Just Five More Minutes... Every now and then, there’s an issue of School Nutrition for which I am my own target audience. Of course, I enjoy researching and presenting articles on a whole range of school nutrition topics, from best practices in farm-to-school initiatives to the daily challenges of front-line cafeteria employees. (I wouldn’t be here 17+ years if I didn’t!) But it’s fair to admit that it’s only upon occasion that full issues resonate with me on a personal level. This month’s focus on planning for the future is one of those. I had a wake-up call recently. My stepmother, who was widowed when my father died in 2007, has no siblings, nieces, nephews or children of her own. We are not particularly close, although we will always have a bond through the memory of my dad. While she long suspected, based on family history, that she might one day suffer from dementia, she neglected to make any specific arrangements or document her wishes about her long-term care, remaining fiercely independent, living alone in a rural community. A little more than a year ago, the disease came on rapidly; her health and safety soon were compromised. A distant cousin and I collaborated to make long-term care decisions on her behalf. I am confident that we made good decisions. But witnessing her vulnerability and reliance on the kindness of “strangers” was an uncomfortable revelation: I’m currently single, without children. Could this be my fate one day? (I am grateful for one positive example she set: She made very savvy financial plans, including the purchase of long-term care insurance.) So, it was a wake-up call, and I hope I don’t procrastinate in exploring the advice offered in “Living Happily Ever After” (page 30). But (as friends and family can attest), I have a morning habit of hitting the snooze button multiple times. And as I get another year closer to turning 50, I keep hitting that snooze button, reluctant to confront some of the less-pleasant aspects of aging. All the more reason for me to heed the health and nutrition advice presented in “Live Long and Prosper” (page 40). And being closer to the end of a career than to its post-college start, it’s intriguing to dream about the possibilities described in “Retiring Minds Want to Know” (page 46). Finally, I live in Washington, D.C. Over the last decade, my community has suffered a number of calamities. We endured 9/11, the anthrax attacks, the Beltway sniper, a devastating Metro crash, “Snowmaggedon” and last summer’s 5.8 earthquake. Just how many snooze cycles will I go through before I can consider myself truly “Ready…for Anything!” (page 22)? Clearly, this issue of School Nutrition is on target for me. But this magazine doesn’t aim to speak to an audience of one. That’s why I hope that most of you fi nd this month’s articles equally resonant and informative. SN
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