Ten, nine, eight, seven … the New Year’s Eve party countdown at Everett’s Carl Gipson Senior Center happened not at almost midnight, but Monday afternoon.
Marian Johnson, for a decade the center’s office specialist, celebrated her retirement by singing “Midnight in Moscow” as the center’s glittery ball dropped above the dance floor. Dancers paused to toast the start of 2019 with sips of sparkling cider and Diet 7-Up.
Resolutions? Those often-broken pledges to lose weight or stick to a budget didn’t seem to be on the minds of seniors celebrating 2019. For some older adults, January brings more meaningful aims.
“My resolution is to start my new journey and create a new life,” said Johnson, 65, whose retirement day coincided with the New Year’s Eve party.
At 94, Everett’s Grace Hutt has an adventuresome goal.
“Going to Portugal,” Hutt said about a resolution for 2019. The trip will take “some cooperation from my family,” she said. If she can’t talk a family member into going, Hutt said she’ll turn to a godson.
“I just want to go there. There are things I want to see there,”said Hutt, a longtime traveler who has been many times to Australia and Great Britain.
Hutt was playing cards, contract bridge, at the center Friday. Her table’s foursome included Judy Lang, of Woodinville. “I decided to set goals, rather than make resolutions,” said Lang, 79.
To learn something new is Lang’s first goal. The other is to ride her bike 1,000 miles in 2019.
A thousand miles, that sounds ambitious. For an entire year, Lang said “it’s not much.” She belongs to BIKES Club of Snohomish County, and joins the group for once-a-week rides.
At 76, Mukilteo’s Carol Morris isn’t looking to change the life she shares with her husband, Jesse. Their goal is “to try to stay happy — happy with what you have,” she said.
“You’re never going to see any happier people,” said Jesse Morris, 78, who gladly retired from his job as a newspaper printer 16 years ago. No longer able to drive due to eyesight and other health issues, the Morrises use paratransit services for weekly trips to the senior center. “It’s a wonderful place,” he said.
Eddie Baines, 79, doesn’t worry about resolutions when January rolls around. “What I’ve found, I make them but I don’t keep them,” the Mukilteo man said.
“I did keep one, to quit smoking,” Baines said. He gave up smoking a pipe, switched to snuff for a few months, but quit that tobacco product — with its spitting and health risks — within a couple months. That was 16 years ago.
Baines said he enjoyed his pipe, but seeing lung cancer patients when he worked as an operating room technician in the military convinced him to quit. “I gained 15 pounds and still have it,” he admitted. Had he not quit smoking though, Baines isn’t sure he’d be around to celebrate “the big 80” this summer.
The New Year’s Eve party was a wonderful gift, said Bob Dvorak, director of Everett’s senior center.
Burkel, who died March 30 at 85, loved music, Johnson said. His donation made the party free for seniors who normally pay $5 to attend dances at the center, she said.
Dvorak, 62, said he and Eric Wollan, the senior center’s program coordinator, made a bet last new year’s over losing weight.
“He lost more,” said Dvorak, whose 2019 resolution is to spend more time with his 10-month-old granddaughter, Claire.
With a lifetime of experiences, Hutt offered words to live by — this or any year.
“Don’t hold grudges,” she said. “Forgive everybody, no matter what.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.