How It Feels to be a Senior

Health Secrets

Old body, young mind

Hypatia was the daughter of Theon, a Greek mathematician and philosopher in Alexandria, Egypt. She must have been a remarkable woman (who ever said that women’s lib is a 20th century phenomenon?), that she became the head of the Platonist school at Alexandia around 400 AD.

She also said,


“Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.”


It is not known if she was in her 60s when she said this, otherwise she would have realized that no amount of preparation can make you fully comprehend how it feels to be senior.

Only a senior really knows how it feels to be a senior.

You can prepare your retirement nest egg, where to live or die, the things you want to do, or your will. But you could never prepare how it feels when wrinkles start showing on your face and hands, your lower back and knees start hurting, your sugar is sky-high, and your cholesterol level is in the red.

How can you prepare for the day when you start forgetting where your car keys are, or your glasses? Can you prepare for the day when you suddenly have a stabbing pain on the chest, or are left alone at home because your children have moved out and away, your spouse died or separated?

Though I often experience those things at my age, but deep inside I find it hard to accept the mold society has cast us in. Call it self-denial, but the fact is that I still want to experiment, discover, go places and do things I never did before because of more important responsibilities.

Yet, by and large, society, society treats people like us condescendingly. Society thinks we are too old to do this or that, too frail to move around without help, hard of hearing and can be as blind as a bat at noon.

If only they know how disparaging it is to be treated a little less than we really are.


Wrong Perception:

This perception of what a senior is like was handed down from our parents who treated their parents we treated ours, and how our children are treating us now.

It was not a big deal before – it has always been that way anyway – until we are at the receiving end. And it sucks.

Mass media, online and off, is not helping in any way to dispel this erroneous perception of elderly people.

When seniors hit the news it is about abuse, of being online scam victims, of health and care-giving issues, and other things that depict seniors as feeble, helpless, naïve, and a burden.

The blogging world is no different. Most of the blogs I’ve read are about nursing homes, caregivers, end-of-life stuff, and diseases common to seniors – mostly written by authors a few years short of 60 and know nothing how it really feels like to be one.

There are a few exceptions, though. One is Sixty+Me which writes about elderly fashion, make-up, travel, exercise, diet, and just about anything vibrant and lively.
Written by a woman for women, its articles celebrate the joys of being old, alive and healthy – very inspirational and motivating.

Another is Elaine Ambrose who candidly writes about sex and sexuality among middle-aged women, and Louise Hay, who writes excellent articles about life, happiness, relationships and things uplifting to a senior’s often dour life.

These women know how it feels to be a senior and are regularly writing about it.

The rest are ho-hums.


Young Mind, Old Body:

For me, the life of a senior is like a child in an old man’s body.

And we know what children love to do – to have fun, play games, climb trees, crawl under culverts. They experiment, try new thing, taste anything they can lay their hands on. For them, bruises and cuts are nothing as long as they have fun.

So do seniors…in a different way.

“You don’t stop having fund because you get old, you get old because you stop having fun,”tiny buddha.

Seniors don’t climb trees (they simply can’t), or crawl under culverts (ouch!), or eat anything within reach (some do, though). But you can see them having a good laugh at parties, on golf courses, during reunions, in gyms, coffee shops and anywhere else elderly people converge.

The guys I sit with in my regular coffee shop never seem to run out of things to laugh about – even at their own gaffes.

Personally, my life as a senior is fun more than in my younger years. I don’t have bills to worry about, my children have been abducted through marriage and are doing well, and I am technically a bachelor. I can come and go as I please, stay late as much as I can, and spend hours on end in my dating site without the prying eyes of a wife.

Occasionally I get to travel and have as much fun as I can.

Yes, there are medical issues and physical limitations but they are for another day to worry about.


When is Retirement Not Fun


Retirement is fun when…

You are healthy and awash in cash;

Your home is home is mortgage-free and your children are done with college, and are successful in their careers;

Surrounded by supportive children, great friends, and a vibrant social circle;

You have a dozen or so grandchildren jostling each other for a favorite spot near your feet to hear you tell them stories of yore;

You can dine out at least once a week, and a member of a social, health, or sports club;

You can go for a vacation once a year or find a place for solitude anytime you want.

If you check out with some or all of the above, you have done well in life. Congratulations! You did ample preparations way, way before retiring and are now enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Retirement, for you, is fun, enjoyable, and rewarding

But if you are living alone, lonely, sickly, with no social interaction, and no place to go even if you want to, then retirement is definitely not fun. Retirement is boring, and an ordeal, especially if you are living off Social Security.

