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Despite the challenges of 2020, Judson residents have continued to move forward, whether pursuing their lifelong passions or exploring new dreams. In fact, that might be one of COVID’s silver linings: Reimagining our passions and pursuits in the shadow of a pandemic can enhance our sense of engagement.
Consider South Franklin Circle resident Pauline Ramig, 80, a soon-to-retire financial planner and committee chair of the campus’s highly respected Dialogues series. While the pandemic put plans for her retirement on hold – “Most of my clients are like family; I just couldn’t abandon them,” says Pauline – it also added urgency to preserving the Dialogues program, an annual series of stimulating forums designed to inspire and inform the community.
Since its launch in 2010, the talks have become the highpoint of the month for many residents. “They spark conversation and encourage us to remain engaged,” Pauline says. “It makes for a mentally and physically healthier retirement and creates a real sense of community.”
And this year, in the face of widespread stress and social isolation, the need for such an outlet has felt greater than ever. In response, Pauline and her committee reimagined the program to reduce the risks of in-person attendance, supplementing a small, socially distanced audience with Zoom and closed-circuit TV technology.
But the program’s essence remains unchanged. This year’s series features an impressive lineup of diverse speakers, and explores topics ranging from medical marijuana to the future of leadership in racial equality, “People are in real need of stimulation and activity,” Pauline says, “and this year’s Dialogues should help meet that need.”
As for her 30-year career, Pauline intends to close that chapter by the end of the year, and move on to new pursuits. “I feel like I have been reinventing myself my whole life,” she says. “I never had a well-defined plan, I just went with the flow. But I have always been resilient, and I have learned that good things can come out of hard times.”
That includes the chance to explore a longstanding interest in abstract painting. “I’ve done a little painting in the past,” says Pauline. “When I retire, I’m looking forward to doing more.”