Every year at about this time, spiders build a community of webs on my ninth floor balcony. For a while I wasn't sure why they did this; then I realized that late September always brings clouds of tiny flies that are drawn to the lights and fruits in my apartment. The clever spiders climb up the building in the hope of capturing an easy meal.
A couple of weeks ago on a particularly warm evening, I approached my window air conditioner to bask in the cool breeze—but what I saw dangling on the other side of the window gave me a much deeper chill. Suspended in the center of an elaborate web was one of the biggest, hairiest, most intimidating spiders I had ever laid eyes on. His home stretched on for miles(at least a spider's equivalent), putting all of his neighbors' efforts to shame. I knew right then and there that I had come face to face with the leader of the spider community.
After taking a few deep breaths I moved in for a closer look, pressing my nose right up to the glass.
If someone had told me ten years ago that I would one day be volunteering at a nursing home, I wouldn't have believed them. In fact, my 26-year-old self would have responded with, “Pffft, yeah right. Sitting around with a bunch of old people all day? I'd rather watch paint dry.”
Thankfully my mind has opened up since then. Once a week for about three hours, I do sit around with a bunch of old people, and you know what? I love it! I have made some unforgettable friends at the nursing home, enjoyed a ton of laughter, and gained more wisdom than I ever could have imagined.
I want to honor my elderly friends by sharing six life lessons I've learned while in their company.