Aging Well February 16

It hasn’t always been this way. When I was growing up in the Midwest, it was a simpler time. There were only three network television stations, a few fast food restaurants (Big Boy, McDonalds and White Castle – and it was always a special treat when after work mom would bring home a sack of neatly stacked White Castle hamburgers) and t-shirts that were just plain white.

But time passes and things change. The choices we have in practically every aspect of our lives has increased dramatically, but we as a people seem to be less happy. How can that be? Barry Schwartz in his book the “Paradox of Choice” suggests we are experiencing too much of a good thing. When given too many choices, instead of liberating, we are paralyzed; unable to choose among the many options – whether it is shampoos, pants or Medicare Advantage plans. And once we make a choice we are less satisfied, because we can imagine out there somewhere, some place there is a better product at a better price.

Would I give up my iPhone for a simpler time? Probably not. But just the realization the more choices doesn’t necessarily mean greater happiness is something we should acknowledge and appreciate.

On your wall calendar or in your iPhone, I want you to write down for Tuesday the 23rd, “7:00 pm -Senior Center – Tuesday Night Music and Dance”, because that is where the action will be. Bring your best dance floor moves because the Sugar Daddies are playing and they want to see everyone up and dancing. And tonight you can dance to the golden country sounds with Truman Boler. All the C minors and B flats are free and the dance steps won’t cost a thing either. But donations are appreciated. And there is no age discrimination – we welcome anyone under 105.

Starting Monday March 1st from 1:00 – 2:00 we are going to repeat the weekly Brain Fitness class. In the class we do a variety of activities that stimulate different parts of the brain, including reminiscing about past experiences, engaging in listening and seeing activities, testing memory skills and sharing information we have found about memory and brain development. Many of us will be repeating the class to see if we remember half of what we heard the first time. I will also add several videos to the curriculum to provide some new content that will challenge your thinking and stretch your brain.

Do you remember reading a particular book in high school that reflected the feelings and attitudes of the time? When I was in high school in the early 60’s there was one controversial book every guy wanted to read and it wasn’t Moby Dick. Even though it was written in 1951, it had elements of rebellion and teenage angst that was beginning to infiltrate the adolescent culture of the 60’s. This week’s “Remember When” question is about that book. What novel follows Holden Caulfield’s experiences in New York City after being expelled from prep school? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off at the Center.

The answer to last week’s question was Kookie – played by Edd Byrnes – who was the parking attendant in the television detective series “77 Sunset Strip”. You may also remember the top ten Billboard hit Edd Byrnes sang with Connie Stevens, “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb”. We had over 10 folks who knew the correct answer and I was going to mention them all, but I misplaced the list on my desk – and if you saw my desk you would understand.

Well that is another nail in the – uh, let’s see – in the two by four? Until we meet again, I hope your days are good and you can sidestep those days that made the “Old Perfessor” Yankee manager Casey Stengel say, “I’ll never make the mistake of turning seventy again”.

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