If you could have one wish granted, what would it be? For Helen Battle, 82, her wish was not just a dream come true, it was a challenge for herself. Helen has devoted decades of her life to helping others through local and international mission work. She is a caregiver as well as a breast cancer survivor who has often prioritized the needs of others over her own. With her wish, Helen wanted to put aside her stage fright and fully embrace her life-long love of music by singing a solo for the first time in her life.
And with the help of our friends and fellow charitable affiliate of AARP, Wish of a Lifetime, that is exactly what happened last December.
What was the process of having your wish granted through Wish of a Lifetime?
After I attended a Senior Planet event about Wish of a Lifetime, I applied and got to talk with the team. We talked about how I’ve always enjoyed music, but I’ve never sung solo. We kept kicking that idea around and the next thing I knew I was thinking of Tony Bennett’s song, “Because of You” and I thought, “Yeah I think I can do this!”
Preparing for the show jumpstarted my season of life again. I got a few voice lessons which kept me inspired and motivated. It was a challenge – which is something I seem to enjoy in life. And next thing you know, they found the most wonderful group of people performing at a little theater in Bethesda that could accommodate me.
How did it feel to perform a solo for the first time in your life?
I had met the ensemble I was performing with, and they made me feel comfortable, but I was still nervous because I’d never sung in front of a group of people before. I’d never even held a microphone before that day! But once you’re out there, you say, “Let it rip!” This is once in a lifetime, my wish of a lifetime, I’m just going to do the best I can.
How has having your wish granted affected you?
It really has renewed my love of music. Now I’m trying to start a little ensemble myself that will sing old, old hymns. So I’m still excited – I feel like I’ve just started.
I keep thinking, “Look at you lady! You’re 80 plus and God is not through with you yet.”
Any words of encouragement for people who might want to apply to have their Wish of a Lifetime granted?
My pastor would preach, “Do it scared!” Fear is what keeps us from enjoying things that are available to us. That’s my mission right now – to try and encourage older people who think that’s it’s over that there is so much more you can do.
What does Aging with Attitude mean to you?
It means making the impossible possible by eliminating doubt and fear.
Have an idea for an experience-based wish, either for yourself or for another older adult? Click here to learn how to apply to have your wish granted!