Aging Well July 29th 2014

When you listen to an old favorite song, smell a certain perfume or browse through a picture album, does it often trigger images and emotions long forgotten? This nostalgia, emotions caused by remembering something from the past, has been described by Angela Carter as the vice of the aged. “We watch so many old movies our memories come in monochrome”. And John Thorn uses the Greek description to define nostalgia as the pain of not being able to return to one’s home and family. 
 Nostalgia is often considered detrimental to your emotional well-being. If you are constantly comparing your current situation to the past and wishing you could return to the “good old days”, it can create a sense of loss, isolation and a corresponding disconnect from the present. 
 But according to the 2013 New York Times article written by John Tierney “What is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit Research Shows”, nostalgia has more positive benefits than the negative effects associated with nostalgia. It can provide psychological comfort and support, counteracting feelings of boredom, loneliness and anxiety. It can raise self-esteem, increase optimism, and bring couples closer together when sharing common nostalgic experiences. And it can bring back memories that remind us that our lives do have meaning. 
 We can’t go back – time moves in only one direction; and we shouldn’t live in the past. But there are benefits from looking back; recalling the many fond and often funny memories: listening to the Indianapolis 500 in the backyard with all the aunts and uncles; watching my sister knock over the waste basket in study hall; and driving home my high school dates in my grandmother’s ’63 Buick Skylark convertible with bucket seats (and boy was that uncomfortable!). Cherish the memories, but don’t get stuck. The comforting memories of the “good old days” can provide the confidence and strength to look forward to new adventures – and future memories. 
 I just learned from Dick Frost, coordinator of the AARP Smart Driver classes in the Mid-Columbia area, that our own Smart Driver instructor, Dennis Davis, was the highest rated instructor in the State of Oregon which is pretty darn good. If you want to take the AARP Smart Driver class from the best instructor in Oregon, your next chance is from 9:00 – 12:00 on August 18th and 19th (every third Monday and Tuesday of most every month). Sign up by calling the Center at 541-296-4788. 
 Meals-on-Wheels has scheduled another big Bingo Bash on Thursday, August 7th starting at 6:00 PM (If you are a newbie to Bingo you may want to arrive at least by 5:30 to get settled in.) There will be a guaranteed $1000 pay out on the last game plus other big prizes. And think of the odds. Even if there is a large crowd of 100 people, your odds of winning $1000 are still one-in-a-hundred – which doesn’t count your chances of winning the other cash prizes. And if you can’t make in on the 7th, there is always Bingo at the Center every Thursday and Saturday nights. 
 It’s been a while since I have tried to agitate your little grey cells. So here is the Center’s music announcement for next week in the manner of Elvis Presley – “All Shook Up”. 
 “The Sawrtebyrr Monuitan Badn” will be plaingy teihr good tiem cnoutry mcsiu at teh Cernet on Tusdyea, Agusut 5th. Doros opne at 6:00 and mcusi strast at 7:00. Evreyoen is wleeocm inildgcun the odl, hte yogun and the restlses. Adn doantions aer apperaicted.
 The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question is Henry Mancini – the composer, conductor and arranger best remembered for composing many popular film and television scores. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Bill Van Nice who also identified from last week’s hints three songs Henry Mancini wrote: Pink Panther – the colorful cat, Moon River – the body of water and Peter Gunn – the firearm.) 
 For this week, hoping to activate some nostalgic memories, let’s take this thread a little further. Henry Mancini wrote Moon River for the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In that movie what British actress and academy award winner played the character of the naïve and eccentric Holly Golightly? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with two round-trip tickets for a holiday in Rome. 
 Well, it’s been another week trying to keep everything straight and narrow. Until we meet again, don’t let your needle get stuck on the same old song. 

 “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” Lily Tomlin

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