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PART VI: AGING…”

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Finally, for the ending (as in real life) we arrive at the final part of our series

PART VI: AGING

"HUMOR AND JOY" SERIES

“A joyful heart is the health of the body…”

Prov. 17:22

Tread lightly, but Enjoy!

WHO IS "OLD"?

“Old” means different things to different people. I learned a long time ago to clarify when someone was called: “old”. Depending on who was saying it, and what age they were, “old” could be anywhere from twenty-something to over 100! “Old” can be a state of mind… A state of health… It can just plain be a “state”. (Think: “Florida… Retirement...” Senior Living Villages as big as cities elsewhere…)

We all are getting older… from “in utero” to “whenever”. Most of us are willing to admit to that most of the time. But our perspectives vary. The 5 year-old proudly brags about almost being “5-and-a-half”. We rarely see that in the 41 year-old. And the older sibling who used to be quick to add “I’m the oldest!” when the family was being introduced tends to quiet down and let that slip into unconsciousness after a certain age— at least by, say— 42? “Older”, then, is one thing. “OLD” is another thing all together.

Magazines and T.V. repeatedly cover “new” answers to the aging process from age 30 upwards… usually according to “decades” in the aging cycle. I rarely see them, however, cover “beauty tricks for 90 year olds” (those in their 40;s, 50's, 60's—yes).

But, on the other hand—the “brighter” side— someone has determined that: “60” is the new “40”. (Is “40”, then, the new “20”? Continuing the analogy: is “20”, then, the new “infancy stage”?? Just when can we start re-calibrating? At exactly what age? There are some engineers out there calling for a bit more precision.)

During the parish celebration for his 104th birthday, Old Jonnie was asked: ‘What is the best thing about being 104?’ Jonnie smiled and replied, ‘No peer pressure.’” 1


THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY APPEAR TO BE...

Humor seems to gravitate toward the aging process. Aging with grace and peace is a real blessing. And it helps to be able to recognize what’s amusing about limits and other changes. That brings to mind a story about my father. But please, as they say: "Don’t try this at home!" Or, rather, at the BMV.

Disclaimer: The details following are not intended as a recommendation, nor as an instructional, although we sympathize with the dilemmas some of you are facing. I am only repeating it “straight” for the sake of honesty, not to suggest the procedure to any desperados out there. (And I know you are out there!)

I am well aware that a critically felt issue with aging is mobility and driving, and it is one of the most difficult things to let go of when the time comes. It can become very difficult for both the aged one and his or her family. One of my father’s favorite things—besides his avid love of and proficiency in music—was going for a drive. He simply loved it, and was an excellent and careful driver. He lived past 80, and was active mentally and physically. His best pals, his bridge group buddies—especially his 93 year-old, sharp-as-a-tack former F.B.I. agent-friend—depended on him for transportation. (As did my mother.) The bridge group would not have been able to get together otherwise, as they lived separated, across the city. So….

At his post-funeral gathering, his friends called me over and asked,

“Did you ever hear the story of your dad’s last driver’s license renewal?” (Said the very law-abiding, kind, and "straight-arrow" FBI guy…)

I responded, "No, I didn't". (Soon I would find out exactly why I had not been told...)

The FBI friend continued,

"He missed something on the eye test. So he went to another BMV location (and maybe another…) and saw what he missed. When he finally re-took the test, he used all of what he had learned and seen (and memorized) and passed.”

My father… the truly (usually) upright engineer. As the story was being told, his friends laughed and expressed how much they greatly appreciated his “creativity”. They were definitely desperate to stay active and connected. Health issues on all sides (including those of my Mom and Dad) made their gatherings much more rare. His passing actually did completely end their precious times together, unfortunately.

