We’re #1

Well fellow seniors, we did it. For the first time in U. S. history, people 65 and older are the largest age group both in terms of size and percentage of total population. This is according to published results of the 2010 census. While the rest of the population grew at a rate of 9.7%, we seniors grew at a rate of 15.1.%. As of April 1, 2010, our numbers had grown to 40.3 million and our rate of growth was the highest of any age group.

For us fellows, there is more good news. Obviously, women have traditionally outlived men by many years. In fact, in 1990 at age 83 the ratio of women to men was 2 to 1. In 2000, the 2 to 1 ratio was reached at age 85. The 2010 census reports that the 2 to 1 ratio of women to men was not reached until age 89. Hang in there guys, we’ll catch up one of these days.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could band together politically and have greater influence over our government policies? What would you ask for? Here are a couple of my ideas:

No more prolonged wars fought half way with political correctness getting in the way. Have our leaders spell out clearly our high threshold for going to war, and when that threshold is crossed, we go all out. No more spilling of our young people’s blood over many years in wars we didn’t intend to win.    

No more hyphenated labels. We are all Americans, pure and simple, case closed.

Solve the immigration problem. I suggest its way too late to somehow move generations of people who came here illegally, but are now living and working in the U. S. Those who have blended into our society and have become law-abiding, tax paying contributors should be given work visas and allowed to remain while working toward legal citizenship. Those who are merely living off of our tax money or involved in illegal activities should be sent home.

Each person running for office should be given a complete background check by the FBI. Those reports should be made public. When a person is elected to office, they must submit a daily on-line report of their activities. Who did they meet with, what was the purpose of the meeting, and how much money was spent from their public account? Rules and regulations for holding public office should be made clear and violation of those rules would result in immediate impeachment.

Abolish the two-party political system. We need to elect individuals who have great ideas, not those indebted to the political bosses only concerned with maintaining power.

Stop being so damned sensitive. Our whole nation needs to lighten up. Every day we are treated to hours of debate on television and radio. It’s all the same, “My dog’s bigger than your dog,” etc., etc. We are in a negative spiral as a culture. I know its unrealistic to think we can all join hands and sing Cumbaya, but as a famous criminal once said, “Can’t we all just get along.” Life is difficult, why do so many try to make it more so?

Celebrate real achievers and heroes. I truly believe the circus of our celebrity driven culture will be its downfall. There was a time when great thinkers, authors, scientists and the like were the most celebrated in our society. For the most part, our young folks  now celebrate some of the most insipid, vapid, and immoral among us. Those worthy of celebration are still out there, they just don’t have PR flaks or television programs.

Wow!  That felt good. Now that I’ve started my list of ideas to save the planet, you give it a try. We’ll put them together and given our numbers, maybe we can get some action. Or we can just go get a nice cup of warm tea and a cookie.

Thanksgiving Follow-Up

At the highest number, my wife and I shared the holidays with 16 people in our home. It was wild and lots of fun. With six of them being young folks, as I looked around our living room strewn with sleeping bags, etc., I suggested it looked like we had been “occupied.” Of course, I did reflect on my reasons for being thankful. First on the list is my beautiful and loving wife Trisha, our three sons and their families, our extended families, and our wonderful friends. Every life is filled with difficulties and hardships, but I do try to count my blessings.


Personal Choice

Many seniors may believe their longevity is a matter of genetics or simple luck. The fact is, a study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry indicates the determining factor in one’s longevity is a person’s personal choice.

The study, which tracked mental and physical health, was conducted over a period of sixty years with nearly 1,000 subjects from various socio-economic backgrounds. Only the factor of clinical depression was deemed to be outside the control of subjects in regard to their longevity.

The study identified the following factors, all of which were considered to be personal choices, as being the most important in determining an individual’s longevity. They were:

Exercise – Experts recommend 30 minutes of regular exercise.

No Smoking – The list of smoking-related health problems is too long to list. If you smoke, quit.

Appropriate Weight – Obesity can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems.

Positive Coping Mechanisms – Learning how to deal with stress and control anger is essential.

Stable Marriage – Research shows happily married people have less illness and longer lives.

Moderate Alcohol Intake – The key term is moderate. Excessive alcohol intake can cause liver problems and possible harmful drug interactions.

Depressive Illness – While this is the one factor found to be outside an individual’s ability to make a choice, it is strongly recommended a person seek treatment when feeling depressed.

So, there you have it. It’s the personal choices we make with regard to these factors that are the most important in our longevity. Of course, there are many other factors such as acquired disease and accidents that can play a role. But, for the majority of individuals, it is the choices we make.

Happy Thanksgiving

Sometimes things just work out for the best. Having just returned from some travels recently, my wife and I had not made plans for Thanksgiving. Last week the phone started ringing and we now have at least a dozen or so family members spending much of the Thanksgiving holiday with us. We are very blessed. I wish all of you who read this blog a very happy holiday.