Aging Well in the Gorge December 29th 2022

 As 2021 comes to a close, I am reminded this journey of ours is not about living longer. It is about taking care of ourselves and others so we can gracefully live the rest of our lives with courage, compassion, and meaning.

With that in mind, I would like to share again this year, the lessons I have learned from writing this column for fourteen years and most importantly from the many older adults I have had the pleasure of meeting. You may remember these lessons from last year - or you may be like me and can’t remember what was written last week! And I have no excuse!

See if any of these speak to you and send me any lessons you have learned that you would like to share.

1. What is good for your heart is good for your brain.
2. Learn a new skill without worrying about how good you'll be.
3. First steps to improve your memory: pay attention and focus.
4. Most things don’t matter, but a few really do.
5. The goal is not to get faster but to keep from slowing down.
6. Getting older beats the alternative, but it is hard work.
7. Accept what you can't control - and then adapt.
8. Live in the “now”.
9. Know what you want and let others know – particularly your adult children!
10. “Dream as if you will live forever and live as if you will die tomorrow.” James Dean
11. Age is in your attitude.
12. Adeline’s five “S” to avoid: Sugar, Salt, Seconds, Soda, and Shortening.
13. Add color to your meals – meaning eat your vegetables!
14. Isolation kills. Stay connected.
15. Keep moving - at least 30 minutes a day.
16. Breathe from your belly.
17. See the world with virgin eyes and you'll find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
18. Relationships are more important than things (although I still have an unhealthy relationship with my iPhone).
19. Grey hair is cool.
20. Life is too short not to be involved in something silly.

To finish, I thought I would include a few quotes appropriate for the end of the year that might bring a smile or two.

“You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time I’m only going to dread one day at a time.” —Charlie Brown

“If you want an interesting party, combine cocktails and a fresh box of crayons for everyone.” —Robert Fulghum

“I was going to quit all my bad habits for the new year, but then I remembered that nobody likes a quitter.” —Unknown

“Last year’s resolution was to lose 20 pounds by Christmas. Only 30 pounds to go.“ —Anonymous

“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” —Bill Vaughan

The popular snack (without the butter and salt) that was strung together with a needle and string (dental floss also works well) to decorate a Christmas tree is popcorn. I’ve received correct answers from, well, I don’t know. You see as you are reading this, I’m hopefully in the warm sunny climate of San Diego visiting my daughter and checking my weather app to see if it is snowing again in the Gorge. We won’t be returning to the Gorge until New Year’s Day, so I’ll list those who sent correct answers for this and next week’s “Remember When” questions on the 12th. And yes, I’ll be continuing to write this column for a while longer - hoping the well doesn’t run dry.

The song “Thanks for the Memory” was introduced in the 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938 and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what comedian/actor adopted it as his theme song for his career? E-mail your answers to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a copy of the Road to Bali in which he starred with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.

Well, it’s been another week, looking forward to seeing what surprises come my way. Until we meet again, an Irish toast to the new year, “May you never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten”.

“It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it’s the journey that matters, in the end.” Ursula LeGuin.

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