We can laugh with both compassion and understanding, both for those aging and for their family members helping to care for them amid all the changes. Hopefully, we can (at least sometimes) face the whole aging process with a smile and some humorous anecdotes. After all, we did it as our loved ones “aged” from 1 to 2 ½ years old… why not to…. 92 ½ ? This is not at all to minimize the care, responsibilities and even felt heaviness of the task of caring for loved ones in our own homes, as some have lovingly chosen to do. A larger and older body is a different challenge than that of a 1-2 year old, but may require similar care. Nevertheless, it can make all the difference. Others are keeping careful watch over declining loved ones, continually checking and doing what's needed.

Someday the “they” becomes “we. When the time comes that we find ourselves “there”, too, we can determine to appreciate the comical side of aging, too. This is not, in any way, intended to minimize some extreme issues and dilemmas, pressures and trials that both the elderly and their devoted caregivers experience during the aging and care-giving process. Having "been there", too, for extended periods of time, we are glad to remember some of the humorous times—or times we saw humor in the ordinary or the frustrating.

Whatever age we are, let’s look at another anecdote:

The parish census taker walked up to a wrinkled little older man rocking in a chair on his porch. ‘I couldn’t help noticing how happy you look,’ she said. ‘What’s your secret for a long happy life?’

‘I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day,’ the man boasted. ‘I also drink a case of whiskey a week, eat fatty foods, and never exercise.’

‘Wow! That’s amazing,‘ said the visitor. ‘And just how old are you?’

‘Twenty-six,‘ the man replied.” 2

STAYING HEALTHY AS WE AGE

Maintaining health has become a national pastime—or, at least, talking about it has. Hopefully, we initiate action on the issue in the earlier decades of life, seeing what can happen even before (the above mentioned) “twenty-six”. The sooner the better. But, to be applauded are those who undertake some aggressive exercise even in their later years…

Age had taken a toll on her body, so when the parish senior center began offering a Stretch-n-Fit class the elderly woman quickly joined, but just as quickly she was disappointed and quit. When asked what the problem was, she said, “I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour.

But by the time I got my leotard on, the class was over.” 3


Then there was this other class:

The parish decided that a senior citizen fitness program would be a good idea to help people. After all, exercise is important as we grow older. Here’s one keeping-fit suggestion they came up with:

Start by standing with a five-pound potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out to your sides and hold them there as long as you can.

After a few weeks, move up to 10-pound potato sacks, then 50-pound potato sacks. Finally you’ll get to where you can lift a 100-pound potato sack in each hand an hold your arms straight out for more than a full minute!

Next, begin putting a few potatoes in the sacks.” 4


On the other hand, many have become accustomed to the long list of pharmaceutical alternatives….

“Mike, 92, and Donna, 89, meet at the parish widows and widowers club and hit it off so well they decide to get married. During a stroll through town, they pass a drugstore. Mike suggests they go in. Mike asks the man behind the counter: ‘Are you the owner?’

Pharmacist: ‘Yes.’

Mike: ‘We’re about to get married. Do you sell heart medication?’

Pharmacist: ‘Of course we do.’

Mike: ‘Medicine for arthritis?’

Pharmacist: ‘Definitely.’

Mike: ‘Medicine for memory problems?’

Pharmacist: ‘Yes, a large variety. The works.’

Mike: ‘What about vitamins, supplements, sleeping pills, Geritol?’

Pharmacist: ‘Absolutely.’ …

Mike: ‘You sell wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, and canes?’

Pharmacist: ‘All speeds and sizes.’

Mike: ‘Great.

We’re using your store for our wedding gift registry.’” 5


Did you hear about the 83 year-old woman on her way to church who talked herself out of a speeding ticket?

She told the officer that she had to get there...

