When you meet Randy Lyons, at first he can seem serious and contemplative. Inside that quiet exterior is a true performer.
For many years, Randy had a side business as a professional juggler, doing shows at local fairs, retirement homes and community centers throughout the area. While he was a field engineer and trainer during the day, his passion for engaging with people and bringing happiness with him wherever he goes is something that clearly remains a passion in retirement as well.
Putting on A Show- And Learning about Communities
Randy had a series of “Light and Lively” shows he performed at local retirement communities, including Kendal at Longwood and Crosslands. “As I gained more and more experience visiting retirement facilities, I began to understand that there were a considerable number of them where I really wouldn’t want to become a resident. Whether the facilities were modest or luxurious seemed not to contribute to the residents’ feelings about being there. Folks were bored, anxious, or just plain unhappy to be where they were. At one particular gig, a lady in the front row turned to the lady next to her and announced — in a loud voice — “This guy isn’t nearly as good as the one I saw at Cirque du Soliel.”
Performing at Kendal and Crosslands Was Different
“But I didn’t get any of that negative “vibe” at either of my Crosslands gigs. At the end of each performance, I would tell the audience, “It’s going to take me half an hour or so to get my juggling props ready to leave, so please stick around. Come up and ask me questions or handle the equipment or tell me stories about jugglers you’ve met.” People rarely came up, except at Crosslands. Folks stuck around, came up and tossed the equipment up in the air to see how it felt, told each other stories like “The last time Fred and I were in Paris, we saw a delightful young man standing on the corner — juggling batons and singing and dancing.” Folks stopped up to tell me how much they enjoyed my performance OR to make helpful suggestions as to how I could improve the act. I loved it.”
Choosing a Community
When Randy and his wife Debbie started to look at Communities, Kendal-Crosslands Communities was the first and only choice for them. They decided to finally make the move from their 100+ year old home in West Chester to Crosslands two years ago, during the pandemic. We asked Randy how he and Debbie decided it was the right time for them to move.
“It was becoming clear that our days of having perfect health were going to get fewer. Our home, as with many older homes, always needed some sort of repair, and it was time someone with more energy should have it and let it bring them joy.” Debbie and Randy had no kids of their own, and while their parents had aged slowly, loneliness was a factor for them as their social circle got smaller over time.
Crosslands would allow Randy and Debbie to continue to live independently, in a Quaker based community that they knew they loved. “I knew from my interactions with residents, and from friends from our Meeting that Crosslands was special. People maintain a sense of curiosity and engagement. For example, I found an “Owl Pellet” recently, and spent a great morning with Bob Suter, dissecting it- “ and then he showed pictures of what they had found.
Curiosity and Exploration
This sense of curiosity and exploration is part of what makes Kendal-Crosslands special. With over 100 committees on both campuses, Residents have opportunities to explore their interests and talents, or discover new ones! Whether it’s learning to weave fabrics on looms in our Weaving studio, take better photographs, painting, woodworking, writing, fly fishing or something else entirely, there are always people in the community who share your interests and are willing to give things a try.
Randy is also a part of a committee called Teaching and Learning, where residents are getting together to share skills and interests. “I think people worry about trying new things- they don’t want to look foolish. But at Crosslands, you are encouraged to try and explore new things, and the community is supportive so you never worry about being criticized for trying something outside your comfort zone. That’s more important than I think we realize.”
Tips for New Residents
Moving to Crosslands from a 100 year old home did have its challenges.”The Moving event Kendal-Crosslands holds was very helpful and instructive. It helped us figure out what we needed to give away and toss, and how to consolidate our books- that seems to be a challenge for many people. The moving consultant we hired was great and taught us that we can get rid of the stuff, but keep the memories.” Another great piece of advice he got was the 20- 20 rule- if it costs less than $20 and can be replaced in 20 minutes, don’t take it with you!
Surprises At Crosslands
“We chose Crosslands because I liked the spread out nature of the campus- and the biggest surprise was really the sky. When we lived in West Chester, the trees were so dense we almost never got to see the stars and sky- and here, we were able to see the alignment of planets in the sky, where we would have had to go to a golf course or something before to just enjoy the night sky.”
“The visit we had before we moved in, where we sat for breakfast with residents, no staff or sales and marketing people shepherding us around-we got to see what life was like here, and not feel like we were getting a curated, controlled experience- it was honest.” Randy remarked. “We were struck by how people live here freely, and don’t have time taken away by worrying about house repairs or other daily concerns.”
Debbie and Randy have found their perfect home and more importantly, a community of residents that are engaged and always learning. This exploration helps keep our residents young at heart and contributes to the atmosphere that helps make Kendal-Crossland Communities stand out in the crowd. If you’re interested in finding out more about our community, please click the link below to download our digital brochure, or you can read more about our residents by clicking here.
Want to Learn More About Kendal-Crosslands Communities?
You can learn more about our communities and what we have to offer by downloading our digital brochure- just click the button below! Inside you can find out more about our Kendal at Longwood and Crosslands campuses, our values, and everything that we have here- but the real reason Kendal-Crosslands is such a great community is because of residents like Randy who share their interests and talents and make the Community a great place to spend time.