Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on October 4, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with one comment





Limping to the finish line


“To everything, turn, turn, turn,

There is a season, turn, turn, turn,

And a time to every purpose under heaven.”

Turn Turn Turn – Pete Seeger

A few random anecdotes about the joys of aging.

I met an old friend at the pumps the other day. We played hockey together in our youth and then lost touch for years when he was away for work. He has been back home for years and had been retired for about 15 years. I am a Catholic and am well aware of the Litany of Saints, often recited at the Easter Vigil. The list of saints has grown over the years and apparently there are now over 3,000 saints. Sadly, I am not on the list and the chances of me becoming a saint are slightly below winning the Power Ball in the United States where over 181 million people play each year.

I digress.

My friend has not enjoyed great health and as we pumped, he intoned his own litany of maladies, starting from the feet and working his way up to the torso and then the head. While I was astonished at the scope of his health issues, his parting words gave me something to think about. “All of my health problems started after I retired.”

Of course, there is some logic to this because retirement is an indicator that one is getting older. But I believe that there is more than just wear and tear and warranty issues that cause older people’s bodies (and minds) to break down. For the vast majority of our lives, from the time we learned to walk, we have had a sense of purpose, no matter how mundane it might be, but especially so during our working years. For many folks, when they’ve punched the time clock for the last time, they no longer have a good reason to get out of bed in the morning. This, I suggest, is not a good thing. Not many weeks go by without us hearing about a neighbour, friend or work colleague whose health has gone south after working their tails off for years.

I am not about to advocate for people to work until they have one foot in the grave. However, retirement planners would be well to discuss with their clients the need to keep active, mentally and physically once they’ve packed it in.

The other day I was chatting with someone I hadn’t seen in years. After talking about the weather and the blue jays (not the birds but the baseball team!), we got around to the favourite topic of seniors: the state of our health. There was a third person present, the proprietor of the business where we happened to meet. We started with the easy stuff like aches and pains and then got down to serious business. This old business acquaintance had suffered a life-threatening heart attack a year ago and nearly gave up the ghost.

Like me, he is now in his 70s. I asked him how he was spending his days in retirement. He informed us that he is in his 7th year of a Bachelor of Arts program at our local university. He takes a few courses a year and hopes to receive his B.A. in a few years’ time. I love hearing these kinds of stories. There is much to be said about lifelong learning. It is good for the mind, the body and the soul.

Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning is a key determinant to health in our golden years.

It’s never too late.

Keep learning…. from the womb to the tomb.

Have a great weekend.

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