struggle boiled down like maple tree sap to the sweetness of the syrup of the moment of pure love and humanity. 

To grow old is inevitable 
To grow old alone is regrettable 
To love is to be 
To be alone is misery 

May we all have the opportunity to hold hands with someone we love throughout life and especially in the elder years bringing joy to ourselves and those that see.

Feeling and seeing love is what life is supposed to be. 

Tom Watkins 
November 1, 2021
Breathe in joy, exhale gratitude 

Photo: Courtesy Tom Watkins. My dearly departed father.

The author, Tom Watkins, serves the citizens of Michigan as state mental health director and state superintendent of schools.

Welcome to AARP Michigan
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.