I know my body has been undergoing changes from the day I was born, but most of those changes brought positive results, unlike now when each change has me rolling further down the other side of the hill.
Instead I have learned that I can be the grandmother I want to be; honoring my own personality and lifestyle and not following some artificial role that the generation before me created.
We worry about how to bring down our electric bill and gas bill and grocery bill and insurance bill and telephone bill. Then we scold ourselves for worrying. We remind ourselves that worrying is not good for your health. Then we worry about all our worrying.
That’s Mother Pauline. If you even hint to her that it’s okay if being in her 80s slows her down a little, she’ll defiantly stop what she’s doing, stoop over and plant her palms flat on the floor without bending her knees (you try it). End of that discussion.
You may consider the collapsible umbrella a fairly modern invention but records show them in China in 21 A.D. Indeed, we were used on four wheel carriages with bendable joints that allowed us to be extended or retracted.
What was so important that Betty couldn’t arrange to spend time with her elderly father on his special day? Did she realize how fortunate she was to have him this long and how she wasn’t apt to have him much longer?
Seniors have to accept who they are and leave it like that and be happy with it, or make some changes for the better. As the summer sun gets warmer, so should you.
Gene Autry cautioned against taking unfair advantage of others and wanted youth to be good workers and help those in need or in trouble. Hopalong Cassidy stressed kindness to animals and being truthful. The Lone Ranger often said that to have a friend, one must be a friend. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans advised youth to obey parents and to help and protect the weak.
Now the only time he hints at even wearing a grin is when he's maybe having a gas pain, and as for winking, he says, "That's just an introduction, a prelude for something more, and who in the hell has the strength nowadays?"
I breathed an enormous, quivering, sigh of relief, closed my eyes and thanked God for watching over me. He must have known my plans for the evening included snuggling under my covers with a hot cup of herbal tea, watching my Thursday night television lineup, and sticking a finger or two into the hole of my pencil sharpener.
Whatever the reason, you have decided to make the big plans and move on. “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page,” Saint Augustine. So you have decided to turn the page.
My editor asked me if I would write a page two story on the 25th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. My being born and raised in the south, she thought I was the one to write the story.
Because the gift of presence, like prayer, is intangible, not seen, it is sometimes overlooked as having value in our hurried-up competitive society.
Luckily Dick keeps his offer of marriage open. He jokes that he won't marry me unless I bring my cat. "She's the dowry," he says. His sense of humor entices me, and we continue to see each other. "I know you're in love with me, I can see it in your eyes," he says.
Do I feel older since pinafores, cod-liver oil liquid, perfume for a dollar, sugar cube corsages, and Bambi Lynn are considered history? I'm calendar aged, skinny, have face wrinkles, wear fitted, feminine, pastel dresses, belts around my small waist, and transparent nylon stockings. I love life, love today, its specialness.
Like me in 1978, Doris worried about school and clothes in diary entries in 1925: "Oh, but I hate school!! I stayed out just one day and now I have so much to make up. Damn it. If I only had some decent clothes to wear. All would be well."
One day, to my great surprise, Jimmy had a large litter of puppies. Struggling with this confusing development, I listened to a sex lesson from my father. That’s when I learned that not all dogs are boy dogs.
Bob is such an inspiration he makes you want to embrace old age, not fear it in any way. According to him, anybody under the age of 80 is nothin' but a snot-nosed, green-behind-the-ears "youngster," but in some ways those who eat and drink too much and who are afraid to laugh, act older than he is.
We are a very interesting group of people in this neighborhood with some very definite opinions on anything and everything – and I've been listening in.
I know human nature. After all, I've been a full-fledged member now for 84 years, but still, I, along with you I would guess, cast my vote for patience, love and peace as against hate and war. For more of the Valentine spirit to rise up at other times in the year, and by so doing, trade in grim for grin.
Every day the media reminds me that I am out of sync with the rest of the world. The government is presently designing a dollar bill on which running shoes replace George Washington's face. Sweat was officially added to the list of American symbolisms, along with apple pie, the flag and mom.
