Aging Well December 9th 2014

Many of you may still be planning a walk along the streets of Barcelona, or a relaxing cruise along the Rhine. Or maybe a trip to Branson, Missouri or Nashville, Tennessee.  You’re still fit and have the financial means to travel even though getting crammed in an airplane, like cows in a slaughterhouse, is not something anyone looks forward to.
But if you are one who finds as much comfort and satisfaction from just staying closer to home and tending the garden, visiting with friends at your regular coffee spot, or watching old black and white cowboy movies on the television, you are not alone.
According to an August 19th article written by Ron Lieber for the New York Times and sent to me by Bill Noonan, the kinds of experiences that bring us happiness changes over time. Leiber cites the research by Amit Bhattacharjee and Cassie Mogilner who wrote in The Journal of Consumer Research that as people grow older, the happiness they receive from the ordinary, everyday experiences increases.  And eventually the happiness potential of ordinary activities eventually grows equal to that of the extraordinary or uncommon experiences.
I still remember my once-in-a-lifetime experiences: the beauty and terror of driving a rented Alfa Romeo along the 1 ½ lane country roads through the highlands of Scotland; visiting the cultural museums and historical sights on Jeju Island off the southern coast of Korea. And closer to home, climbing Mt. Hood and thinking, once is enough!
As I grow older, I find that the more common experiences such as cooking or reading, can be just as rewarding and satisfying. Which is good – and timely. Because as I continue to pay off the parent loans for my children’s education and the credit card debt – which paid for the trips mentioned above, I may be able to afford only the simple everyday experiences.
The Mid-Columbia Health Foundation’s Festival of Trees (an event where you find out it is okay to dress up in The Dalles) was a packed ballroom even with the Oregon Ducks football game televised at the same time. And for the second year, the Center’s Yoga Class entered a tree with the theme “Steppin Out” in honor of all the active older adults who contribute time, talent and energy to support the community. Thanks to Santa’s helpers who made it possible: Judy Reid, Diana Compton, Donna Gooch, Laurie Fadness and Jan Holt with technical assistance from Tim Willis at the Habitat ReStore
Who needs vowels anyway? They are only five and sometimes six of the letters of the alphabet. See if you really need them as you try to read this week’s reminder for the Center’s Tuesday Night music.  
W wll mss Trmn nw tht h hs mvd nd wll b strmmng hs gtr n th bg cty f Prtlnd. nstd t fll hs rglr spt n th 16th, th Smc Bys wll b plyng fr yr dncng nd lstnng plsr. vryn s wlcm. Th msc strts t 7:00 nd th drs pn t 6:00. Dntns r pprctd fr bth th bnd, t’s nt chp t drv n frm Gldndl, nd t hlp py th ht bll
Not all the spaghetti you through against the wall sticks, and last week’s question was an example. But it was a reminder that fifty years ago a gallon of gas may have cost only thirty cents and a postage stamp five, a family was only earning $6569 – an eighth of what an average family makes today. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on December 20th is Sandy Goforth.)
With the University of Oregon going to the Rose Bowl and Marcus Mariota being considered for the Heisman Trophy, it’s time to talk football – but about that other university along I-5. So for the beaver lovers, this “Remember When” question is for you. During what year did the OSU football team, which wasn’t expected to do much, finish the season winning six straight games including beating second-ranked Purdue (which I remember because I was attending Purdue at the time), tied second-ranked UCLA, beat top ranked USC, the University of Oregon and became known as the “Giant Killers”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with an autographed picture of the “Great Pumpkin”.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep my back to the wall and my feet to the fire. Until we meet again, if you don’t know the words to the song, you can always hum.

“There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.” Josh Billings