Aging Well in the Gorge July 1st 2020


“What gives my life meaning and purpose?” or more simply “Why am I here?” are questions we ask ourselves as we age.
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We learned from The Dalles Blue Zones project that people who know their life purpose live longer, better lives. But finding your purpose is easier when you have your whole life in front of you. But what if you figure you have maybe fifteen, ten or five more years left. How do we find meaning and purpose, so when the going gets tough we keep going?

“Finding Meaning and Purpose in Old Age” by Ana Cocarla addresses how we as older adults can find and maintain our sense of meaning and purpose, because as she points out older adults are happier, but there are two things that tend to decrease as we age. You guessed it, a sense of meaning and purpose.

Meaning and purpose are not the same. Meaning is related to the significance of our lives; and our purpose reflects our goals and having something to live for. For example, loving your children gives meaning to your life, while your purpose might be raising them to reach their full potential.

There are several reasons why the sense of meaning and purpose can often be lost or more difficult to attain: the “empty nest” syndrome – now that the children have left home, the meaning and purpose they provided is difficult to replace; we have accomplished our life goals and feel it’s too late to set new ones; we may not have the energy we once had; or we have a illness or disability so we no longer can do those things we loved.

But you can still find meaning and purpose. It may just happen: having to care for a loved one. But more often you have to create opportunities in order to feel purposeful.

To find meaning and purpose, attitude makes a tremendous difference: focusing on the positive aspects of life; learning to accept others as they are; and finding ways to grow, learn and adapt. You can also try the following. Practice being present in the moment. Create new routines that are more fulfilling. Try things you’ve always wanted to do. Find ways to support your grandkids - because you know their parents need all the help they can get! Look for or create opportunities to contribute. Adopt a pet or take care of your garden. Travel if your situation allows. And study and practice your faith which can be a key source of meaning and purpose in your life.

In the years we have left, we all have something to offer. And in our own way, each of us can find the answer to the question, “Why am I here?”.


The name of the music historian who hosted his own radio program that played novelty songs by Spike Jones, Stan Freberg and of course Weird Al Yankovic was Dr. Demento. I received correct answers from Barbara Cadwell; Kenny Olsson who corresponded with him for a short time and found him to be one of the nicest people in show business; and Jonathan Carr who when as a freshman at Reed College in 1962, attended a keg party (remember those?) where Barry Hansen (Dr. Demento) curated the playlist with his stacks of 45’s including "The Bird (is the Word)". Because it was a difficult question, all three win a quilt raffle ticket.

This television sitcom ran from 1972 through 1977 and was NBC’s answer to All in the Family and starred comedian Red Foxx known for his raunchy nightclub acts during the 1950s and 1960s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this sitcom? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the album Funky Tales from a Dirty Old Junkman.

Before I go, here are the answers to last week’s brainteasers. I hope you enjoyed the challenge. 1) Both weigh a pound; 2) A dozen; 3) Only one; 4) All twelve months have 28 days; 5) Nine - each brother has the same sister; 6) 59 days; 7) ONE WORD; 8) Four - broke, fried, and ate the same two eggs.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep my head from blowing off. Until we meet again, I’ve recently learned one of the benefits of getting older is your children start buying you gifts!

 “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” (Christopher Robin to Pooh – A.A.Milne)

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