The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 1, 2011

Embrace your age — even if you are old

Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Do you embrace the age you are now? Think about it.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? That really is something to think about.

Funny how age comes into a conversation. A bunch of us “girls” recently were discussing age over coffee, and I remarked I didn’t feel old until I looked in the mirror. Others felt the same way. When we look into a mirror, we see our mothers looking back at us. Oh, if I could grow into the beautiful lady my mother was! Makes me realize I, too, am getting old, and loving every minute of it.

This is a joke ... or maybe not. A man goes to a doctor and tells him he has pain in his right knee. The doctor tells the patient it must be his age, to which the patient replied, “Can’t be, Doc, the right leg is just as old as the left one.” Too often, we blame everything on age, when it really isn’t.

Are we as old as we feel? Some days, it would not be possible to be that old. We ache all over more than anywhere else. We feel feeble and faint and over the hill. But we just keep on keeping on, and that passes.  We almost can predict the weather by our joints and how we feel.

When we were kids, we talked about our “old teacher.” She was probably all of 24 years old, fresh out of college. We heard of many deaths of people in their 40s and 50s, and thought that was old. People didn’t live so long back then, particularly because of lack of available medical care and partly because there were not so many “cures” as there are now.

Jim remembers when he was in the Marines and would call officers “Pappy” because they were old compared to the young recruits of 18 (or in Jim’s case, 16). The officers might have been as old as 24 or 26, but to these young kids, they seemed old by comparison and experience.

Daddy died in his 90s. He was born in Indian Territory in very primitive surroundings. He survived many diseases and hardships that seemingly made him a stronger, more determined person. He outlived nearly all of his friends and peers. He didn’t seem old, because he didn’t act old. He enjoyed every day of his life right up until his last breath. He always was looking for something interesting to try or learn.

We went to a birthday party this week for a lovely friend who is 90. Had it not been announced she was that old, we never would have guessed. Her mind is active and she is very interested in politics and Bible study. She, like most people her age, have some medical problems, but she is like the Energizer bunny and just keeps going and going. She is an inspiration to all of us.

I always am pleased to see Willard Scott on the “Today” show telling of people who have reached the age of 100. All of them have such beautiful smiles and twinkling eyes. They seem to have a zest for living as he tells of their interests and philosophies of life. Can you imagine what changes they have seen in their 100 years? They certainly give me something to strive for.

I am well on my way, but I hope I grow old gracefully like they have.  They all have goals and positive outlooks on living. They enjoy family and their surroundings. They inspire us all by their gifts of joy.

My grandma was a fun and funny lady. She laughed at life and never let anything get her down. When she broke her hip at the age of 92, the doctors said she probably never would walk again. Grandma said, “These doctors are good, but they are are all so young.” Of course they were young. Few doctors practice into their 90s. She said they don’t understand you can take a perfectly well person and put them to bed and first thing you know, they can’t walk. So, she showed them she could walk, and they let her go home.

While she was in the hospital, she had a dark growth removed from her face. When we asked her how she felt (meaning her broken hip), her only reply was, “It’s terrible when you’re so ugly your face hurts.” That was her way of handling every circumstance ... with humor and laughter.

The older I get, the more I realize chronological age really is not important. We only are as old as we feel ... and act. We all have seen people in their 20s who acted old, and we have seen people in their 90s who seem young and vital and alive. It is all in the attitude of the person. Birthdays don’t make a person old. Viewpoint and disposition make a person old. Remember, age is not important ... unless you are cheese. How you feel and act is important.

I received this humorous bit of wisdom by email from a delightful friend who sees humor and joy in everything ... even aches and pains:

“Everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work.

“The gleam in your eyes is from the sun hitting your bifocals.

“You feel like the night before, and you haven’t been anywhere.

“Your little black book contains only names of your doctors.

“Your children begin to look middle aged.

“Your mind makes contracts your body cannot meet.

“You look forward to a dull evening.

“Dialing long distance (and being on hold) wears you out.

“You burn the midnight oil after 9:00.”

Every age has its own special joys. Nothing is more gratifying than grandchildren. Retirement brings relaxing times to enjoy and travel and spend time remembering.  The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:10, “Don’t long for the good old days.” That chapter goes on to say, “Remember nothing is certain in this life,” so it behooves us to enjoy every moment of every day. Embrace your age and life.

More and more, we find we enjoy the old tried-and-true, easy recipes like this one:

Tuna Bake

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 (3-ounce) can chow mein noodles

1 stalk celery, chopped real fine

1 small onion, minced

1⁄2 cup salted cashews, broken into pieces

1 (7-ounce) can tuna, drained

Combine all ingredients and pour in baking dish. Cook in 350-degree oven 20 minutes.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.