So I waited and waited and ended up wanting to kill the elevator man instead of the time I couldn't kill, but ended up shocking him (and myself) by throwing my arms around him and hugging him hard after he got the stuck elevator car moving again and gallantly retrieved my keys from the parallel universe below.
There is an old riddle: What’s black and white and goes round and around? The answer: A penguin in a revolving door. Or, in the case of retirement, it is your free time going around in a revolving door going nowhere if you don’t use it.
I am a slave to many things electronic: Spell check, answering machines, Kindle, and I'm becoming more dependent on them each day. In the past, I learned to spell; I made eye-contact when being introduced to someone, and I easily remembered whom I had met.
The "senior friendly" device that came to our rescue is called Presto (www.presto.com). It's a simple but innovative system that allowed Dad to receive e-mail messages and photos from us via a Presto/HP printer — without a computer or internet connection.
Pieces of that Times article make me wonder if some daughters’ parents have so little in their own lives that having a grandchild, at any expense, fills only the parents’ void; if the parents had worked at renewing the love and interest in one another first felt at their own wedding, might the definition “grandparent” not be so powerful?
Then my friends' kids started having babies. I'm not one who has to keep up with the latest fashion, hairstyle, or destination vacation, but the grandbaby thing hit me like desert thirst needing to be slacked. Since I didn't want to whine to my kids, I practiced grandmother skills by inviting my precocious and adorable next-door neighbors for visits.
Sometimes I say I'm a teacher when really, I'm a sub, one step above a janitor, but what's wrong with that? Those eagle-eyed cleaners can spot obscure places to scrub that I would never ever notice. To me they're geniuses.
Because mirrors don’t lie, I spend even less time in front of my bathroom mirror than I did in my 30s. The best part of my face is my smile. I’ve found that a smile lifts jowls, wrinkles, scars, as well as one’s spirit.
Just remember, dreams are dreams, visionary creations of the imagination, and they can change or be dropped in a whim. “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them,” said the inexhaustible dreamer, Walt Disney.
She relates that Charlie Follen's small son, waited along with other family members and guests, just outside the closed parlor door, while the tapers were lighted making "the room seemed in a blaze." It was the first time anyone on this side of the Atlantic had seen such a glorious sight.
As we progress through life, we teach what we learn and learn what we teach. This provides a formidable task for others to offer help if they have never walked in our shoes, no matter how much training or how many degrees hang on their walls.
By the time we were empty nesters, our justification for living with each other’s imperfections was that we were hopelessly co-dependent. He couldn’t do laundry or cook, and I couldn’t (and still can’t) put gas in my car — or, according to Hubby Dearest, turn out a light.
However it is celebrated, there is always emphasized the underlying message of love and good will. Gifts given. Families together. And whether falling snow in the north or soft tropical breezes in my Miami south, it is a favorite season for one and all.
The notion behind honoring an “Unknown Soldier” was that any parent who had lost a son in war, any wife whose husband never returned from battle, and whose body was never identified, could stand at the tomb and feel that maybe his remains are in there. And perhaps they will gain a measure of comfort from that thought.
I continued running for a good part of the last 40 years or so but my work schedule began to take up more and more of my time. Now in my early 60s and retired, I decided it was time to get back into shape and jogging seemed to be the best, although not the easiest, way to start.
I reason that it’s a privilege and a blessing to have a second chance at that certain something that was planted when we dreamed dreams that one day might be.
It was the evening before Thanksgiving and Susan's six siblings with their families would be arriving the next day for the feast. Our beloved dishwasher, which had survived many arduous washing events, had suddenly died.
Nevertheless, this life is good no matter what you do. As D. H. Lawrence said, “Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.” And how each of us spends that time is a personal decision — either doing things, or not doing things.
The VHP is the nation's largest veterans' project, charged by Congress in 2000 with chronicling veterans from World War I to today. A "collection" is created for each participating individual (living or deceased) and may include interviews, letters, diaries, photos, drawings, scrapbooks and similar items.
First love, birth, automobile, apartment, anniversary, home phone number leave impressions in memory. No longer important or even useful, they seem etched where time can’t scar them.
