Monday, July 23, 2012

Why the Old Get Old

Get involved: stay young
We get old because we hang out with old folks.

As a young mother, I leaped over coffee tables to keep my toddler from hurting herself--or worse. I taught school during the day, sponsored Girl Scouts by night. I ingested coffee to keep me regular--that is: to get me to the dentist, the School Improvement Committee meeting and my dinner date on time.

Now, all I do is hang out with old folks. And the consequences?

 I park in the handicapped spots because my mother has an artificial knee (and hip and several other body parts. Why she's disabled is beyond me. She is the bionic woman.) My husband blasts the TV, deafening me, because he can't hear, and so my hearing has devolved. And my social calendar consists of sipping coffee on the porch and waving to neighbors.

Where have all my physical, intellectual and social incentives gone? And what's an old lady to do?

Old age and old peers are no excuse. We can still:

1. Exercise. I no longer run marathons...but I stay active by: walking the dog, kayaking and short jogs. If that's too much for arthritic limbs, invest in a Wii. You can dance from a wheelchair, bowl from the sofa or box to your heart's desire (and improvement)--all without injuring yourself.

2. Learn. As we age, we retire. Our blissful peace comes with a price as we lose intellectual stimulation. Check out your local college, see what courses they offer for seniors. One college nearby offers a group called New Horizons. It teaches seniors new musical instruments.

3. Volunteer. While it's nice to wave to people, as humans we need more. Even with our own limitations we can volunteer. Check out your local Habitat for Humanity, head to the nursing home, or help at a preschool, those little ones kept you young when you were young--they still can.

So old people surround us. We meet one in the mirror every morning. But that's no reason to become old, dessicated and cranky.

Carol McClain is a multi-published author in the magazine market. The biggest challenge she's discovered since she's retired is having down time. She does everything in her power to avoid that.
You can visit her blog at


Linda Rondeau said...

Great points Carol.

Lillian Duncan said...

For the first time in decades, I don't have a job for this school year. It boggles my mind but even though I'm not a natural joiner, I plan to get involved with some volunteer things--because I agree with you wholeheartedly.

the beave said...

I don't think you lack from intellectual stimulation.

Katt said...

This weekend I was a volunteer. Turned out I had little to do but visit with other volunteers and what an eye opener that was!

All of the men were over the age of sixty (at least) and all were retired, vital and interesting. Want to know why?... Because they are Shriners. So I asked them what that meant. What do shriners do?

THey volunteer their time to helping children. They transport children to hospitals for treatment. They talked about kids lives being changed, about families becoming hopeful, about an organization which survives soley on donation.

Yes, this organization also keeps these men young by being involved and 'doing' something they find rewarding.

They spend their spare time

Liz Flaherty said...

Great post!

Donna J. Shepherd, Author of Love Under the Bubble Wrap said...

LOVE this and sharing! I've made a commitment to learn something new every day.

Thanks for the post!


Carol McClain said...

Thanks everyone. And yes, we age, but there's no reason to become crochety old people.

Robin Levin said...

Very good advice. Exercise is essential. Might add, take up Scrabble or Sudoko or other challenging game. Learn a new language. Travel if you have the means.Write a blog or books.

Sara Goff said...

Fun article and great tips! My mother is a bionic grandmother (great grandmother, actually). I hope I will be one, too, when the time comes!

TNeal said...

Dessicated! That's one word I'd rather not have to use to describe myself. I think I'll go jog now.

JoAnn Swearingen said...

Good comments, Carol.
I consider myself like the bumble bee--he flies because no one told him it's physically impossible to do so. I want to be like our apple trees. One rotted out at the roots but that year produced the best crop of apples. A trunk on the other tree has toppled over and it's hanging by a few strands of bark--but it's green and has lots of applies!
JoAnn S.

Mary Annslee Urban said...

Great article Carol! You are an inspiration to all!

Arlene said...

True! I'm 71 and everyone thinks I'm retired--but I'm just plain tired from everything I do. We have friends in their 80s and 90s who are active and bright. My husband is 73 and just left for a 7-mile run.

Elaine Stock said...

Very interesting. If one is in relatively decent health, aging is a perspective (says someone facing another birthday ). Lately, I haven't had time to get old! Yet, I was just lamenting to my father who retired a week ago at the age of 70 that I wish I too could retire. He reminded me that, no, I don't, because that would mean I'd be older than I am... so I think what I've really been missing is just more time to do the things I really want to, like write. But, I keep remembering that God is awesome and sees to my needs... He has a reason for his timing.

jude urbanski said...

I wonder how I had time to work.

Caroline said...

Love this entertaining blog. Thanks, Linda for starting it. :)

Good post, Carol.

Nike Chillemi said...

Carol, wonderful article...and so true.

I'm an avid dog walker. That helps.

But what am I to do about the mint choco chip ice cream, the carrot cake, and Ring Dings? LOL

tomynate said...

Okay, I'm 70. I don't know what it is about that number. I stay busy writing, interacting with six kids and fourteen grandkids, volunteer teach homeless men about finances, active in our Legacy group at church. Barbara and I have a date day on Wednesdays. Who has time to be old. Great article.


Tom Blubaugh, Author
Night of the Cossack

Martha W. Rogers said...

I'm like Jude. I've been retired for 13 years and wonder how in the world I ever worked full time. A day without a meeting or appointment or errands to run is a day of bliss for me. Even then I'm busy on the computer, the phone, and around the house. (Dishes don't wash themselves, and clothes don't hop into the washer on their own.)

I never dreamed that I'd start a whole new career at age 73, but it's been a blast so far and as long as I'm eating healthy and exercising, I hope to be around a lot longer. Seventy-six isn't nearly as old as I once thought it was. :)