Seniors in the Limelight

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David hit the proverbial “nail on the head”. Oh, you don’t need to remind me that there are plenty of negative aspects to getting older; I have addressed many of them already in my previous posts. I have often heard younger age groups espouse the sentiment that your youth is the best time of your life, or getting married is the best time, or having children are the best years of your life. The fact is, as I see it, all these are true because at the time you have no idea what the future will bring. However, once you reach your senior years, you can look back and make the comparison with clearer insight.

Speaking for myself, I know I lived most of those early years trying to be the best wife, and mom, and person I could be. Admirable qualities for sure, but if I am to be honest, I often did and said things that I thought were expected of me, not always how I really felt. I’m not much of a gambler, but I would bet most of you went through the motions, just like I did. I think Helen Mirren echoed my thoughts when she said,

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As we move further into the twenty-first century, I think people look at seniors differently. We are not a group to be ignored  as though we have used up our usefulness. With better health care and lifestyle, many individuals are living well into their eighties and beyond. Many are fortunate enough to have livable pensions which obviously improves our lifestyle. However, I now know for certain that money cannot buy us happiness and contentment in our “golden years”. It is truly the people around us, both friends and family, who enhance our lifestyle and sense of well-being.

Just recently, I read a wonderful book by Frances Mayes called “Women in Sunshine”.

20180512_124242.jpg The story is about three women heading into their senior years. They meet when each decides to have a look at a retirement home. The unlikely friendship that evolves with these three very different strangers is amazing. Although they are moving into their retirement years, they are nowhere near ready to stop living their life to it’s fullest and enjoying new adventures. I really hated for the book to end and wished I didn’t have to return it to the library. It was so easy to imagine myself and my friends doing the same thing.

In past years, the “Golden Girls” were a comedy hit on tv. Four senior women living under the same roof and all with very diverse personalities. I know at the time the subject matter raised some eyebrows, but today it would seem completely normal. Some of the comments they made shocked the audience, but in all honesty, they were saying what many seniors at the time were thinking, but afraid to say.

Well, all that has changed. More and more seniors are living the life they want.

Who has not enjoyed the antics of “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix?

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Check out the trailer…. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3609352/videoplayer/vi4150769177?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1

These characters are my fantasy idols; however, I do not plan to live vicariously through them. I fully intend to live my own dreams as much as my circumstances will allow me.  My remaining years will not be spent doing arts and crafts or playing Bingo in a retirement home. I want to try new things and see new places. I do not plan to sit back and watch others live their life while mine ticks away a day at a time. Remember the saying, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings”.

So try something fun or something you enjoy. Or join my friends and I for the weekend. Tomorrow we are getting together at 5 am to eat scones, drink tea, and watch the Royal Wedding; at 6pm we will be off to karaoke and dancing at our favorite pub. Sunday we have plans to see “The Book Club” at the movies.

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What are you doing this weekend?

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Hell On Wheels

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As one of the girls turns eighty this year, it got me thinking about the rules for renewing a driver’s license. Here in Ontario, Canada, the law requires an individual who drives to take a test when they turn eighty if they intend to continue driving. Now, I don’t know about you, but I would be lost without my car and the freedom it affords me. That being said, it is a scary thought to know that there are even younger seniors on the road who clearly should not be behind the wheel.

The test itself seems to focus on vision. In all honesty, it should probably be a little more intensive. I am the first to admit that most of us develop bad driving habits throughout our life, and it is a given fact that traffic has increased exponentially since any of us got our driving permit at sixteen. Add to that the fact that our reflexes are not what they used to be, and you have accidents just looking for a place to happen.

I remember many years ago driving with my aunt who at the time was in her late seventies. We were on our way to her house, and she kept making only right turns and driving around several blocks until she was going the right direction. I hesitated to question her, but finally asked her why. Well, apparently she didn’t like making left turns because the traffic was too busy, so she drove twice as far to reach her destination. I have since discovered that I have friends who do the same.

Our memories are also a problem as we get older. A friend of mine took the bus home from work one day. When she arrived home, her husband asked where the car was. She forgot that she had driven to work. Oops!

My neighbor who is 84 has recently had her license taken away by her family. She is none too pleased! It seems that for several months previously, she would leave home to do errands, but could never remember how to get back without asking for help. Then there were the days she simply drove around the block 10-15 times and parked in the driveway again. The final straw was the day she came home in a police car having no idea where she left her vehicle or where she lived. The thought of these seniors behind the wheel is scary. 3f40a99b304560ee1bdc409fea525d7a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, if the time comes that we don’t pass the required test, how do we get around? The idea of depending on someone to take me where I want or need to go does not appeal to me at all. Many resort to these heavy duty three-wheel scooters.

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These gals are certainly doing it in style. However, our winters would at some point be an issue.

I, myself, have always wanted to own an electric bike. The way I see it, it is economical, easy to park, and requires no license to drive it. The drawbacks , of course, are the weather, and where would the dog sit. 6b8a05b9c2178413662a94d7bd5933a0

However, I would probably be better off sticking to this version. 086fef432b80d5f8a9fd3a280c7b00f3  Luckily, I still have several years before I am faced with this decision, and hopefully my faculties will not fail me when the time to try my senior’s license rolls around. I do know my days of maybe trying this are well past.

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In fact, my future may look more like this….3ac2c7a4542bd3422c289e19fdd27bf4

Oh, well, happy driving everyone, and stay safe out there!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Girlfriends

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Growing up, I had always had lots of friends. Most of these friends were people that I met in school or was introduced to by others. When you are young, you just assume you will grow up, start a job, get married, and keep those friendships, but as is often the case we become consumed by work and family life, and we lose touch with many of those people. Friendship takes work.

Friendships to me are like plants; each one is entirely individual and unique in personality and like plants they need to be fed and cared for or they will wilt and eventually the friendship will die. We all have those individuals who have wandered in and out of our lives; at one time we were close, but as time passed, they drifted away and we lost touch.

Youth take so much for granted. They don’t seem to maintain friendships. I can’t count the number of times that younger people have asked how long my friends and I have known each other. They are shocked to learn that many of us have been close friends for 50+ years. This fact amazes them. Most have not even been alive near that long. My daughter, who is now 40, often remarks how she has not stayed friends with any of the kids from school. She has developed new friendships through her work, but they do not share a history.

There is something to be said about growing older together. We know the good, the bad, and the ugly about each other.We have been there through marriages, babies, divorces, health problems, and yes, even death. We do not always agree, and that’s just fine.

My own amazing circle of girlfriends are an unusual mix of characters. We come in all shapes and sizes and preferences, but we share a common trait. We love to laugh…at life, at each other, and yes, even at ourselves. About 7 years ago several of us started to get together for dinner every few weeks. Well, for the last 5 years we have met for dinner EVERY Wednesday at the Tartan Tavern (yes, it is old like we are) no matter the weather and even when the power was out. Sometimes there are 9 or 10 of us squeezed around our table and sometimes only 3, but we never miss. We have become somewhat of a fixture at this pub and the waitresses and other regulars know to expect our rowdy gang without fail. We chat and gossip and laugh so much that my sides often ache when I leave. On occasion, we break into random song and that creates quite a stir.

My family mean the world to me, but I am not sure I could have made it this far in my life without my girlfriends. They lift my spirit and support my goals. They have never let me down when I needed them.

Girlfriends are powerful.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny  xo