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Challenges of Being a Senior

Sunday, April 13, 2014   by: Mac Headrick


This column is dedicated to the challenges of being a senior. It lists some of the techniques I use in coping with getting older. As with many of my columns the inspiration comes from real events that happen to me. The suggestions listed below are not intended to be advice for you to adopt or follow. It is just things that work for me. 

A couple of weeks ago Linda and I were out on a Saturday taking care of some critical household tasks. In our household the word “critical” means getting pet food and/or toys; and groceries for the pet’s human servants (Linda and I). Around 1.30 p.m. we decided to stop for an enhanced health food lunch of salad. The word “enhanced” refers to the 20 chicken wings and fries. After lunch and before leaving the restaurant I invoked a principal learned from the movie the Bucket List, never pass up an opportunity to use a washroom. 

It had been several years since I had visited the restaurant in question. Even though the lighting is really dim and I didn’t have my glasses with me I eventually found the men’s washroom. Since my last visit this room had been remodeled. It looked very nice. It now had one of those fancy pedestrian sinks that operate without facets; a jet propulsion hand dryer that takes about three seconds to dry your hands. There was another aspect of the restroom I found a little strange, it had no urinals. Oh well I rationized it must be one of those new European type of facilities. Now I have never been to Europe and know nothing about their washrooms. If something happens in my life that I do not comprehend I just mentally reference it to some foreign custom. 

Anyway, after completing the task of washing and drying my hands I noticed a rather strange sign on the wall. It informed me that there was a baby change table located in the woman’s washroom in the front of the restaurant. I looked and read the sign twice. It was just about this time that my thought process caught up to yours about two paragraphs above. I exited the restroom and squinted at the sign above the door. It is amazing how the word “HENS” looks like “MENS” in a dim room to a senior without their glasses. 

I will use the above incident to kick off my survival tips on being a senior. 

  1. It has taken me years to accept the fact as I aged there will be physical changes. I need my glasses especially for close up reading. In the past I fought this fact. Now I accept it. I give myself more time to complete whatever I have to do. When it comes to lifting I plan out the move. I have always been blessed with a strong back. My back is less tolerant of out of position moves now. In the morning it takes me about ten minutes of moving around before all the stiffness disappears from my lower back. Sault Ste Marie has many opportunities for senior physical activity.
  2. I always celebrate and look forward to birthdays. This December I will turn 65.  What is the other option to getting another year older? Answer is not making it.
  3. Being a senior doesn’t mean you have to be out of touch. What is the newest fad in education? Liz Sandals, Ontario’s Educational Minister, on March 25/2014 stated she expects students to learn their multiplication tables. Guess what… we seniors already have these skills. We can also read and write. I constantly read about local, national and international events. In addition I try to keep informed about the really important things in life - sports.
  4. Remember one important, indisputable fact, everything taste better with bacon. No need to expand on this point.
  5. I wake up every morning at 5 a.m. I wish I could sleep in until 6 a.m. I do not fight this habit. Solution, have an afternoon nap. Take a lazy boy chair, add a couple of dogs and snooze.
  6. Being a senior means I can demand more services and lower taxes. Now I realize this combination isn’t rational or logical. So what paying taxes for over forty years gives me the right to complain.
  7. You are only young once but you can be immature the remainder of your life. I have always embraced this concept. Politicians, medical specialists, lawyers etc they can serious.  
  8. Being healthy is important. So you shouldn’t eat butter, wait a minute you should eat butter. Always count calories or is that don’t count calories. Eat protein and fat. Bread is fine in moderation, eliminate carb based grains. Every month there is a new theory that professes to have all the answers. My advice eat real food and in moderation. I get the best results when I do this.
  9. When I was young I walked to school two miles uphill each way against the wind. Well it wasn’t uphill both ways but it was two miles. Walking is great. This winter hindered me in this activity. It was often too cold for my small dogs. Spring is here now and therefore it is time to resume this activity.
  10.  Movies and some other stuff are cheaper now. I can accept this. 

The way I see it I enjoy being a senior. There are challenges and adjustments. I still have my health and feel blessed. The above are some of the strategies I use to cope.

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fatafr 4/15/2014 1:06:21 PM Report

Another very enjoyable article Mac. Yes, being a senior has its draw backs but it does have its advantages. First, being retired comes with age and that's something I'm slowly adjusting to. But, being a senior certainly has some challenges. Your health is the # 1 priority because the more one begins to lose his independence, the more you may become someone else's dependant and that is something I absolutely shutter to think about.
It's also said that wisdom comes with age, but I'm still a bit confused about where that continues to improve and at what point my forget fullness takes full control of my mental facilities. Hopefully, we won't see that for a very long time. Right Mac !!
Mac, I wish you a slow, healthy and enjoyable aging process. I wish that everytime you and I cross paths, we'll be sharing conversation about our next big adventure; our next item on each other's bucket list or talk about the next huge family event that we can look forward to.
I'd like to wish all our seniors in SSM a nice warm enjoyable spring and the opportunity to go out each day and,hopefully, be able to go for a simple walk on our waterfront Boardwalk. Yes, Mac, above all else, our health must continue to be # 1 and, God willing, we will continue to be able to enjoy the simple things in life. Talk to you later.    
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