Not So Golden
Off the Wall, October 23,

Every time a number of us seniors get together, the words ‘golden years’ enter the picture. I haven’t talked to an individual yet who agrees that living beyond 65 is really ‘golden.’ There will be those whom will tell others that their best years in life came prior to their present ages.

Each of us can remember when we started courting our mates, for example. It wasn’t always ‘love at first sight,’ that’s not to say that this didn’t happen. In my opinion, most of us grew into loving the person that’s come to be a partner up to the present date.

I can only talk from a personal point of view, I’ve experienced several golden years, and others I regretfully state were not that at all. But maybe in a sense they taught me lessons that are keeping me walking the straight and narrow rather than down roads of ill repute.

So then, what can we say about our lives as being seniors? There are the retired who are having the time of their lives. They are traveling all over the world, sightseeing, and mingling with neighbors of foreign tongue. Some elders are physically starting to feel certain aches and pains that eluded them ten years ago. And still there are others who have found themselves doing strange things which deserve laughs by both the persons committing the acts and onlookers, as well.

Last month, I put out my first survey of the year asking participants to finish a sentence I started. It went like this: “You know when you have reached old age when you_____________. I finished the statement by declaring as an example, “… go into another room and I forget why I went there!” It didn’t take long to hear those woes of ages past.

The first to jump on the bandwagon was Reverend Thalamus Bohitsmus of Delaware, MD. He ended the sentence with two statements: “…when life stops being fun,” and “…when your doctor agrees with you.”

Erica Gudhart, from Chesterfield, VA, quoted her grandmother: “…when you get up and go got up and went.”

“When it takes a full minute or more to come up with the name of a person, word or item you see or use regularly,” said “Smiley Hargreaves, Wichita, KS. She added, “Seems like it has to go around the whole circuit of my brain before it will come out.”

Phillip Bustar, Blue Hill, ME, stated, “When you try to screw the cap of your toothpaste tube on the toothbrush, you know those years are upon you.”

“When I go to answer the phone, and I pick up the stapler instead and put that to my ear,” said John Haines of Des Moines, IA.

Michelle Miller, Nogshead, NH, had many idea come to mind by stating, “…give up one’s driver’s license, restricted in daily activities, the only time one gets out of the house is to go to the doctors, all one’s friends has passed on, and your family doesn’t have time for you or your stories.”

Another pastor responded to my inquiry. Reverend Luke J. Titus, residing in Armhurtz, FL, stated, “You know you have reached old age when you: Order at the counter at McDonalds and automatically get a Senior’s Cup!”

Teresa Finetuch, New York, NY, definitely spelled out the wisdom God had given her by commenting, “Age is a mental state; your joints let you know it’s also a physical state.”

Computer whiz Timothy Patkohovich, Pittsburgh, said, “I knew it when I hit the so-called golden years. I was on my way to my computer room and found myself in the kitchen eating lunch instead!”

Even yours truly found myself caught up in the ‘not-so-golden’ years. Just the other day, I was leaving a dark room after procuring my camera where upon closing the door behind me, I turned on the light. All I could do was laugh. Sometimes that bit of emotion helps us all gets past the moment as we head forward to the next unexpected set of situations in the very near future.

Do we want them to happen? Of course not. But we have to expect and accept them as learning guidelines. Could it be that what just happened to the folks mentioned above taught them something? Some will accept that bit of wisdom, while will let their tempers flare. The latter is not worth it.

Believe me when I tell you, slow down. Think things through. Then proceed with caution.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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