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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


If you're over 50 you're already receiving magazine and membership offers from AARP.  When mine first showed up a few years ago, I thought it was a joke sent by one of my friends.  I didn't feel old enough to receive anything from AARP (and actually still don't).  But now my mailbox is chock full of senior offers and publications.

The latest is RENAISSANCE MAGAZINE published by the New Jersey Foundation for Aging.  Featured on the cover is an active, happy senior couple riding a bike together.  Looks good, except it doesn't look like a bicycle built for two and one of them is going to wind up with a broken hip if they hit one of the potholes created by the tough winter we've experienced in NJ.  They won't be smiling then for sure.

The cover of RENAISSANCE must have been designed by someone barely out of their twenties.  The little highlighted headlines include Medicare Update, Fitness and Mental Sharpness and Clever Cooking.  Clever cooking?  If you're really clever, you gave up cooking the same year that your last child left the nest. 

But the BIG cover headline was my favorite!

On Your Fitness . On Your Nutrition
On Your Creativity . On Your Technology
On Your Taxes . On Your Volunteerism

I pictured a happy smiling senior woman, munching on a Power Bar, while jogging to her pottery class, stopping by her accountant's on the way.  Oh, and she was twittering all of her friends about her great new volunteer position setting up hiking trips through the Mojave for other active seniors at the same time.  Talk about multi-tasking!  The headline alone left me exhausted!

Let's take them one by one, shall we?

On Your Fitness - Well, I just had a perfect physical, but smashing my leg when I missed three steps and fell in NYC at Christmastime has made me a lot more cautious about every step I take, so I'll skip that one for the moment.

On Your Nutrition - Hmmmm, guess Mallomars for breakfast doesn't work for older folks?  I'll just have to wash mine down with that oh-so-trendy pomegranate juice.

On Your Creativity - Hope my blog covers this one, although I did make some really cool gifts for family and friends this Christmas.  And I am hoping to be more creative with my wardrobe.  But I am finding that I sometimes start a project like cleaning out my closet and CREATE quite a mess and run out of steam before the job is complete.  I guess that falls under the heading of creative.

On Your Technology - I do know how to use a computer, an eReader, an answering machine and a cell phone.  Even a scanner and a fax, and I'm such a dinosaur that I actually had a job that required me to send messages by Telex.  I'm going to have to focus on this area a little since I still can't get the 12:00 to stop flashing on my DVD player.  But since my cable box and cell phone always have accurate time, I don't really need another place to know if it's morning or night.  I have to admit that some of the new technology just gives me a damn headache.  I'm waiting for some young genius to finally invent a true universal remote that will turn on the TV, the cable, the DVD player and Wii for streaming movies from Netflix.  Now that is the technology that someone should be working on, because hunting through seven remotes to watch a movie is just too tiring when you're old. 

On Your Taxes - Wow, that one is a downer and could rob anyone of the strength to focus on fitness, creativity or nutrition.  We'll skip taxes for now since we have until April 15th to get really stressed about them.

On Your Volunteerism - This is a good one.  I've done a lot of volunteering in the past.  I was on a local Board of Education for three years.  I was a board member for Literacy Volunteers of America, the library in the town we lived in before moving to Mendham, and also the Interfaith Food Pantry.  Many many moons ago, I was a very pregnant Pink Lady at Morristown Memorial Hospital while awaiting the arrival of my first son.  With the arrival of children I volunteered to be class mother, cub scout treasurer, and something with the Kick-a-poos.  I've done some other volunteering as well, but with the arrival of AARP magazine and all of the other senior mailings maybe I should volunteer at the local recycling center since seniors are besieged with unsolicited offers and someone has to sort all of those printed publications.

Leafing through RENAISSANCE, you'll find ads for reverse mortgages.  We all know what they are.  They're those lending vehicles that let you spend your children's inheritance BEFORE it's too late!  There are ads for mausoleums; don't think I'm ready for that yet.

There are some informative and some very dull articles, but my favorite was WHAT'S THE WORD.  This article deals with "new" words used by our children or grandchildren.  Words like tweet, chillax, emotional dump (sounds ugly) and unfriend.  They even offer definitions of email shorthand like ROFL which I hope you all know is rolling on the floor laughing.  I personally prefer LMFAO, but then I've always enjoyed a good expletive or two. 

But honestly, folks, we're getting older but hopefully we're not getting STUPIDER.  We know the things we need to focus on and the things that we need to do to protect our futures.  But these magazines just seem to take the fun out of life and the wind out of my sails.  My suggestion to the NJ Foundation for Aging is that they hire some actual SENIOR CITIZENS (I'm using caps so you know I'm yelling) to write some fun articles about things older people love to do, hobbies they looked forward to pursuing when their children were older, friends they wanted to reconnect with and yes, even blogging.


  1. Some good thoughts here, Lynn, especially on technology and words.

    What's needed is any new device that you can purchase, take home, and use without pawing through a half-inch thick instruction manual.
    The worst example of technology run amok (from my perspective) is programmable thermostats. About half the houses in town now have them, but people still use them the same way as those trusty little round Honeywell ones. Each one has a labrynthine sequence of steps for changing its setting and, of course, the manual is hidden in a desk drawer someplace.

    As for pop-culture acronyms (LOL, 'U' for you, and may others), I avoid them along with texting. (I've yet to see the advantage to that except that it's a techie replacement for passing notes in class or study hall. Why type out a two line message on miniature keyboard when you could simply pick up a phone and talk?)

    In this economy, educators are sweating job cuts but deserve to. High school graduates today scarcely know the difference between a plural, a possessive, and a plural possessive. They see a word with a letter 's' on the end and insert an apostrophe whether one's needed or not. But this is off the topic.

    The popular thought is that retirement, and senior citizenship, begins at age 65. AARP, through its membership standards and mailings, has attempted to reduce this by ten years at a time when social security benefit elibibility and most corporate pensions should be increased by that much. (At the inception of old age and survivor's benefits, the age of eligibility was higher than the average life expectancy.) It needs to be indexed to that number to insure the long term viability of Social Security(actually, a government-run Ponzi scheme which would make mega-thief Bernie Madoff look like a petty shoplifter by comparison). My point is this: no one who's working can truly be defined as a 'senior'. That is, if you're seventy and still working, you ain't. You're an older worker, yes, but not a 'senior'.

    'Nuff said.

  2. Both of you have some good points. Dean - Thermostats!! I think there is a blog in you waiting to be written. I can only imagine the amusing stories you would have about your daily experiences. Everyone surely can enjoy life more when they add a dose of humor to their days!

  3. Cald56: Thanks for your words of support. I hadn't actually thought of writing a blog, but now am being encouraged too.

    As for humor, it's part of my business philosophy: "Take what you do seriously (do a good job, provide a worthwhile service, all that) but HAVE A LITTLE FUN WITH IT." That is, there's nothing wrong with a joke or two at your own, your company's, or your industry's expense.

    I've done a little writing professionally and, as a printer, I've done a fair amount of editing of customers' texts, mostly ad copy and employee handbooks. But as a musician, (I play piano acceptably well) I've tried my hand at writing music, too, unsuccessfully. My one tune, a tender, romantic ballad called, "Take my love and shove it up your heart" never took off. Must'a been the lyrics. - Dean

  4. Hay Lynn I got my 1st check yesterday. Today I am a man.


  5. You should watch Jersey Shore! You'll thank god for aging and your own generation!