Using the User Forums

Many have commented that we are an unusually diverse, bright, successful class (of course we are); and we would like to use our website to share our experiences with fellow classmates and guest members. The user forums feature (see User Forums on the Navigator Panel to the left, under JFK’s face) provides a way for us to do this. We do not intend to duplicate other website forums that better address specific needs (such as dealing with multiple myeloma or dementia) but instead offer a place for you to ask a question or share an experience that may benefit some of your classmates. Starting with four broad categories (TRAVEL, ART/MUSIC/LITERATURE, HEALTH/FITNESS, and GRIEF/LONELINESS), you will be able to seek answers from personal friends who may have already faced (or soon will face) what you are facing now. The questions or comments may have easy answers, or they may be posted just so someone will read them and sympathize. For example:

TRAVEL: (1) “Has anyone considered going to Costa Rica for elective surgery (face lift)? Prices are great, but what doctor would I choose and what criteria would I look for?” (2) “I’m looking for a travel partner to Singapore. I’d also like to benefit from the first-hand experiences of those who may have already been to Singapore (restaurants, lodging, tipping, dangerous areas).” (3) “We just returned from a fabulous trip to the Tuscan Wine Country, and I’m going to burst if I don’t tell you all what I LOVED BEST.”

ART/MUSIC/LITERATURE: (1) “I’d like to gather a group of friends to go to Nashville for the Country Music Awards in September. Anybody interested?” (2) “In retirement I want to expand my interest in photography, but I don’t know what type of classes would give me the ‘best value.’ Does anyone have first-hand experience (good or bad) taking classes in the Orlando area?” (3) “I have had no luck taking sharply focused close-up photos with fuzzy backgrounds. What am I doing wrong?”

HEALTH/FITNESS: (1) “I’ve read about the benefits of yoga, but I’ve never done it and am already 69. Is it too late for me to benefit physically and/or spiritually from starting to learn yoga now? Where would I start?” (2) “I have a shoulder blade that sticks out at a funny angle, and I can’t lift my right arm above my head. It started just after I had flu a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t injure myself, so what gives?”

GRIEF/LONELINESS: (1) “My mom has lived with me for decades. She was my best friend; now she’s gone. Everyone says it will get better, but HOW? WHEN?” (2) “After 45 years, my husband says he ‘loves' me but is not ‘in love with' me anymore. I’m devastated and overwhelmed wondering how I will live on less than half the income we lived on as a couple. What will I do?” (3) “My son was in a motorcycle accident and may not ever recover physically or mentally. I gave him permission to get his first motorcycle when he was 16. This is my fault.”

Obviously, the success of user forums depends 100% on the willing participation of others. Sometimes someone just needs a sympathetic ear. Other times, a friend will point you in the right direction and follow up later to show continuing concern. Usually, if two people begin a back-and-forth dialog, they move their detailed conversation off the forum page and into individual email messages exchanged in the Message Center (under MEMBER FUNCTIONS on the Navigator Panel).

Rules: As previously noted, we’re all pretty wonderful people, so the rules are simple and intuitive. No insulting or demeaning comments or responses. No profanity or gross language. No political or religious proselytizing. The Golden Rule applies.

As a friend used to tell me whenever I felt short-tempered, “Be kind to everyone because everybody is carrying a burden that you don’t know anything about.”