>The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged
>us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look
>around, when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find
>wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with smile that lit up her
>She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm 87 years old. Can I give
>you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you
>may!", and she gave me a giant squeeze. "Why are you in college at such
>a young, innocent age?" I asked.
>She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married,
>have a couple of kids..."
>"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be
>taking on this challenge at her age.
>"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting
>one!" she told me.
>After class we walked to the student union building and shared a
>chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next
>months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always
>listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience
>Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily
>made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in
>attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it
>At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football
>banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and
>stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech,
>her 3 x 5 cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed, she
>leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I
>up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech
>back in order, so let me just tell you what I know."
>As we laughed, she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing
>because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only
>four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You
>have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When
>lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are
>dead and don't even know it!
>There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you
>are 19 years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one
>productive thing, you will turn 20 years old. If I am 87 years old and
>stay in bed
>for a year and never do anything, I will turn 88."
>"Anybody can grow OLDER. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The
>idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change. Have no
>regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but
>rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those
>regrets." She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."
>She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our
>lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun
>all those years ago.
>One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over 2,000
>college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman
>who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly
>When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice
>to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it! These words have
>passed along in loving memory of ROSE.
>REMEMBER: GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a
>Living by what we get; we make a Life by what we give. God promises a
>safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it - He will bring