Cumberland Times-News

Maude McDaniel - Living

June 1, 2014

Signs of aging and what comes with it

It’s been awhile since I last informed you of new signs of old age, and meanwhile none of us have gotten any younger. (I’m working on it, I’m working on it.) I find one of the best things I can do to stay young is to read the obituaries. It reminds you that you are still alive and there are times in one’s life when that can be a serious concern. Of course, the trick is to avoid reading the obituaries for people you know, first checking the pictures for familiar faces. But for the folks you never met, they are remarkably invigorating, especially if they were older than you are. It gives you a goal in life — and we all need goals, right?



For instance, here’s a remarkably livelylooking (by elderly standards ) chap who has died when he was a year older than you. Bingo, a short-term goal right there before you on the page. Only a year! You can do it, Maude, you can do it! He looks like a nice guy too, aged gracefully, no doubt. There, see? Oops. He seems to have had dementia problems — oh well, you win some you lose some. Probably the secret is NOT to read the obituary.



Another way to adjust to the advance of old age is not to fight it. I realize this is against all revealed wisdom, and you do have to fight it a little — screaming and yelling all the way helps — but sometimes you just have to remind yourself, “Okay, I am 84” (or whatever) “and I have no great investment in getting to be 85. If it happens, it happens and, by the way, yippee — otherwise, so be it.”



And here’s a little secret that goes against all the revealed wisdom of our time, but I believe it — oh, do I believe it! Take it easy on the exercise, guys. Our bones have only so much give and take, and if you spend it all before you get old, you have no account to draw on in the later years. I look around at my friends and I see several who have been exercising faithfully for years, and, by golly, I can kick my legs higher than they can. (Assuming you need to kick your legs, which I have never understood, since I sit in one place reading a lot.) I know exactly one woman my age who still exercises according to Hoyle and, in fact, actually leads exercise classes in her elderly residential community. I gladly surrender to her for her success at aging gracefully, and with enviable muscle tone. Otherwise I know few folks my age, who exercised faithfully when they were young, who do not have aches and pains similar to
mine, and in some cases, worse. (Not to crow, but, “I told you so!” Which is, I guess, to crow. Sorry about that.) And really, there are advantages to old age. I was reading some women’s magazines (not to be confused with girls’ magazines) recently, and the longer I read them, the more liberated I felt. True, there are things you’d like to do that you can’t anymore. But, by the evidence in those magazines, there are oh, roughly a million or so, things you don’t need to do, nor feel guilty about not doing.



For instance, I don’t need to hang my scarves from a ladder in the closet. No doubt a fun idea for young folks, but, honest, I’ve gotten past that. I don’t need to add peanut butter to my s’mores. (Actually, I never liked s’mores to begin with but was ashamed to admit it. Now I’m going public with my shame. “Folks, I hate s’mores.” Like cupcakes, they are too darn sweet.) I couldn’t care less about one magazine’s suggestion that I rent a convertible for a weekend and ride around with the top down! Borrrrring! (And hard on the hair.) I don’t want to cut off a pair of jeans and “distress” it with sandpaper to make a “perfectly ‘worn-in’ ” pair of shorts for the summer. I just don’t want to, that’s all. And I have absolutely no desire to “bring out my inner child” with a bunch of removeable tattoos. Thanks again, but no thanks!



You can be sure that I was reading respectable magazines. There are others who would list must-dos for you that would be exactly the opposite of any kind of behavior you would not mind being caught doing! My point here, folks, is that at my age I are old enough not to have to do anything I don’t want to do. Which is most of the stuff that they recommend in magazines. (Exactly the reason I am letting my subscriptions for several of them lapse when the time comes. Assuming they don’t trick me into resubscribing again, without knowing it, which has been known to happen. There is no persecution like what you get from a magazine whose subscription you are trying to cancel!) Now I should mention that there are advantages to being old. I rarely buy clothes anymore, because I have about 40 years of stuff collected and when I get to the end of it, I just start all over again, and nobody notices. I have gotten compliments recently on a new outfit that was roughly co-existent with the Vietnam War.



I leave you with a few words of wisdom that I saw stuck to the back of a car recently : “What if the hokey-pokey IS what it’s all about?”

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.

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Maude McDaniel - Living
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    July 27, 2014

  • July gotcha down? Maybe these will help

    •In a hospital's Intensive Care Unit, patients always died in the same bed on Sunday morning, at about 11:00 a.m., regardless of their medical condition. This puzzled the doctors and some even thought it had something to do with the super natural. No one could solve the mystery as to why the deaths occurred around 11 a.m. Sunday, so a worldwide team of experts was assembled to investigate the cause of the incidents. The next Sunday morning, a few minutes before 11 a.m. all of the doctors and nurses nervously waited outside the ward to see for themselves what the terrible phenomenon was all about. Some were holding wooden crosses, prayer books, and other holy objects to ward off the evil spirits. Just when the clock struck 11, Pookie Johnson, the part-time Sunday sweeper, entered the ward and unplugged the life support system so he could use the vacuum cleaner.

    July 13, 2014

  • Hiccup cure you may find hard to swallow

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    June 28, 2014

  • She learned to laugh with relatives’ help

    Sometimes there are people in our lives whom we have never credited with all the influence they had on us when we were growing up.And now it is too late to thank them personally. I am about 50 years past due on this one (or two) but maybe somehow, somewhere they will get a hint of it — and — smile. Fondly, I think..

    June 15, 2014

  • Signs of aging and what comes with it

    It’s been awhile since I last informed you of new signs of old age, and meanwhile none of us have gotten any younger. (I’m working on it, I’m working on it.) I find one of the best things I can do to stay young is to read the obituaries. It reminds you that you are still alive and there are times in one’s life when that can be a serious concern. Of course, the trick is to avoid reading the obituaries for people you know, first checking the pictures for familiar faces. But for the folks you never met, they are remarkably invigorating, especially if they were older than you are. It gives you a goal in life — and we all need goals, right?

    June 1, 2014

  • Torn between failing in two different fields

    Which do I like better, singing or writing?
    That's a tough question to answer.
    Singing's got it all over writing as far as when I started (at about 5 in the church choir) but writing is certainly a close second. I have somewhere a collection of poems that I wrote from about eight on and I have the feeling that they are lost for a reason! As I remember, they were pretty awful, not at all the kind of effort an aspiring writer would be proud to quote 75 years later!

    May 19, 2014

  • Bad habits are hard to eliminate — but try

    Somebody mentioned smoking on these pages recently, so I thought I'd put in my own two cents on the subject. I started smoking in college, during exam week. The problem was that I was too busy during the rest of the year ever to stop and study for my courses — at least that is what I told myself — because I worked almost every night on the college newspaper. So when exam time kicked in, I threw some all-nighters for study. And the best way to stay awake all night (especially if you don't regularly smoke) is to, well, smoke.

    May 4, 2014

  • Trivial questions you don’t have to answer

    Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.

    April 20, 2014

  • Rusty writes about the nature of doghood

    I am a dog.
    Therefore I bark.
    I don’t understand why it is so hard for humans to understand this.
    I mean, there are certain things that come with the territory, right?

    April 5, 2014

  • Free-range reminiscing and occasional nostalgia

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    March 22, 2014

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