Documentary next up at Wabi Sabi film fest. Lives Well Lived is a documentary by Sky Bergman that celebrates the incredible wit and wisdom of adults 75 to 100 years old who are living their lives to the fullest. Encompassing over 3,000 years of experience, 40 people share their secrets and insights to living a meaningful life. 

Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

And the documentary is our feature as the Wabi Sabi Film Festival continues this month — Friday, Jan. 24, 10 a.m. at the Lake Theater in downtown Oak Park. This is a film festival about aging which encourages all members of our community to embrace and respect our aging population and the transformation of our society. The Wabi Sabi Film Festival is open to everybody. Admission is $2. And the popcorn is free!

The film festival is sponsored by the Village of River Forest, the Village of Oak Park, Sen. Don Harmon, Rush Oak Park Hospital, Oak Park and River Forest Townships, the River Forest Public Library, a Tribe Called Aging and Wednesday Journal.

When I saw Lives Well Lived, I was reminded of a history of our country through the everyday lives of 40 people, including a Japanese mother who lived in the internment camps, an Italian father and storekeeper, a young African-American woman in the Civil Rights Movement, a young Jewish girl fleeing the Nazis and arriving in America alone, a rancher, a sculptor, a musician and many others.

I was also reminded of how much I take for granted on a daily basis, those small amazing things all around me, and of how important it is to just pause, be present and appreciate. 

Most depictions of older people in our country, especially depictions from Hollywood, focus on the losses and problems that we face as we age. Lives Well Lived provides some balance and honesty, and does so through the words of older people themselves, through intimate memories and inspiring personal histories.

As always at the Wabi Sabi Film Festival, there will be in-theater discussion following the movie, facilitated by our host Elizabeth White, author of 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal. Viewers will divide into small groups for focused sharing and then reconvene as a large group. Show up at the Lake Theater with a friend on and enjoy the dialogue and the popcorn!

Lastly, I want to acknowledge the return of Sunday Night Dinner, the unique fundraiser for local not-for-profit organizations. Once again held at The Buzz Café, after a 15-year hiatus, Sunday Night Dinner will be serving upscale fare, locally sourced and crafted, to support organizations such as Kindness Creators Intergenerational Preschool, Housing Forward and Arbor West Neighbors. On Jan. 12, the recipient organization will be Growing Community Media, the new non-profit owner of Wednesday Journal. Please contact Dan Haley at Wednesday Journal for tickets. Supplies limited to 35 and they are going fast! Dan’s email is dhaley@wjinc.com.

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