Just like the other residents at the assisted living facility Harbor Place, I played bingo, hung out in the courtyards contemplating “the golden years”, and even helped fellow neighbors change their oxygen tanks. However, unlike Tammy (age 95) or even Bill (age 80), I am only nineteen years old.
My name is Andrew Jenks and this past summer I moved into a senior residence in Florida. I moved into room 335. For one summer I did all of the things that old people do. I wanted to find the answer to the question: how do they feel now that they face the end of their lives?
I laughed at their jokes about sex, played baseball with canes instead of bats, and raced through the hallways in my friend’s wheelchair. By the fourth week, three of my closest friends were hospitalized and my best chum, Bill, stopped talking to me. I coaxed my neighbor through a heart attack, saw the heartbreak of dementia, and witnessed the death of a friend.
By the end of the summer, I had formed unimaginable bonds with some of the greatest, and oldest, people that life has to offer. I came to realize that it is in such friendships and the spirit in which you live that meaning is to be found. My two good college buddies followed this journey and recorded over 200 hours of footage, creating “Andrew Jenks, Room 335”.