The first day of school our professor introduced a little old lady to us. "Why are you in college at such a young age?" I asked later. She jokingly replied, " I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel." "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.
We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.
At the end of the semester we invited Rose to make a speech to our football team. I'll never forget what she taught us. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her note card on the floor. A little embarrassed she simply said, "I'm sorry. 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 you 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 nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. 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 with regrets." At the year's end Rose finished the college degree. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral to honor the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.