Last spring Zen sat down with us to share a little about his life well lived. It was a beautiful spring day and we had a wonderful chat on the front porch of his apartment. We agreed that after being cooped up protecting ourselves and everyone else from Covid19, we were so thankful for the gorgeous day and happy to be outside and to be sharing this time to get to know Zen more!
Zen is originally from Colorado. He has also lived in Utah and Oregon and moved here with his parents in 2015. Zen was in Utah during the Winter Olympics in 2002 and enjoyed watching them very much. His favorite event was the downhill/ slalom ski event. “It was exciting!” He also enjoyed the closing ceremony. Zen and his family drove from Oregon to Florida. He enjoyed the trip, taking breaks often and seeing the badlands. He also saw Bison and mountain goats in the Dakotas along the way.
Zen loves animals. He loved seeing the wild animals out west and enjoys visiting zoos and animal adventure parks. He is so glad he had a chance to pet April, the giraffe before she died. He has also been whale watching in Cape Cod where he saw a grey humpback whale and in 2013 he went whale watching in California and saw three grey whales.
There are many things that come to mind when I ask Zen about his accomplishments and what he is most proud of. The thing that Zen is most proud of is meeting the goals that made it possible for him to live in his own apartment. Zen wanted to live independently and reaching that goal has been great! He moved into his own apartment in 2017. Having his own space and this level of independence is a “great feeling”!
Getting a paid job at The Office of the Aging is right at the top of his list also. He started out as a volunteer and liked it so much that he decided to work on the goals it would take to be a paid employee. Now he loves his job, helping to deliver meals and shopping for older adults. Zen is also very proud of assisting the Arc’s Annual Award Ceremony and Member Meeting. Zen delivers the pledge of allegiance at the opening of the meeting and at the last event, he helped to hand out one of the community awards given.
Back in the spring when we spoke to Zen, he was enjoying zoom classes that replaced day program activities. He was taking exercise on zoom and liked seeing his friends on zoom also. They got to sing Happy Birthday to his friend, BJ on his special day. Programs were just beginning to open back up with limited capacity when we visited, he was starting to spend time in Studio 190. At that time, they were stretching canvases and Zen has completed at least one piece of art since our visit!
What’s next for Zen? This summer he is looking forward to seeing his aunt, his dad’s sister. He is looking forward to the Bryan family reunion in Portsmouth this fall. He is also enjoying the new crossover on NBC from Law and Order: SVU to Law and Order: Organized Crime. He is working toward keeping his apartment clean each week and has been doing well. When asked what he would like people to know about him, Zen replies, “That I am kind and helpful with yard work and I like to do yard work.”
Zen has a great support network including his family. We hope you enjoyed meeting Zen and if you get an opportunity be sure to take some time to get to know him personally. His mom and dad were highlighted back in March as supporters in the spotlight on our website and you can read that article here.