October 29, 2012

Age doesn’t matter (unless you are cheese?)

Schricker,-Mary-Dec2010By Mary Schricker Gemberling

It’s that time of year when summer gives way to autumn, and its brilliant display of crimson and gold dots the landscape. It is also the time of year I chose to make my entrance some three score and five years ago. As I approach my 65th birthday, I can’t help but think of the cliché, “Where did the time go?” I suppose it is perfectly natural that when we are young, we never even consider that someday we will be as old as the generation before us. And of course, my perception of “old” is certainly different than it was in my prime.

I do approach this milestone with some ambivalence. Since ages vary with regard to senior discounts, until now there was some question as to whether I was considered a “Senior Citizen.” But now the only saving grace might be the occasional clerk or ticket taker that might not believe I am actually 65 and ask for my ID. Another bone of contention for me, is that I am relinquishing a bit of my independence by now being a recipient of government aid in the form of Social Security and Medicare. Of course, I have worked hard all my life to qualify for this, and although the bottom line of my bank account will look better, I still somehow feel I’m beholding to Uncle Sam. The good news in all of this is that the average life span for women today is 86 years old. so God willing. I have at least another quarter of a century to whack away at my “bucket list!”

As I join the millions of Baby Boomers embarking on this journey of aging, I can’t help but feel confident that we will face the challenges ahead with a great deal of wisdom and a plethora of “life experiences!” I decided that my first step was to share with you, the reader, 65 bits of wisdom or thoughts I have gleaned from my years thus far.

1. Change is good.
2. Forgiveness is powerful.
3. Education is the key to tolerance.
4. Everybody does not need to know everything.
5. Parenting is the most important job you will ever have.
6. Drink good coffee.
7. Everything in moderation.
8. Hold yourself accountable.
9. Money doesn’t buy happiness; but it sure buys fun!
10. Find something you are passionate about.
11. Put things back where you found them.
12. Make empathy your default reaction.
13. Treat yourself well; other people will too.
14. Follow your gut; it’s usually right.
15. Hard work feels good.
16. Drink good wine.
17. You can never watch too many sunsets.
18. Always vote.
19. Laugh a lot.
20. Read a lot.
21. Nurture your friendships.
22. Be a team player.
23. You aren’t always right.
24. Let people change.
25. Learn to cook (the way to a man’s heart IS through his stomach).
26. Just because someone is mad at you, it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.
27. Respect other’s beliefs.
28. Stay active.
29. Try to eat healthy; you are what you eat.
30. Minimize stress.
31. Always honor the flag.
32. Being thin isn’t as important as being healthy.
33. Stay positive.
34. Eat good chocolate.
35. Learn from your mistakes.
36. Try not to judge others.
37. Agree to disagree
38. The three most important things in life are faith, family, and friends.
39. Honor, respect and enjoy your elders.
40. You will miss your parents no matter how old you get.
41. You can control stress.
42. Get an annual physical.
43. Take lots of vacations.
44. Give gifts of time whenever possible.
45. Turn your cell phone off more.
46. Talk less; listen more.
47. There are few things seem worth waiting in line for.
48. Make meals a family affair as often as you can.
49. Don’t be afraid to discipline your children.
50. Say “I Love You” often.
51. Every child should have at least one pet.
52. Anger can be destructive.
53. Smiles are contagious.
54. Play games with your children
55. Join a service club.
56. Save part of every paycheck.
57. Riding a bicycle makes you feel younger.
58. Dance whenever you can.
59. Giving really is much better than receiving.
60. Stay in touch with old friends.
61. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
62. Plant a garden.
63. Patience is a virtue
64. Don’t watch too much TV
65. Happiness is a choice.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”
……….Mark Twain

Mary, a former educator and Seniors Real Estate Specialist, is the author of two books, The West End Kid and a Labor of Love.