Aging Well in the Gorge April 28th, 2021

Along my journey of growing older, I desperately tried to avoid my preconceived ideas of what old looked like: wearing hearing aids - which now I wouldn’t live without; or using a pill box - until there were too many days when I couldn’t recall if I took my morning pills or not!

Since I’ve passed those two milestones, I’ve started thinking that instead of denying my age I should celebrate my “oldness” and the accompanying joys. (I’ll leave the challenges for another day.)

But what is old? We’ve all heard it is ten years older than you are now, (which I am continuing to find surprising accurate) but is there a better way to know? So, for those of you who are curious, I found this list of “scientifically validated” indicators of old age. See how you compare with my answers.

1.      You fall asleep watching TV or reading the paper. No, but at 3:00 I do start nodding off.

2.      You become forgetful. Yes, but it’s no different than the twentysomething who can’t remember what I just ordered on my Subway sandwich!

3.      You groan when getting up from a chair or out of bed. No, but for some reason my wife thinks I do. 

4.     You say ‘back in my day’. No, I say “back in the good old days”.

5.     You have an afternoon nap. Yes, but they are now “power naps”.

6.     You don't know the names of current celebrities. I do - if they are over 65.

7.     You have a low tolerance for teenagers. No. I find teenagers great. It brings back fond memories of my youth without having to relive those days.

8.     You only listen to music from your youth. No. I listen to contemporary music that sounds like music from my youth.

Over halfway through and looking good.

9.      You choose places to eat because they play quiet music. Yes, because I want to hear who I am talking with  - which is not easy wearing hearing aids.

10.     Choosing to meet friends for lunch or dinner rather than a night out for drinks. Yes. I need to be in bed by 9:00.

11.     You spend weekends or holidays in garden centers. No. I try to stay out of the garden - that’s my wife’s domain – thankfully.

12.     Gardening is a hobby. No. See above

13.     You forget where your glasses are. Yes, but I always find them - on my head!

14.     You choose clothes for comfort rather than style. Yes, because who am I trying to impress?

15.     You get a haircut to ‘suit your age’. No, because I’m still figuring out what my age is.

So how did you do? Did you do better than my 9 out of 15 “no” answers? If so let’s go out and celebrate – but please, not too long!

The members of the 1985 country music supergroup The Highwaymen were Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Barbara Cadwell, Susan Ellis, John McEwen, Jess Birge, Gene Uczen, Lana Tepfer, Tina Castanares, Keith Clymer, Margo Dameier, Mike Yarnell, Rose Schulz, Jim and Jennifer Stager, Doug Nelson and Joy Nicholson this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Beverly Thomas and Doug Nelson.

Remember when doctors and even Santa Claus were used to selling cigarettes on television? That ended at 11:50 pm on January 1st, 1971, when the last cigarette advertisement ran on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the brand of cigarette in that television ad that tried to cash in on the women's liberation movement with the tag line "You've come a long way, baby." E-mail your answers to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a short history of the Women’s Tennis Association. 

Well, it has been another week trying to decide which way is up. Until we meet again, as they said in the old west, “Poor is having to sell the horse to buy the saddle.”

“There are six myths about old age: 1. That it’s a disease, a disaster. 2. That we are mindless. 3. That we are sexless. 4. That we are useless. 5. That we are powerless. 6. That we are all alike.” – Maggie Kuhn

Aging Well in the Gorge April 21st, 2021

The sun is outthe days are warmer, and suddenly I have this urge to start cleaning and getting rid of “stuff”. even start thinking it might be time to downsize; find a smaller place to live. Or even fit all my possessions into a Sprinter van (an upgrade from the Volkswagen van of half a century ago) and travel to nedestinations full of excitement and possibilities! But when my head clears, I realize downsizing is more a struggle than an adventure. 

I have read about where to begin: old technology (the three old laptops stored under my desk), stuff you’ll never use or wear (if it hasn’t been used in two years, it’s gone!), old hobbies (Does anyone want a box of miscellaneous postage stamps?). And how to get rid of the stuff: yard sales, non-profit thrift stores, unsuspecting friends? 

 

But after raising two children in the same house with thirty-five years of accumulated stuff, shrink-wrapped in memories, my biggest challenge is the emotional difficulty of downsizing.  

 

What anyone else would consider junk ignores my emotional attachments: the broken folding chair my dad gave me before I left for college; the first board game I played with my children; picture notes I drew for my daughter to go with her school lunches.  

 

When I look at those unusable objects, I experience feelings I have not felt in years. And I admitIm afraid if I toss those memory triggers, I will also be tossing those comforting memories - out of sight and out of mind - forever. And forever is a long, long time.  

 

There are other reasons why downsizing is difficult for older adults according to David Ekerdt, professor at the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas. You may feel what you give away will not be appreciated as much by someone else. Or downsizing may force you to face reality: maybe you aren’t going to read all those books you have kept; and you aren’t going to learn to play that electric guitar stored in the basement and tour the world with Mick Jagger. When you must make decisions about what is important to you, you are really defining who you are.  

 

But after downsizing, most folks are glad they did. You are no longer a prisoner of your past and by deciding what you want to keep as Professor Ekerdt states “you are choosing what you are going to be and this can be very gratifying”. And you may even find less stuff can mean more happiness. 

 

Powerful Tools for Caregivers Is a six-week educational program designed to help unpaid family caregivers take care of themselves while caring for a spouse, family member, or friend. The class meets virtually by ZOOM from 10 am – 12:00 pm on Fridays beginning May 21st. Class size is limited. The cost is $30 and scholarships are available. To register, contact Britta Willson at 541-387-6404 or brittany.willson@providence.org. 

 

The name of the kissing game popular among teens was spin the bottleI received correct answers from Betsy Ayers, Louise Wooderson, Mary Pearce, Virginia Johnson, Barbara Cadwell, Lana Tepfer, Carl and Leslie TrabantLinda FrizzellDave Lutgens, Margo Dameier, Gene Uczen, Kim Birge, Patty BurnetMike Yarnell, and Krista Thie this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket. And somehow last week I missed Lana Tepfer. 

 

In the 60s there were many supergroups such as Crosby, Stills and Nash and the short-lived Blind FaithBut it was not until 1985 when country music had its first supergroup The HighwaymenFor this week’s “Remember When” question whwere the four artists (or at least two), known for their influence on outlaw country music, in this supergroupEmail your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or send with the DVD of Stagecoach, the 1986 made-for-television remake of the 1939 film starring John Wayne. 

 

Well, it has been another week, trying to see the future in my rearview mirror. Until we meet again, wisdom often comes from keeping your mouth closed and your eyes and ears open. 

 

“Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.” Richard Bach 

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