Aging Well March 4th 2014

Life can be broadly defined by three stages: the years preparing for work and family – when you were told what you had to do, followed by years of working and raising a family – when you did what you thought you should do.

And now this third chapter when you are no longer working, or at least working less, and watching your grandchildren grow – a time to do what you have always wanted to do, no longer constrain by time or self-imposed limitations. You can now discover or rediscover your passions and interests while reevaluating what you are currently doing to see if it is time to let go of old habits and thought patterns, so you can take advantage of the many opportunities around you to pursue your “want tos”. And don’t worry if your “want tos” seem immature or irrational. This is the time in your life to follow the adage “Dance first and think later”.

There are many folks who have taken that leap: pursuing an interest in drawing or painting through Debra Jones’ creative arts classes at the Center or classes at The Dalles Art Center; or learning more about their family history through the Columbia Gorge Genealogy Society, or purchasing a ukulele at Columbia River Music and learning to play.

But we know it isn’t always going to be easy. As we have more time to spare, we seem to have less energy; and with fewer responsibilities, there are often fewer goals and dreams to challenge us. And I won’t mention the difficulties living on a modest income that gets more modest every year. It takes guts to age successfully; to take responsibility for your life and not just let life happen; to finally pursue what you have always wanted to do. But as long as you have the energy and the courage, there is still much to accomplish in the years ahead.

My apologies to all the Saturday Night Bingo players. We cancelled Bingo thinking the snow and possible freezing rain was going to come sooner than later. But I don’t suspect there will be any more winter weather advisories, so we should be good for the rest of the year. And as a reminder, because of the fantastic volunteers, every penny from Thursday and Saturday Night Bingo goes to either the players or the operation of Meals-on-Wheels on Thursday night or the Center on Saturday night. And although there may not be the large pay outs as some of the big city bingo halls, over $1000 is paid out each night – and that’s no small potatoes.

The turnout for the Nehemiah Brown Concert last Friday night at the Center was even larger than last year with over 70 people in attendance. A big thank-you goes to Danette Utley from Flagstone who was responsible for bringing Nehemiah to The Dalles. And you might want to write down May 23rd on your Passport to Happiness Calendar– Nehemiah’s next performance at the Center.

There is always music at the Center from 7:00 – 9:00 PM on Tuesday nights. And next Tuesday on the 11th, Martin and Friends will be playing their country best. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated. 

Many people, including myself, remember seeing news clips of Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on his desk at the United Nations General Assembly. But it may be another example of how our minds can create their own memories, because even though everyone agrees he banged his fist, there is no recorded video or pictures of him banging a shoe. (And by the way, the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on March 15th is Bob Thouvenel.)

Before there were the Simpsons, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and the Onion, there was a magazine, first published as a comic book in 1952, that satirized all aspects of American society from the media and big business to hippies and the Vietnam War. For this week’s “Remember When” questions what was the name of the magazine and the name of the boy with the gap-toothed smile often found on the cover? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or send in a vanilla envelope the first edition of the comic book Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad.

Well, it has been another week learning that problems never cease, they just change. Until we meet again, tell me I’m not the only one who when learning of the symptoms for a serious illness, imagines having each one of them.

“Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.” Anonymous

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