Current theory about hair loss seems to focus on hormones. A kind of hormone of which testosterone is included, may well be the villain. Testosterone declines as men age. Another possible cause for balding is connected with heart disease. Another possibility is an enlarged prostate, which usually occur in men as we get old.
I met a man once who told me that during his entire childhood he never once had one birthday party or received a present, never celebrated a single Christmas. "My father was a big-time gambler, a high roller so all the money went on chips instead of on 'senseless treats,' he called them.”
"Why shouldn't they offer a discount to senior citizens?" someone asked. "Guess not too many older folks would be foolish enough to hike down that gorge, slip into a raft and battle the white caps, unless of course, they figured they were on their way out anyways."
When my own thanksgiving thoughts come alive at this time of the year I call up what I have for a long while entitled "Thanksgiving Day, A Dress Rehearsal for a Year-Long Play." Or at least I believe this is what it ought to be; not just one day to remember all we have to be thankful for, but an attempt to put into practice all year long what we so easily say on this special day.
One woman, Deborah Sampson, did serve in the Continental Army, and not for just a single battle. For two years, she impersonated a man so she could be a soldier. She is recognized as the first woman to serve in America’s armed forces.
Ready. Eager. Knowledgeable. Except she didn't bother to ask what sort of hike we were looking for. She noticed my grey hair (hard to miss), our obvious ages and immediately pointed out a sweet and gentle walk that would, in her words, "be perfect for you, dear."
I duly applaud the smart ladies that go natural with their shining, silver manes signaling their glorious, wordless statement of self-esteem.
Advanced age means I know myself better, the good and the bad. I'm done with trying to fit into a mold that pleases parents or friends or spouse. Take me or leave me. "People," my actions say, "I'll never have picture-perfect linen closets or organized tupperware. Deal with it."
Lee Trevino, once complained about problems he was having with his game by stating, “I’m not saying my golf game went bad, but if I grew tomatoes they would have come up sliced.” Another Trevino crack: “You don’t know what pressure is until you’ve played for five dollars a hole with only two dollars in your pocket.”
It’s surprising that she can hit all the crevices in such short a time because those lines take years and years in the making, right, girls? On men they’re considered attractive, on women they’re symbols of strife and stress because of living with a man. I warned you men not to read this.
The dénouement for my dad¹s "Halloween Experiment" is not encouraging for the future of the human family. On the other hand, "entrapment" might be the verdict of any fair-minded judge for what happened.
Physicians. Some don't like me, because you (the patient) bring my columns in and question the medical folks. Most MDs don't research daily, finding it's easier to tell patients I'm wrong. Who pays the price for that?
In our heroic battle to remain authentically realistic about this exit journey we seniors are negotiating, I’ve decided that I have two choices in the way I live out my advancing years. I can either gripe my way to heaven or grin and bear the challenges gracefully.
Our nation wailed. The people blown to bits were our fellow Americans. Those were our buildings crumbling in our streets. Our firemen and policemen were losing their lives trying to help others. Our planes were grounded, our country in disarray. Yet, we continued.
When I turned 50, a less than favorable cloud began to form. It kept saying, "why begin anything new? Just settle in with what is at hand.” Enjoying each moment was favorable but the lack of desire to plan and pursue future goals was frustrating.
Size four and one-half rings that slid smoothly on straight digits have increased to a thumb’s circumference. I used to pay to have my limp blonde hair gnarled by permanent wave solutions, yet automatically acquired gnarled fingers. Why didn’t my fingers and hair just switch DNAs?
Some elderly women up into the1950s and 1960s finally applied to become naturalized citizens – even if they were born and lived their entire lives in the United States.
If you think Sister Mary “Miserable” can barely contain her excitement over seeing the dashing young charismatic senator with the perpetual tan, sun-kissed hair and gleaming smile, you should see how we giddy, highly impressionable teenage girls are practically drooling all over our school uniforms.
Ah, the smells and sights of this special season. The vigor that exploded around me was like a living thing. And my little-boy legs would run and jump, sending a cascade of color in all the directions that leaves can find to go.