…before she forgot where she was going.” 6


“Who said seniors can’t keep up with the times? The staff at St. Monica’s Senior Center gives residents a course in new technology, like phone texting, so grandparents can understand their grandchildren as well as communicate with other seniors. Here are a few of their hints:

BFF: Best Friend Fell

BTW: Bring The Wheelchair …

FYI: Found Your Insulin …

GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low …

LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out

LOL: Living On Lipitor …

WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?”7


Coming soon to our close, we will give a brief excerpt from “A Prayer For Those Growing Old”:

“Lord, Thou knowest I am growing older… Release me from the cravings to straighten out everyone’s affairs… Make me thoughtful, but not nosey; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom and experience it does seem a pity not to use it all. But Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.” 8

May each of us be that “friend” to those growing older. And may we all have—at least!—“a few friends at the end”…. and many truly good ones in all the time in between.


FINAL COMMENTS ON AGING

We have spoken lightly of aging, but we recognize the many aspects of getting “old” that are not so much fun—for the aging or their loved ones. A special word of encouragement and prayer for blessing goes out to those who are caregivers in an age when the complications of life make that role much more difficult and less supported than ever before.

I have been blessed to be in that situation several times, and, as much as it demands, I am deeply glad that I had the opportunity to be there for loved ones at such a critical time in their lives. Continued love and dedication in difficult and repetitive ways, outside of the hustle-bustle of “life rushing and passing by” is not easy. I do believe, however—along with many others—that it is worth all the time, trouble and devotion that it requires.

My heart also goes out to those elderly whose children and families have left town—in our very mobile and “international business” style culture—and who find themselves more isolated than they expected to be as they aged. Some of us might know a neighbor, a church member, a relative or a former co-worker, etc. who fits this description and could use a visit or a helping hand. And let us not forget the aging priests and religious. Even occasionally subbing for a known care-giving friend or relative for a couple hours (for a break) could be very much appreciated.

May we all be aware of those who could use an extra dose of loving attention and caring. It is difficult for the elderly (and other younger ones who are degenerating physically) to find themselves in a place where (and at a time when) they are far less capable than they would choose or wish to be. We may have to (sensitively) attempt involvement more than once. At the very least, we can remember them and their caregivers in our prayers.

We’ll end with a quick whisper of a prayer for all of us, from 1 to 100 plus, that we may all age gracefully, walking with the Lord, Whose love never ends. And may we gratefully receive every help and blessing, grace and mercy that He endlessly, gladly and generously offers us.

NOTE: The words in bold type are marked for either distinction or emphasis by the blog author, and are not originally part of any of the quotations.

This series is based on one we did in the summer of 2015. It was a series called, “HUMOR”, and was written and posted at trinitychurchsupply.com/blog by Kathy Boh. We enlarged it in 2017, and now present our newer version this summer of 2019.


If you want to see more of our series, here is what you missed:

THE “HUMOR AND JOY” SERIES

We begin with::

“PART I: WHY HUMOR?”

(Potentially useful information, and several jokes near the end…)

Next in the series is:

“PART II: RELIGIOUSLY RIDICULOUS CHURCH JOKES”

(Self-explanatory. Yes, almost all jokes.)

“PART III: JOY or HAPPINESS? The JOURNEY, the FOCUS and the LOVE”

Here, we took a closer look at the differences in these related subjects. Each can have a very blessed place in our lives. Hope it gave both food for thought and some encouragement.

Next, we look further at the pursuit of joy—a life-giving aspect of our walk with and for the Lord. We’ll share some papal views and see where scriptures, humor and laughter fit in.

PART IV: “SEEKING JOY

Meanwhile, ENJOY HUMOR, SMILES and LAUGHTER”

Then we focus on a subject that has great humor potential:

“PART V: LAUGHING IN RELATIONSHIPS” (mostly jokes… Really!)

Finally, for our ending, (as in real life) we arrive at…

“PART VI: AGING…” Tread lightly, but Enjoy! (Yes, almost all jokes)


FOOTNOTES:

1.The Third Book of Catholic Jokes, by Deacon Tom Sheridan, p. 55

2.Ibid, p. 51

3.Ibid, p. 52

4.Ibid, p. 34

5.Ibid, p. 41

6.Ibid, p. 37

7.Ibid, p. 57

8. author unknown: prayer card 


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