Aging Well in the Gorge July 27th 2022

by Scott McKay

Remember those hazy, crazy days of summer: making out in the back seat at the drive-in theater, hanging out with friends at the pool, and cruising the gut in my ‘63 Buick Skylark convertible? Those are some of my memories from the days of my youth.

But now that I’ve “grown up” my summers are more domesticated – each summer driving to California to visit our children. Since I’ll be enjoying their company for the next two weeks, I’m going to use the best of two columns I wrote several years ago and hope you feel they are still relevant. So here goes from October 13th, 2009.

Do you really want to stay young? Or let me put it another way. Do you really want to relive middle school? Although staying forever young may not be our goal, we do want to live independently; we do want to see our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren grow and set out on their own paths; and we do want to live caring and meaningful lives so that who we are and what we do matters.

The other day Jan Holt gave me a list of eleven simple rules that although they are titled “How to Stay Young”, are more about achieving those things we do want; about how to live well. Here they are for your consideration – plus my short observation for each rule.

1. Keep learning – see the world with virgin eyes.
2. Enjoy the simple things – as in the Shaker song, “Tis the gift to be simple”.
3. Laugh often, long and loud. – it’s contagious,
4. The tears happen – the ones we love won’t live forever.
5. Keep only cheerful friends – leave the rest alone.
6. Surround yourself with what you love. – not with what others say you should have.
7. Cherish your health – don’t take it for granted.
8. Don’t’ take guilt trips – life happens.
9. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity – stay current.
10. Forgive now those who made you cry. You may not get a second chance and forgiveness can set you free.
11. Try everything twice – except Brussels sprouts.

During one of the Senior Planet technology lectures, I learned about Gorge Learns ( a website providing educational resources on the history, art, science, and technology in the Gorge created through a collaboration with local Gorge cultural institutions. On their website, you can view videos of local performances, historical sites, and much more. It is especially valuable if you have difficulty getting out to see many of these events and sites. 

Gorge Learns is an outreach project of The History Museum of Hood River County. Its funding is made possible through the History Museum and grants from Oregon Humanities and the Providence Foundation.

Brain Tease. Well not exactly a tease, but I found this memory tip posted on the blog “Marc and Angel Hack Life”. (It seems like memory isn’t just a concern of us older folks.) To improve your memory, they suggest before going to sleep, reviewing everything you did during the day – in specific detail as if you were watching a video replay. At first you may not remember much, but with experience you will gradually remember the details of your day – and maybe even remember where you misplaced that missing book!  Try it for thirty days and see if it helps.

The unofficial title for the classified study “The History of U.S. Decision-Making Process on Vietnam,” released by Daniel Ellsberg was the Pentagon Papers. Since I’m enjoying the sunny skies and sandy beaches in San Diego, in two weeks I’ll mention all of you who sent in correct answers.

One thing I enjoyed about the hot, humid Indiana summers was trying to catch a particular flying insect. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what do you call this flying insect that has a rear section that glows in the dark? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or with a picture of the Indiana state insect.

Well, it’s been another week trying to decide – should I or should I not. Until we meet again, keep singing even if you can’t follow the tune.

 When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old.”  Mark Twain 

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