An Adultitis Fighter is someone who rallies against rules that don’t exist and engages in ruthless, senseless acts of silliness that undermine Adultitis and its unadventurous version of adulthood. Once a month, we shine a light upon the most remarkable among us, holding them up as a dazzling example of what we should strive for in this epic battle against a formidable enemy.
This month’s worthy recipient of this prestigious honor is Gary Halm!
As Gary passed away in January, this is the first time we’ve bestowed this award posthumously. In recognition of their efforts, we typically ask the recipient some questions about how they fight the Big A and what advice they have for others…in this case, his daughter Kim shared her thoughts.
From Kim: I am honored to stand in proxy for my Dad, Gary, to accept on his behalf the award of “Adultitis Fighter of the Month.” Although the answers here are written by me, I have been a firsthand witness to the answers I share. His example taught me how to fight Adultitis from a very young age and I’m forever grateful.
What are some of your favorite ways to fight Adultitis?
Gary loved to laugh and be silly. He always had a handful of Chuck Norris jokes on the tip of his tongue, ready to make you smile. He enjoyed watching his favorite comedy movies, including “It’s a Mad, Mad World,” “Christmas Vacation,” and “Home Alone.” These movies would provide him with laughter that would bring him to tears. Laughter was medicine for my Dad!
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your own fight against Adultitis?
His father, Rudy (known as Boompa), and his Uncle Art (known as Booger) were HUGE shenanigators who consistently brought playfulness into life. They would pass around photocopies of “jokes” (“forwards” before email was invented) and shared them with my Dad each time he would visit. They were true Adultitis Fighters themselves. He learned from the best!
What is something you loved doing as a child that you still do in some form today?
From a very young age, my Dad enjoyed airplanes. This became a lifelong passion. He had the opportunity to attend dozens of airshows, bringing his family and friends as an annual tradition. Living for a handful of decades by the nearby airport brought him a lot of happiness, watching aircraft overhead and parachuters when they came to town. The wonder and joy found in this hobby filled his cup to overflowing! His favorites were The Blue Angels and the Czar. His soul now flies the heavens with eternal thrill and delight, like the airplanes he loved to watch so much.
What is your strategy for dealing with people who are obviously infected with Adultitis?
My Dad was quite content living his own journey (one that came with the very heavy cross of persistent daily pain, being diagnosed in his 20s with rheumatoid arthritis, which he carried with grace for almost 53 years). He did not spend extra energy on the Adultitis of others. He was consumed in the challenges of his own journey, inspiring others who met him to be more joyful on their own challenging journey. His wake and funeral were filled with friends, family, and acquaintances who shared stories of how his example of faith, peace, and joy inspired them in their own daily challenges.
What advice do you have for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by Adultitis?
My Dad would lovingly advise this person to find little ways to bring fun and playfulness to their life – simple things, like bringing smiley face cookies to your grandkids each time you visit (which he did excitedly). He would assure them compassionately that life is HARD, a daily battle for joy and peace. He would invite them to NOT walk the journey alone, to look to God for help. My Dad’s faith provided the supernatural strength he needed each day. His daily walk with God was how he was able to live a difficult life with a sincere smile on his face and in his heart.
Anything else you’d like to share?
My Dad inspired MANY. He showed up for others. His loyalty to his faith, family, and friends was witnessed by every single person who knew him, and many who did not. His childlike faith is what brought him so much simple joy. In his final days in the hospital and hospice care, I witnessed him winking at his wife from across the room, he cracked the occasional joke that would make everyone smile, he made funny faces to his grandkids over FaceTime, and he enjoyed his favorite music and movies, that made him smile and laugh. What a legacy of joy; I want to be like him when I grow up.
Congrats to Gary, February 2023 Adultitis Fighter of the Month. Thank you for making the world more awesome!
You can read the eulogy Jason wrote and delivered at Gary’s funeral, and you may also enjoy this post with some lessons from Gary’s enthusiasm for airplanes.
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