I froze in my tracks. Was there a cutoff date for caring how I look? I'm 74. Margaret was 84, which meant, if I was lucky, I still had at least ten years of caring ahead of me. I made a note to go to Google and find out how much time I had before I no longer gave a damn.
Wearing layers of clothing we played board games in the light of five small flashlights dangling from our diningroom chandelier. Candles in our shower stall, served as a night light.
Putting pen to paper about your intangible assets is a way to preserve who you are, and what matters most to you. It is a way to be remembered, understood, and to make a real difference to the younger generation.
And that’s the big problem with spending our time wishing for things we think we want in life. We are not specific enough and all too often find ourselves living a scenario that is not quite what we had imagined.
Like all kids, I thought her insanely weird at the time and, whenever possible, I wrangled a dinner invitation at a friend's house just to enjoy a normal meal: fried hamburger patties, fried onions, fried potatoes, and Jell-O salad drenched in whipped cream.
Unfortunately, because of the hiccups of the aging process, cataracts and refusal to wear hearing aids, plus problems of mood changes, dining out with my peers can pose a challenge of patience. Alas, the dreaded word boredom comes to mind. Sometimes staying at home and watching even a mediocre movie ranks higher than couples' night out.
During my first month as a caddy, I committed the egregious error of publicly trying to give Nick money. He looked at me as if he was St. Francis of Assisi and I had asked him to step on some birds. He saw me later and told me never to do that again, and then he took my 15 cents. St. Francis accepted donations.
Then it all changed: 9/11/01. Starting that day, we were thrown by catastrophe into another world. That world quickly became one of caring, compassion and helping hands. We thought about US as in USA.
She used perfect tiny stitches and I picture her concentrating on the needle and thread and fabric scraps instead of her grief and her overwhelming responsibility for the children.
My brother and I were feeding fish sticks to the cat when Her Majesty swooped down the stairs in a pretty good imitation of Loretta Young. There was no resemblance to the woman who had driven us to school that morning.
Togetherness can be bliss. But, to excess, it can drive you nuts. That’s what many seniors have concluded.
You would think all that exposure to “scrubbing according to the gospel of Mama and Pauline” would have found its way into my cleaning habits. Wrong. Which way does a dust cloth go again?
Hasn't he noticed how I don't as yet look into the mirror and scream, although my once vibrant eyes, now sagging neck, laugh, frown and puppet lines wouldn't have Glamour magazine clamoring for me to be on its cover. Of course I could always have one of those “touch-up” jobs, but who wants to be on the cover of Popular Mechanics?
"Over the years, people tend to remember their Social Security number and their shoe size, but they're remembering their shoe size from when they were 25 years old."
Regarding age, the one thing we know is that our bodies will decline and no matter how many nips and tucks we may be able to afford, the body will let us know when it's our time to cross the finish line. Once we totally accept our imminent death, we crafty seniors can concentrate on what really matters, and that's today.
The coffee menu is fine, and the selection of pastries is tasty-looking behind the glass showcases in these modern coffee shops. But when you have a coffee cup in one hand and a plate with a muffin in the other, you have to sit on a bench designed by a Spanish Inquisition team of stylists.
With the unemployment rate so high, no one is going to tell their boss to "Take this job and shove it." I was getting set to utter those very words until my retirement nest egg went down the toilet with the stock market and my Social Security benefits became a political pinata.
“I just remembered Janice said the woman in question is a few peas short of a casserole. That’s pretty funny.”
Just as those living situations fit you and your lifestyle in the past, your current housing situation should be a good fit for where you are now in your life. Different spaces really do fit different phases.
Women could hang pictures of pig skins all around the house, then replace them gradually with images of themselves in a bikini when they were only 25 years old, then introduce the more recent cellulite images, so that the testosterone reacts the same way to the cellulite images, as it does to footballs and bikinis. Then, as soon as the Eagles game starts, she can have her way with him before the first touchdown.
It was also the month that Christopher Columbus’s wanderlust led him to set sail for America. Nor should it be forgotten that this was the month in 1908 when the first mass-produced car went on sale. America would never be the same again.
