By Margaret Wachholz
A few years back, the owners of The Irish Gazette hosted Kieran Folliard, originally from the west of Ireland, at the Yacht & Pool Club. He is an accomplished gentleman. 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey was created by Kieran who was inspired by his red-headed or “ginger” mother, Mary. Kieran also has owned pubs & businesses around the Twin Cities & has lectured at the Carlson School of Management. Kieran can hold 50 people spellbound with one whiskey in hand while taking the conversation on as many twists and bumps as a County Cork regional back highway. Even so, no passion mentioned above matched the gleam in his eye when he talks of home.
The Good Age magazine featured him recently. In the article, I believe Kieran is teaching us how to BE an elder, knowingly or unknowingly. He talks of being engaged in life & his passion for life-long learning. It is difficult to determine your age when you are passionate – you are timeless.
By mid-life, changes happen – jobs, family, health, business & financial. The obstacles can grow as we age, as can our ability to weather the storm. By being in a state of patient discernment & by passionate daily engagement, some of the elders I work with remain ageless.
One can hear the emotional intelligence within Kieran as he embraces nonsense – and judging from the long and storied history of the Irish folk; a Paddy does not take upon many an issue without a strong brush stroke of absurdity & laughing at oneself.
We were a desperate people for long enough, not even being able to own property for centuries under British rule, and after mass starvation from the potato blight of the mid 1800s many of us emigrated to America. It was faith’s whim for those who left the country in troubled times whether they prospered or not. Sure of nothing except usually never seeing your family again. When you are borne on the whistling winds of history, there is no putting on false airs, is what I’ve learned by my folk.
But everything you do can be elevated to artistry – and that is what I take from the likes of the Irish, of Kieran. Whether it’s the gift of the stay home mom, the physician, teller at the bank, the aide who is toileting an elder at a nursing home; it is the vigor you bring to the table [at any age]… You are never too old to give back, to serve, to offer hope, to exhibit courage and virtue to the disheartened.
So, clean out the cold ashes, light that fire, have 2 Gingers on the rocks, find your passion / quit’cher whinin’ and make someone happy today.
Margaret Wachholz is the campus marketing director at Woodbury Senior Living.
Photography courtesy of the Woodbury Magazine.