And there are plenty of them near you. In fact, it is likely that within a mile radius from your home, or favorite health or sports club, are seniors who are having difficulty getting by on a day-to-day basis.

One of them is Barbara Woodruff.


When is Retirement not Fun?

Barbara Woodruff, 62 years old, from St. Louis, MO, lost her job as a cashier, then lost her apartment and car when the recession hit. Unable to find another job, she was forced to avail of Social Security benefits.

Now she is one of 9 out of 10 Americans 65 yrs and older, subsisting on social security.

“It is very difficult,” she says of her $ 633.00/mo, income. She had to skimp so much on her expenses and has to improvise just to get by.

Can you survive on $633.00/mo? I guess not!

Barbara is surviving (but more of that later).

To give you an idea how difficult things are for her and her like, her social security income is well below the average of $1,294.00/mo. This is because she skipped a few contributions due to medical reasons.

But even if she is getting the average, she still has a huge shortfall because the average monthly expenses of a 65-yr-old person living in his mortgage-free home is $1,645.00/mo, according to the advocacy group Wider Opportunities of Women

Retirement is not fun, if month after month you face a gaping hole in your budget and you have no means to fill it.

To survive, Barbara availed of subsidized housing which cost her $ 189.00/mo, for a one-bedroom apartment. Then she spends $33.00/month for food stamps, $45.00/mo for cell phone service, and $35.00 on internet service. The rest goes for medicines for her thyroid and cholesterol conditions, and for emergencies.

“My social life is virtually non-existent,” she says. “I can do dinner at a friend’s house or occasionally I might go out if it’s someplace cheap, but going out for drink or dinner, I just can’t do that anymore.”

Retirement is not fun if you have no freedom to choose.


It could be Worse:

Man is a complaining animal. Nothing is ever good to us. We always find something to complain about, be dissatisfied with. We think the other guy is better off than us; that we should have what is due us.

Well, next time you lose your appetite, or don’t like your lunch or dinner, remember that a lot of retirees with practically nothing to eat.

According to the NCOA (National Commission on Aging), in 2014, 10.2 million Americans, 15.8% of adults aged 60+, faced the threat of hunger.

If you have problems sleeping because something is wrong with your bed, pillows, or bed sheets, remember that 4.5 million seniors, 65 + have no homes or living in shelters.

Despite having the resources to go out and enjoy, you still feel bored with life, remember that millions of retirees like you are barely surviving.

If you feel lonely and alone, there are no less than 11 million adults, 65 + who live alone and isolated.

I opted to retire from a comfortable and well-paying job with lots of perks and international travel. I was sick with office politics. I thought it better to put my retirement fund into an investment portfolio.

I imagined doing nothing but enjoy retirement life while my investment would regularly deposit interest earnings into my bank account.

I was never more wrong. It was a very fatal mistake.

My investment collapsed right before my eyes, like ice cream under a noonday sun.

All my wife’s jewelries were pawned, never to be redeemed. I scrounged for money for my daily needs, plus my children’s school allowance and tuition fees. Ultimately I borrowed money to put my daughter through medical school

That was the most harrowing time in my life. It made me promise never to put myself into such situation again.

Both my children finished college, and are now married and having their own lives. And I am finally having fun in my retirement.

How is that for a happy ending? Can you say the same of yours?


Health Secrets


A Superb Weekend of Sand, Sea and Sky with My Beautiful Children

Health Secrets

Son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, son (l to r)

Son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, son (l to r)

What makes you happy?

I mean really happy even the passage of time cannot diminish the forming of a smile of joyful contentment on your old and wrinkled face each time you think about it?

Call me corny or overly melodramatic, but mine was the superb weekend with my children where we immersed ourselves in sand, sea and sky within a bubble of pure, unadulterated togetherness.

What made it extra memorable is where we spent it in – in Hennan Resort in Panglao, Bohol, Philippines.

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Exercise: The Fun and Invigorating way of Growing Old

Have you seen a senior citizen doing tai chi looking grouchy and grumpy at the same time?

Or crying while he’s brisk walking; or bitching about life while putting his loving touch to his flower garden?

I am sure not. It’s like salt sprinkled on the icing of a yummy hazelnut chocolate cake.

It’s because exercise, or any physical activity, has the transforming power of making a lethargic and boring day to a sweat-drenched and invigorating one.

Read more