We don’t want to board the dog somewhere while we go happily off just to get warm for a month. Going away even for a month or two still means coming back to a cold spring. It never gets warm here until June at the earliest.
As we get older, our time is our own and we tend to slip into routines to avoid boredom. Sometimes they are just monotonous activities without thought of whether they bring pleasure. The question to ask is whether we are enjoying these routines.
My chin will surely quiver as I sift through them. I picture my hand bringing the folder to the trash. But wait. Surely I have a bit of room for it. I'm not dead yet. Into the "keeping" box it will go.
“Behold my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love,” said that early philosopher and Native American chief, Sitting Bull.
They comment that she is in very good shape but notice all the "white" on her paws and muzzle. I tell people "it's not white but blond like the color of my mustache and the limited hair around the sides and back of my head."
To call us beginners in anything sounds absurd; yet, here we are – all signed up and raring to go. It's "Beginning" yoga. Eight past-middle-aged women and a couple of balding husbands, who came merely to satisfy their wives, smile bravely as we size each other up.
People who follow their passion don't stop what they love doing because of age. They fully understood that life doesn't end until it ends, and they continue making the most of every day they're given.
She represented a magnificent gown that would only be worn once, a magic day where I would be totally center stage and everyone around me would ooh and ah -- and, as childhood stories go, I’d then live happily forever after.
I noticed a new trend evolving at the workshop -- many seniors had registered to start new careers in writing. I met retired business owners, government workers, IT professionals, law enforcement officials, and school teachers.
Prejudice for profit’s sake or to feed false pride or just because it comes too easy to put down another human being -- this monster with muddled thinking huddles always over the horizon waiting to spring back to life with all its blind hatred and life-draining deeds.
As June becomes a reality, prepare for shooting stars, that ole June moon and other special touches of celestial magic. That requires, of course, that you leave your TV set and go out for an evening's walk.
I had forgotten what an exhilarating moment this is to accomplish something that started out feeling close to impossible. And I thought to myself -- why should only the young get to experience this when it's so, so good for the soul at any age? Why indeed?
If I am only living in dreams of an ideal future, I am probably overlooking the pleasures and joys I am receiving now. Whether I am looking into just the future of tomorrow or next week, it is wise for me to stop and give today a grateful look.
I told him that my head is going to bust from too many choices to make and too much information flowing at me. He tried to reassure me with more geekspeak, "Don't worry; you'll have filters, blockers, and tailored feeds to restrict your web content." That must mean I'm going to be shielded from almost everything I'm paying for.
Seniors, who have traditionally depended on a loyal mate for their care and company, have become nearly a thing of the past. They will increasingly fend for themselves rather than live in an unhappy relationship.
And I realized what a perfect metaphor for life this was. When we are caught in a rough patch we have three choices: we can drop the paddles and give up, we can try to paddle backwards to the past or we can keep going forward with strength and determination.
Call me an idealistic, people-pleasing Pollyanna, but I love my fellow earthlings and cherish spending social time with family and community, kibitzing, eating, cooking, learning about life, hugging, sharing, bragging, holding court, re-telling bad jokes, networking, and being genuinely involved in the needs, concerns and contributions to our mutual village.
The red of a rose, the yellow of a daffodil, a purple pansy. I love to see this artistry of God mingle color and shape, a reworking of the landscape from last year.
I never wanted to grow a mustache. In fact, I used to look with a bit of suspicion on those who did wear mustaches. Now, in my old age I not only have a mustache but also a small beard. I concluded a few years ago that it was appropriate for old codgers to have beards.
Does that mean that, as a woman in her 60s, there is no earthly way in which I can be "glam"? What a shame, for at this age I am now more comfortable in my skin, am more joyful and appreciative of every day of my life.
“Your great aunt Matilda has died,” your mother says. You never met her; it doesn’t seem to matter. How sad to be old, you might have thought, and have to die.
Depending on your age and inclination, you strap on some skies, or shape a snowman, or admire the beauty, or complain because you have to slip and slide or maybe get stuck in a snowdrift.
I want to find the different kind of joys that a soft snow falling brings as against what happens when it melts and green becomes the prevailing color. I want to enjoy the in-between modifications of March.
