The Max Manifesto

My friend, Max Dunn, turned 90 in May.

Max Dunn*

He served in World War II, then embarked on a long business career in Southern California. Upon retiring (that word should be in quotes), he went back to school and obtained a graduate degree in World Missions. He then traveled extensively to Third World Countries.

“We saw miracles in some very dark places,” he says of those trips.

After he and his wife, Carolyn, moved to Healdsburg in 1991, he became involved in the building of a new medical center, serving as CEO for 15 years.

In 2006, Max was approached by the local Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center to counsel “beneficiaries.”

So, for the past 6 years he has driven over to the ARC in nearby Lytton Springs several times a week, teaching anger management classes and counseling many of the men in one-on-one sessions.

And he prays with each of them.

The impact of his investment in the lives of the men has been enormous.

Max recently shared with me an essay he had written titled “Old Age – New Stage”.  At the end of it, he has a list that sounds like a manifesto for life. I share it here:

How should I respond to the days remaining for me in this present life?

  • I will continue to look for newness, avoiding the same routine, attempting new skills, visiting new places, hopefully expanding my horizons.
  • I will refrain from complaining and criticizing. There are many imperfections in life, but I will not dwell on the darker side. I will continue to observe and act positively.
  •  I will not dwell on what others do, and develop a sense of inadequacy. I will continue to make progress in my own way.
  •  I will not live in the past, dwelling on what I might have done differently. I will focus on what I can do now to improve my life.
  •  I will continue to keep my mind active and, within my bodily constraints, continue to be active physically.
  •  I will enjoy every day.

 Max also included a big dose of humor at the end of his essay.

Someone once said, “I’ve sure gotten old. I’ve had 2 bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I’m half blind, can’t hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia, have poor circulation. Can’t remember if I’m 89 or 98. But, thank God, I still have my drivers license!”                                                                                                                                            

My memory is not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory is not as sharp as it used to be.

And finally, Old age is important only when choosing wine or cheese.

Perhaps if we took this manifesto to heart – and let ourselves laugh a whole lot more – we might, just might, have a very short Regrets List in our own later years.

Sounds good, very good, to me.

What would your life manifesto include?

*Photo by Michael Lux


2 responses to this post.

  1. Beautiful Sister Deb. Thanks for sharing the testimony of Max’s life with us as well as the wisdom he shares. Lord help us to live our lives to the fullest following hard after you, with no regrets!


  2. He’s a great example of the power of living positive.


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