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JACK SIMPSON: Growing older means collecting experiences

Life is full of simple pleasures. The older I get, the more of them I like to experience. For instance, one of the first things I like to do each morning around 5:30 a.m. is have breakfast with my spouse and read the daily newspapers, including the obits. I know I cannot remain 21 years old forever, but I want to make sure I am still not among the deceased of the day!

Old-timers have a reputation of forgetting stuff. A doctor, Michael Ramscar, has studied this belief and he is of the opinion that maybe we do not forget but it just takes longer to recall the past. Hey, we still got it! Our brains are so full of information that we take longer to search back for memories. By not being in the obits, there is no hurry. Stick with us. We will remember and even some stuff that may never have happened.

You know what is embarrassing is when eating in your favorite restaurant someone you know walks up to speak to you. Try as hard as you can, but their name escapes you. You cannot remember who this individual is until maybe later after a passage of time and a chance to search your memory.

Meanwhile, play it cool. Do not say anything foolish, stay gentle and look like you still have all of your marbles. Sooner or later all will be well and you will remember who just came to your table to greet you! Hey, that was old Joe. I just did not recognize him behind that beard and under that baseball cap. You are older, he is older and, after all, aging is the only way to live a long life. Neither of you is yet in the obits, huh?

George Bernard Shaw said, “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old. You grow old when you stop laughing.” Just because you did not remember old Joe at the time does not mean you are in a state of mental decline. You are slower to respond. Laugh it off and go on and enjoy your day.

Face it. Seniors experience changes, some physical and some psychological. We have a lifetime of experience and remembering it takes time. Some of us will die from old-age causes like cardiovascular problems and diabetes. Some of us will be trying to remember as we read the obits and thank God for another day to continue living a happy, full life with our loved ones.

Now we will not have forever, but we can keep reading obits and promoting good health by remaining active, eating a healthy diet, reducing weight, not abusing alcohol, tobacco or illegal substances and controlling stress. Have a nice day.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.