Page 2 - MidWeek - June 7, 2023
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         2 MIDWEEK JUNE 7, 2023
      Just One Step At A Time
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Lao Tzu
    Some folks are born brimming with confi- dence, ready to take on
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the world and pursue their dreams. I was not one of them. At age 4 in junior kindergar- ten, I seriously wondered whether I could handle senior kindergarten. In first grade, being smart enough to grad- uate from elementary school seemed unimaginable. Then there was the fearful thought of becoming an adult. Adults were supposed to be perfect. How could I overcome all my faults?
e’re getting older here, and that’s a problem. According to U.S. Census Bureau 2020 num- bers reported in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser,
going to get old anyway.” At 65, I received my doctorate in musicology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Teach- ing others to appreciate great music has been a joy.
19.4% of our local population is in the 65-plus age group, versus just 14.3% of the population in 2010. That’s quite a leap in a decade. And without enough safety net systems in place (including housing and medical answers) this aging sit- uation will become a bigger drag on our local communities.
How would I now counsel my 4-year-old self, anxious about senior kindergarten? With the precious experience gained since then: We need only enough courage to take the first step, and then to con- tinue one step at a time.
While we lament the need for more doctors, nurses, teach- ers, affordable housing and higher-paying jobs, to name a few wish list items, what we’ve gotten in recent years is many more tourists and, thus, a renewed sense of economic complacency. Tourism is absolutely essential for our econ- omy, but the pleasant tax dollars and jobs provided by the visitor industry have precluded forward-thinking efforts at establishing opportunities for more industries (and jobs) to locate here. You’ve heard this before.
Over time, I learned how to manage school: show up, take notes, study the notes and re- gurgitate the information on exams. The idea of having a job out in the real world, how- ever, was terrifying.
After earning her doctorate in musicology, the author found great joy in teaching others to appreciate music.
If more working-age residents move from Hawai‘i, as has been the case for the past six years, and if many newcomer residents are retirees or remote workers, where will that leave us in a decade or so? If more middle-aged residents become senior family caregivers — whether they choose to or not — due partly to local cost factors, what will that do to our social networks, workforce and sense of well-being as a state?
After college, I landed a job teaching at an elementa- ry school, but I was a terrible
love was music. The problem was a lack of musical talent. No one would pay me to sing, dance or play an instrument. Then my piano teacher told me about musicology. Musicolo- gy is to music what art history is to art. One doesn’t have to perform; one can simply talk about music.
to school, starting with a ba- sic class on music theory for those who didn’t know the difference between a sharp and a flat. Plugging along one semester at a time, I found learning about music to be satisfying, absorbing and ex- pansive. Someone once told me, “Don’t worry about how long something takes; you are
Lynne Johnson is a com- munity volunteer and student of Christian Science, who enjoys playing the organ for Christian Science Society of Wahiawā.
Chasing The Light is pro- duced by Lynne Johnson and Robin Stephens Rohr.
Hawai‘i is not unique with its aging population, but we are unique in the limited scope of places one can go locally when the rent gets too high and services necessary for elder- ly care are simply not available. This growing (and aging) dilemma is compounded as younger generations opt to have fewer kids. Cost issues (employment, housing, child care, child rearing, economic uncertainty, et al.) and concurrent mental consternation are providing natural barriers to po- tential parents.
I quit my job and went back
teacher, scared to death of chil- dren. Eventually I found a suit- able job as fundraiser at a won- derful little school. But my real
New Century Schoolbook bold (scaled H 73.6)
with Lynne Johnson
          AARP Hawai‘i applauded the 2023 legislative efforts to help our elderly in need, with bills passed and personnel added in state positions to help meet growing needs. The pandemic simply exacerbated an aging population issue that’s been percolating here for years.
     More energy placed on economic diversification, plus continued focus on the needs of the elderly, must be the action plan. Let’s not regress to traditional “same old, same old” stasis as local tourism numbers rebound, like we accept- ed after the Kobe earthquake, 9-11 tragedy, 2008 worldwide recession and 2011 Sendai tsunami. Our kūpuna deserve better.
        Think about it.

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