Living in the Moment

Written by Shlomit Ovadia of JCC Denver

Over 40 seniors schmoozed, ate, drank, and boogied the night away at JCC Denver’s Second Annual Senior Prom this past May. Despite the double-entendre, Senior Prom was more than just a party; it was a real chance for people to connect while being thrown completely into the present moment.

Having been involved at the J for the past 25 years, seventy-five-year-old Marion was ecstatic to attend this annual bash for its second occasion.

“I was really excited to go back because it had been such fun and wonderful in so many ways,” she exclaims. This year’s upgrades included a live band that churned out Motown R&B Soul jams, among other nostalgic 60s hits, all night long.  A buffet of tasty options decorated the periphery, as some chose to sit and chat over food, while others grabbed a bite before rushing back to the dance floor.

“There is nothing more in the moment than dancing,” adding with a chuckle, “the music was so good, you could not, NOT dance.”

Marion flew solo to both proms and said she felt completely welcomed by all the attendees, as both strangers and friends alike partied with congenial familiarity.

Despite having no familial ties to the J or being Jewish, Marion is a proud regular at many a senior event.

“The J has some really great programs and is one of my favorite places to do stuff,” she tells me.

Marion became a JCC member after leaving Denver for a 16-year travel stint that had her working in locations including Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii, and France. She says that the Mizel Arts and Culture Center’s plethora of films, lectures, music, and programs represent so many different cultures and parts of the world.

“I just really relate to that because that was my experience.”

Now, Marion enjoys Kavod on the Road, Denver Jewish Film Festival, and several other JAAM events. As someone who studied Comparative Religion in college and taught at a women’s Buddhist school, she says that what her worldly experiences and time at the JCC have in common is that they “make you look at the world in a variety of ways.”

Between the libations, friendly staff, and welcoming partygoers, Senior Prom was a simultaneously relaxing yet energetically positive atmosphere.

“I felt like for one night we people in our 70s or 80s got to go back and be teenagers again. It was so enlivening and inspirational and just made you feel young and energetic. It puts a smile on your face interacting with people your own age like you’re teenagers.”

To celebrate, Marion donned a colorful, sequined tunic designed to look like a butterfly that she happenstance discovered in her basement. “It seemed to fit the bill for the night.”

Listening to how her ensemble glittered as Marion twirled under the neon dance floor lights, I couldn’t help but envision myself grooving alongside Marion and the other senior adults, our ages falling away inconsequentially and the present moment breathing the same life into us all.