In the community, making a difference

“May you always do for others…May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung…May you always be courageous, stand upright and strong…May have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift…May you stay forever young.”

Bob Dylan,

“Forever Young,” 1973

The song, “Forever Young,” written for his son Jesse, reveals the artistry of Bob Dylan, rooted in classical literature, personal in style and searching for truth. Many consider him a legend in his time, some for time immortal.

Not all agreed when Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. The award elicited this comment from Irvine Welsh, a Scottish novelist and playwright: “An ill-conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies.”

There is more to life than being hip, and people today build what marketers refer to as a “lifestyle of health and sustainability” that keeps them forever young. They enjoy being mentally and physically active with art, music, literature, personal fitness and eating good food. At retirement age, some look for communities that are receptive and have laid a foundation of institutions and organizations in which they share their skills and pursue interests.

Northeast Michigan has become a retirement destination with an environment that offers beauty and recreation. Coupled with the trend of smaller families and relocation for opportunity, the area has an aging population. Alcona County is ranked seventh in the nation by Pew Research for a population of citizens that are sixty-five or older, at 35.4 percent. The national average being 14.9 percent. The population of Alpena County over age sixty-five is 22.3 percent.

Two organizations of note have been formed with the support of those who have retired. Inspiration Alcona was formed in 2012 with the mission to make the county a hub for artists and writers. The Association of Lifelong Learners @ ACC was formed in the 1990s to engage people in learning and social opportunities.

Margie E. Lachman, psychologist at Brandeis University states, “Learning is an elixir that can bring us a healthy mind and body throughout adulthood and even longer.”

You will find 101 ways to be active, learn and create in the Community Calendar published each Tuesday in The Alpena News. Among those, on Nov. 7 at 5 p.m., the 14th annual ALL Spaghetti Dinner will be served at Alpena Community College. For information call, 358-7207.

“The act of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to close it again on something solid.”

G. K. Chesterton,

British writer

Tom Brindley can be reached via email at