I’m a human magpie grabbing every shiny new thing that catches my attention. The focus of my obsession changes through the years, but retains one common trait: It’s always very useful junk.
Actually, he scared the hell out of me, because not even my own husband makes that request of me. But he started flexing the muscles in his arms, and they felt like they could have belonged to Sponge Bob Square Pants, they were so not firm.
We'd brought gaiters to protect ourselves from cholla and opuntia, but those wouldn't help against UXO - unexploded ordnances. Rule number one: "If you didn't drop it, don't pick it up."
Previous seminal work on demography designated age 85 as the cutoff for what we termed the oldest-old...With a rapidly growing percentage of the older population projected to be 90 and above in 2050, this report provides data for the consideration of moving that yardstick up to 90. Can 90 be the new 85?
I’m not one who needs to impress people with my possessions, thus I have no need or reason to purchase the latest Smartphone — especially because I know I’ll never learn to use it.
So, I learned, if I announced I was going to write my new year's resolutions on facial-quality bathroom tissue it’d sound chic, but if I said I’d planned next year's promises on toilet paper it’d conjure up yuks.
I even have a blog and Web page, but I'll likely go to my grave without tweeting or friending — along with setting up a spreadsheet or visiting the Soviet Union.
One of the great benefits that often accompanies this transition is the opportunity to live and be involved in community. Yes, I know that moving is hard but I learned that living alone in isolation is worse.
Some changes get knocked off the list (i.e., tried it, didn't work, try something else). Bottom line, I never beat myself up over the things that don't work. I just focus on what DID work for me, and move forward with keeping change active in my life.
If you didn't have to care for it, or pay for it, or carry it around, or service it, or spend time doing it, would you have more freedom and time to do and be what you really want right now?
Each change in climate provides a rhythm and if we attune to this rhythm, we can experience a fullness of life. There is beauty in spring, summer, autumn and winter, no matter how long each season lasts.
Experiencing laughter is not a thought process which, by concentrating, becomes stronger. It is an action.
This week has been extremely testy. I went out all by myself and bought a new printer, uncrated it and connected everything according to four pages of instructions in four languages. I looked at all of the pictures before discovering my native tongue.
An old friend at your side is like a battery jump-start to a life. Everything is working again, and the headlights are on and the future looks bright once more.
When we were kids, stuff like kick the can, hide and seek, marbles, and riding a bike as fast as you could were automatic distractions. Not any more. Other possible and doable passions must take their place.
Information wins out over intuition. Distraction leads to fragmentation and disconnection and no matter how many friends I have on Facebook, they are still ghosts in the machine and I still get lonely.
She yelled, "Move, it's an old guy." Wondering who they were referring to, I looked from side to side and in my rearview mirror and there was no other vehicle or person in sight.
The elixirs of youth are abundant and the industry makes its purveyors billions each year (as in $50 billion annually). The risk of some of those "elixirs of youth" also have the potential to indeed stop aging, but not in the way seekers long for. Remember, dying also stops the aging process!
In a shaky economy, you might expect the biggest concern to be finances. But for retirees and pre-retirees, roughly four out of ten said health or medical issues would be the problem most likely to negatively impact their retirement years.
At times Beans will even approach the big screen with the intent of punishing the other team if it scores a touchdown and we moan in disappointment. We tell Beans. "It's only football."
Miss Carry sighed one of those endless things that my mother does when she's had enough of me, but the teacher had to teach and couldn't walk out of the room into the kitchen, as my mother.
When she first saw her Mr. Right, Bonnie in the U.S. admitted, "he was wearing a skirt."
My gripe is that we are hounded from Halloween through New Year’s Eve to buy, prepare, and consume every form of indulgence with reckless abandon. Then, on January 1, those very same magazines, newspaper ads, TV commercials, family, and friends who tempted us with every form of decadence, now expect an abrupt reversal in our behavior.
Despite my dietary non-investment in the subject, I was still driven on by a devotion to duty, owing it to the carnivores in this readership. Consider, I was researching this subject as a stranger in a strange land, where people say “thermally sterilized comestibles” when talking about canned food.