October 2013


elderly11

Older and Wiser?

 

We’ve all heard the theory growing older makes you wiser. I can’t really confirm the veracity of this theory, but can at least confirm growing older certainly makes you more experienced in the ways of the world. Sometimes that’s good, but often it means we become less trusting and perhaps more cynical.

          One doesn’t have to be older or even wiser to understand many of the changes going on in our culture today. While we heard not so long ago the “era of big government is over,” today we have government entities attempting to control virtually every aspect of our lives. This refers to government on every level, local to national.

For example, a couple of years back I left my car parked at the home of a relative who lives in another state. When I returned I found a notice threatening me with a fine for not having that state’s license on my car. I called the bureaucrat who left the notice and he told me I needed to show proof I wasn’t living in that state. In the cause of decency, I can’t really repeat what I told him. He then referred me to the local official in charge. Taking the high road, I wrote that official a very polite and responsible email explaining my wife and I had been traveling in and around the state and merely left the car at our relative’s home while we were gone. The next day I received an email back from the kind lady in charge directing me to give her my complete itinerary including mileage, dates, and locations traveled.

At this point, you probably expect I’m going to tell you I became furious and fired off a blistering email that told her where to go and what she could do with her invasive request. Maybe you are wiser because that’s exactly what I did. A brief response followed that informed me the matter had been dropped.

We now live in a culture where various levels of government bodies can tell us what color we can paint our houses, what flags and other symbols we can display, prevent churches from erecting crosses (the very symbol of many church beliefs), what light bulbs we must use, when we can use our fireplaces, and on and on.

In the latest news, many of our children and grandchildren are being told what costumes are not allowed to be worn on Halloween. If this trend continues, someday they’ll be telling us what kind of health care we must buy.

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Seniors and Birthdays

“If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of my body.”

Eubie Blake (on his 100th birthday)

 

     Birthdays are a topic of conversation in our family every year at this time. In our immediate family, we have about a dozen birthdays within a two month time frame. That includes me, my wife, our three sons, and several of our grand kids. Fortunately, while we recognize our birthdays, our family tradition does not call for extravagant celebrations or expensive gifts. As corny as it may sound, we really do try to treat one another well throughout the entire year.

     The fact is, I’ve actually forgotten my birthday a time or two. I do remember the best present I ever received. It was on my thirty-third birthday. We took our boys to my parent’s house and my mother had baked a cake. While we enjoyed our cake and ice cream, my son Michael asked, “Daddy, how old are you?” I quickly replied, “I’m thirty-three.” My mother looked at me and said, “No, you’re thirty-two.” After some quick math (not my best subject), I realized she was right. I had spent all year thinking I was thirty-two, and now I got to be thirty-two for another whole year. It was my best present ever.

     As we grow older, for most of us as our birthdays come and go, our thoughts and concerns are correctly aimed at the well-being of our family and friends. I was reminded of that this week when I had the privilege of spending time with my old Air Force buddy and best friend. He is going through a serious health issue and the love, courage, and faith he and his wife continue to exhibit is remarkable. In the midst of this crisis, he was still able to make me smile and, at times, even laugh.

     None of us knows how many birthdays we will celebrate. What we do know is it’s the relationships we have and the love we share within those relationships that matter. Those are the true gifts.

Special Note

     My wife Trisha was asked to write an article for Delta Living Magazine this month for a special Bride’s Issue. She provided some great packing tips that I believe can be useful for all travelers, including seniors. Here is the link:

http://www.deltalivingmagazine.com

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