Getting older …

Today is my birthday so I thought I would make some observations on aging  – or in my case – getting older (and hopefully wiser).

  • Now that I have the time and money to eat whatever I like, I can’t because I don’t eat as much. It doesn’t seem fair.
  • I am offered senior discounts and I no longer resist. I think I’ve earned them.
  • It’s okay to take a seat when it’s offered when waiting in line. It’s make the other person feel better and it’s much easier on the joints.
  • You truly understand that you will not live forever so time is of the essence. There are clearly less days ahead of you then are behind you.
  • Now that you are able to buy things, ‘stuff’ is no longer as important. What is important are things that money can’t buy – such as spending time with your spouse,  (if you are lucky enough to still have one), your family and your friends.
  • The law of averages is now working against you.
  • When you look in the mirror, you don’t see how much you have aged. You see what you want to see, (I’ve always wondered why my friends – who are about the same age as I am – look so much older.)
  • It’s okay to use the 15/45 method when doing yard work – 15 minutes working, 45 minutes sitting on the deck, drinking coffee or some other beverage, and watching the birds.
  • It becomes less important to ‘mince your words’ and easier and easier to ‘tell it like it is.’
  • It isn’t your actual age that defines you. It’s how you think and how you feel.

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  • Don’t be surprised when older adults ‘rock out’ at a concert. Just like the younger folks, we might feel the effect the next day – it’s just a different effect.
  • Most older adults have been through many life events. From those events, they have gained valuable wisdom that they are happy to share. Just ask them.
  • There is a special bond with high school classmates that can never be broken. Getting together with them is the quickest way I know to become children again.

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  • And, most importantly, don’t dread your birthday. After all, you are just one day older and you get another number – which is easy enough to forget.

Thanks for reading! 

Images downloaded from the internet.

The end of the beginning …

logoThis past week, after several months of preparation, our class reunion group released information about our upcoming 50th class reunion – which will be held next year – Sept. 16-18, 2016. The coordinated release including a mailing (with all event information), an email blast and the launch of our web site. Interestingly, All of this was released so our classmates received the information exactly one year ahead of the event.

Our group of reunion minions has been meeting and working on this since the beginning of this year. We’ve been averaging about 15 people at each meeting – with the meetings last up to 3-4 hours. By the time the actual reuniominionsn events arrive, many of us on the committee will be fully reunited – but that just gives us more time to talk to others!! I will say, however, that our meetings are a bit like herding cats. We just have so much to talk about so it’s hard to stay on task.

One thing we have done is form an executive committee to handle the basics tasks – setting up a checking account, securing a location, etc. That group meets just before the full group meeting or often we just meet by email. There are many details that need to be handled.

Luckily, one of our classmates is a master designer. He put together a reunion plan book that covers every possible element of the reunion events. The plan helped structure our group meetings and get things on track. We’ve planned events for the three-day weekend, including  a meet-and-great where we are inviting anyone who wants to attend. We’re hoping that some teachers and bus drivers, along with numerous classmates from all years, will attend. On Saturday evening, we’re having a dinner with a short, fun program; the dinner is for 1966 classmates and guests. During the day on Saturday, we have a golf tournament and a tour of our town, including all places known to us as kids. The final day, Sunday, includes a brunch. Other fun things are also planned. To see all of what is planned, you can take a peak at our amazing web site HERE In my opinion, this is our piece de resistance! It includes photos of classmates, their families, school days, past reunions, and more. And it’s not finished! We continue to add features and will likely keep doing that until the reunion – and perhaps even after the reunion. It’s a great way for classmates to keep in touch. Scan0071

All of this planning has been a lot of fun and I expect that fun will continue. However, planning for this event does make one stop and think about what is ahead of us. There is no doubt that the years ahead of us will be less than the years behind us. Let’s face it – we are reaching old age. But, because we’ve reached old age, it gives us a very unique opportunity to talk to our classmates about life in the larger sense – with folks that we knew from when we were all starting out in life. Now, instead of passing notes in class, we can pass them electronically (by email). We can have that big grownup life discussion in a comfortable way with old friends. And as we all know, there’s no friends like old friends – and we’re old friends, especially when most of us met in kindergarten or first grade.

The friendships that are rekindled through this reunion process will likely continue for the rest of our remaining time. I, for one, am looking forward to it and am most grateful we have this opportunity.

