Featuring Old People are Cool Poem

As the Old People are Cool campaign continues to grow, we have received many creative perspectives on the project from the community.

Below is a very cool poem created by Lynne Grip, the Creative Director at Activity Connection. Lynne is a registered nurse with a long (we won’t say how long) and varied career in a number of diverse settings from emergency room and oncology nursing to hospice care and quality improvement/risk management in long-term-care and pharmacy settings.

 

Old People Are Cool

 Old people are cool, there isn’t a doubt,

Having lived enough years to figure things out.

There’s been enough time to know real from fake,

With so much learned from every mistake.

 

A look in the mirror shows all that has changed—

Once youthful features have been rearranged.

But what’s inside is what matters more.

That doesn’t change—one’s heart, one’s core.

 

Being old’s the number of years one has turned,

With each year a blessing most carefully earned.

Being older is cool in so many ways,

So celebrate each and every one of your days.

Featuring Misha Volyanyuk, Surgeon

85-year-old Mihailo Andronovych Volyanyuk, or just Misha, was born in Polish occupied Ukraine along with his 2 sisters. He has been in the medical field for over 67 years and served in the army for 30.

Misha’s father was arrested by the communist party and sent to a gulag (work/prison camp) in far-east Siberia where he passed away a few years later. Misha on the other hand was branded a son of a traitor and relocated along with the rest of his family to Kazakhstan. He later returned to Ukraine after the end of WW2. Even though he excelled in grade school and on entrance exams, he was not able to pursue a higher education unless he renounced his father’s name. Misha did not.

Misha’s passion has always been medicine and surgery. While in school, to make money to help support the family, Misha also began working at the local psychiatric ward. After completing a basic medical education, he was conscripted into the army as a junior officer. As a captain, he was sent to serve in Siberia where it was common for soldiers to get mauled by polar bears at the time. During his service there he tried to gain entrance to the surgeon’s academy but was denied the opportunity by his superior officer. However, one day an important visitor came to the base. This was the same day that a soldier was snatched right from outside the barracks and dragged off to the wilderness by a polar bear. Although eventually rescued by a fellow soldier, the damage had been done and the bear inflicted multiple wounds including a scalped head. Even though chances of survival were slim, Misha did a fantastic job in operating on him that he saved his life. This impressed the visitor so much that he was able to pull a few strings and get Misha the acceptance letter to the national surgeon’s academy.

Misha was sent to serve in the Gobi Desert, in Mongolia, as the senior surgeon consultant to the Surgeon General of Mongolia where he attained the rank of Colonel. After military service in 1988, he returned to Chernivtsi, Ukraine, where he became the head surgeon in the city hospital. In the 90’s he and some of his fellow doctors traveled to multiple rural areas in Ukraine and provided free medical aid to people who otherwise could not receive it. Because of his actions, he was knighted into the Holy Order of Archangel Michael and given the title of Count. Misha still resides in Chernivtsi where he continued to performed surgeries until his 80’s.

In his spare time, Misha loves to read and go fishing. No matter what has happened, he has always kept a contagious upbeat attitude and character. Even though Misha was denied his dreams multiple times and set up for failure by constantly being sent to some of the most inhospitable places on earth, he still prevailed. Misha has 2 sons. The youngest followed in his footsteps and became a surgeon, the oldest pursued a career in engineering and eventually won a green card and moved to the United States with his wife and son.

Featuring Sandy Ransom, Artist

Sandy Ransom (www.sandyransom.com) began painting in 2003 while studying with Lilli Pell of Wimberley, Texas. Largely self-taught, she participates in workshops whenever possible and delights in plein air painting with fellow artists. Linked Senior was delighted to catch up with Sandy this month:

(LS): What are you passionate about?

(SR): I am passionate about people and about our Earth – about caring, helping, and loving each other. I am passionate about beauty and expressing that beauty through my art. I love to garden and derive great pleasure from growing pretty much anything and nurturing our Earth.

(LS): How did your new book Musings + Art from Elderhood come to be?

(SR): Jeff had been writing a weekly blog entitled “Musings from Jeff” for several years. In his blog, Jeff ponders a wide range of topics. He decided to publish a book of his musings and approached me about doing a series of paintings that would provide a visual reflection of his writing. This project was pure joy to bring to fruition.

(LS): Do you have some “words of wisdom” to share with younger generations?

(SR): Some of the following “words of wisdom” were taught to me by cherished elders in my life and others are concepts I have learned through living:

  • ALWAYS believe in yourself no matter what life brings your way
  • Follow your heart
  • Learn to listen…to focus on others and truly hear their words and sense their feelings
  • There is no such thing as failure. If something doesn’t go the way you intended, there is a lesson. Look for that lesson
  • Forgive. The act of forgiving truly frees the forgiver
  • BE in the present whether that is doing a mundane task, creating a masterpiece or engaging in conversation with a loved one
  • Be thankful. Living each day with gratitude brings peace and delight
  • LOVE. This is the biggest one. I could write volumes about it. Each of us has a core of love. Think what this world will be when we project love and compassion with every word we speak and action we take

Featuring Robert (Bob) Shipman, Music Lover

We are excited to share how cool we think 89-year-old Bob, Mr. Robert Shipman, is! Bob, aka PopPop, is the Grandfather of one of Linked Senior’s very own Customer Success Managers. Want to know his story? Well, it’s so cool that we want to share it!

Bob has always been interested in music. Since high school, he has pursued learning how to play clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, piano, and he is currently taking organ lessons alongside his wife Betty. He spent 21 years in the United States Army and followed up his military service by spending 20 years working as a part of the FBI. Since retiring, he seems to be more active than ever! Outside of organ lessons, he enjoys woodcarving, playing the clarinet for his church, listening to classical music, working on his “honey-do” list from his wife, and he just finished up a 17 year research project that has left him with a completed manuscript on the NAZCA Biomorphs and the Olmecs that is awaiting publication.

His joy in life is found through making other people smile, playing a “wicked clarinet”, and approaching life knowing every day has a little more to offer through his faith in God.

In the words of his doctor: “Bob, if you keep all this up, you’ll live to be 140!”

Mr. Shipman has overcome a battle with cancer and through that, his life mantra has become: “Each and every day is exciting, my glass is half full and there is more on the way.”

(Photo credits go to his 9-year-old great-granddaughter: Taylor Ann)