Why I Chose to Live at Pennswood Village: One Boomer’s Perspective
By Lorraine Pasadino, Pennswood resident
It has been said that all wisdom is plagiarized; only stupidity is original. It has also been said that there are two learning paths to wisdom – great love and great suffering. Given that I’ve experienced blisters on my feet and holes in the soles of my shoes from traveling both paths, I will try to avoid too much originality in sharing my perspective.
That said, both wisdom paths teach that labeling can be, and very often is, disabling. Generalized categories like “the greatest generation,” “boomers,” and “millennials” create sweeping, oversimplified characterizations of human beings in this country who are pigeonholed into static classification by sociologists, politicians, economists, and marketers.
Despite the fact that the year I was born has labeled me as a member of the “Me Generation” and hence, they claim they know what attracts or motivates me in my decision-making, I’d like to share what actually did attract and motivate me to move to Pennswood Village.
- It is a welcoming, hospitable community. The first time I made a visit to Pennswood Village, I noticed its signage as I drove onto the grounds. It has no labels as a retirement community, CCRC, etc. That was a plus for me right off! Why? Because as I learned from my research and visits, Pennswood is so much more than any moniker could possibly describe. Visitors, residents and workers may fall into several generational categories, but just as each flake of snow is unique, one-of-a-kind, yet still snow, the overarching community ethos is one of unity rather than uniformity, harmony rather than homogeneity.
- It is an inclusive community:
a.) Although rooted in Quaker values with the guiding principle as love, Pennswood Village welcomes people of differing social, economic, religious, political, etc. views. There is a conscious, driving energy toward inclusivity in its myriad forms inside and outside the Pennswood community. (Note: I am not Quaker.)
b.) It is an intergenerational setting with an elementary and a high school on the grounds, and there is a vibrant, energetic exchange between the generations that I find so life-giving! Bucks County Community College also holds courses in our Community Building, so those young adults and our residents take classes together.
c.) As an inclusive community, I witnessed and now participate in and enjoy a culture of genuine warmth, respect and kindness among residents, administrators, staff and all workers.
d.) The stance of inclusivity is not one of exclusivity to the Pennswood Village Community. Our community is engaged in a range of life-giving actions of concern, compassion and social justice for our local, national, and global families, and our Mother Earth.
e.) The inclusion and, in fact, the celebration of the arts: visual, musical, dance, theatre, etc., is expansively enriching. There is a gallery immediately to the right upon entering the Community Building in which noted artists from far and near showcase their work, and there is an art gallery dedicated to the residents’ works. There are national and international musical artists who hold concerts here, and the list can go on.
- As someone who grew up in Brooklyn, NY and worked in citified settings, I find myself filled with awe and gratitude as I walk the grounds or simply look out a window. The exquisite beauty of the environmental setting of 82 acres and the outstanding stewardship of its care is nationally recognized. There is an elegant simplicity of the Pennswood Community Center and the residential buildings without being “over-the-top” — which appeals to me.
In my research, I found there are many “good” places and options from which I could choose. However, I discovered Pennswood Village to be quite distinctive, and by that I mean “one of a kind,” not “cookie cutter” or what they think I should be attracted to. Despite the anxiety of making such a choice, after living here just about one year, I am so thankful my intersecting paths led me to Pennswood Village.