HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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Our flags began to fly 15 years ago when Hank, one of our original residents, decided to place a flag to honor America. One by one neighbors, asked Hank if they could have a flag, too. Soon, with Hank’s help, all but one home had a flag flying to honor our nation’s ideals. Sure, we’d like to have 40 rather than 39 fly the flag, but America is diverse. That’s what makes it strong. America is built on our right to think differently, to live as we wish and to voice our opinions freely without fear of retribution. On our block we live by those ideals and recognize our neighbor’s right to be different.


We cherish the Constitution, live by the Bill of Rights and are proud of the Declaration of Independence, written so many years ago by men just like us who knew something we did not: That a nation diverse, working toward the common good, under guidance that protects their rights, can lead the world to peace and prosperity. It has not been an easy path. Just ask those who live on our street. So many have served our country. The Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, the Nursing Corps are all represented. World War II, Korean, Vietnam and Iraq veterans and so many others are haunted by their deeply imbedded memories. We listen and we support each other and understand.


Yes, America has come together many times to protect our way of life. It amazes me that people from all walks of life, gender, countries of

STREET OF FLAGS

origin, lifestyles and economic status have protected our nation from harm. That is why on our Street of Flags we welcome all to our shore who wish us no harm to join with our Native Americans who for generations protected our land.


Let’s be honest, all of us in some way has been touched by immigration, by the thousands emigrating from other parts of the world. Most have positively contributed to the American ideal. It has not been an easy path for many. Wave after wave, from the earliest of times, the French, English, Chinese, Irish, African, Middle European, Mexican, South American, Middle Eastern, and so many others have come to America and found a safe and satisfying life. Just think for a moment about all the insights, inventions and improvements to our society people with roots from other countries and cultures have accomplished. Now, we are under attack by drugs, being manipulated by foreign powers through the internet, through economic manipulation and now by the COVID-19 virus. But this is my America – and yours. We have been there before and fought mightily to preserve our right to be free and safe. And when we have unified under the Stars and Stripes, the same flag that flies in unity on my block, we have persevered. Thank you, Hank, for leading the way and for reminding all of us why America is strong.