So, our release of the information about our event is the end of the work to establish the event – the end of the beginning. Now we are working to reach the end – the reunion events. In all likehood, however, the reunion events will be a new beginning for a lot of rekindled friendships.

Thanks for reading!!

Getting my life back … being able to hear again.

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For quite some time, it has been apparent that I needed new hearing aids. Mine were at least five years old and even though I was getting very weary of not being able to hear, I just dreaded getting new ones – mostly because of the cost. It’s not good to put it off, though. It requires a lot of energy to have to listen so intently. That’s also why a lot of people withdraw – they simply get tired of asking people to repeat things or – worse yet — people having conversations and acting that like you are not even there because they assume you can’t hear them anyway. I’ve also read articles that discount the need for hearing aids for older folks because they don’t need to hear. Yes, you read that correctly. Evidently they are assuming that older folks don’t need to fully participate in life. Well, they are wrong!! They need to hear, especially for one of the most important things in the world — their grandchildren!! Just check around on the internet and you will also see many articles about high suicide rates for seniors – in part caused by depression and feelings of isolation. Not being able to hear contributes to depression, feeling isolated and wanting to withdraw – or worse.

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Incredibly delicious prime rib at Weiderholt’s Supper Club.

So, what to do. As many things in my life, the answer was presented to me. A few weeks ago, we were having dinner with friends at Weiderholt’s Supper Club ( http://www.wiederholtssupperclub.com/). My hearing aids were particularly poor that night, so I asked if anyone had done any research on hearing aids. To my surprise, they had and proceeded to tell me about their latest very favorable experience getting hearing aids at Costco!!  About two weeks later, after some particularly frustrating days trying to hear at meetings, I decided to make an appointment and see what Costco’s program was all about.

I was able to get an appointment just one week later. The hearing aid center is in the far back corner of the Coon Rapids Costco – just a small area carved out among tall stacks of items for sale. After an hour and a half of testing my ears, it was determined that my right ear – which was damaged by a severe infection that left an opening directly into the ear drum, does not hear volume – in other words, the sound needs to be quite loud for me to hear it. Surprisingly, once the sound is at a volume I can hear, it is relatively clear. The left ear – my supposedly good ear — can hear volume better but the sound is quite distorted. The reason for the distortion is not clear – perhaps damage caused by MANY ear infections. Next, the technician fitted me with ‘test hearng aids’ – sample hearing aids that were programmed according to my specific needs. She then sent me out on the store floor – to test the aids. That was an amazing trip. First, I could hear the noise from fans, and paper crunching, and people shuffling their feet. I talked to some of the staff – who had managed to catch a little yellow finch that flew into the store. i talked to people and opened refrigerator doors. When I went back to the hearing aid area, my first comment was:”Is it always this noisy in here?” The staff just laughed.

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My hearing aids are beige but you can get them in many fun colors.

Next we set about the process for ordering new hearing aids. I was a little anxious – anticipating the cost. The last ones were about $6000. And remember – I need the premium version because my hearing is so bad. Then she gave me the price for both – $1800. I thought I was going to jump for joy. I asked about the cost of insurance (previously $250 a year for each ear). There is no cost for insurance. Each hearing aid can be replaced once at no cost within a two-year period from the date of purchase. Also, the hearing aid batteries are much less expensive. But then she mentioned that I may want to consider a different end piece (the part that goes in your ear) because the others tend to push out of my ear channel. The cost – or at least what I thought she said – $3999. I thought I was going to pass out. But, remember, I was wearing my old hearing aids. What she really said was $39.99. Much better – and my heart stopped pounding!!

The hearing aids arrived one week later – so the whole process took two weeks. And it’s like a new world. Not perfect – because nothing can fix that distortion – but I can hear much better and the cost was much more reasonable than before. I can even talk on my cellphone hands free because the sound is conveyed to both ears through wireless technology. Before, I could barely hear on a cell phone. Best of all – I can hear the background music while listening to the 50’s and 60’s Sirius channels on my car radio. Traffic – what traffic??? I just relax and listen.

And, finally, just so we’re clear – in no way did Costco ask me to tell this story. I just felt it was a story that needs to be told – in case it can help someone else hear again.

Thanks for reading this post!!