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The luckiest get to grow old

My friend, Bud Brand, sent me another of his poems that fit the Aging column:

I wish I were a genius,

But that is not my fate.

It’s sad that old age comes so fast,

And wisdom comes so late.

I can vouch for that statement and sometimes fool myself by believing that I had more wisdom a few years back, but that I’ve only forgotten. Forgetting is very true but not, in my case, for having insufficient wisdom.

I spent some time researching this topic of old age and found one definition that seems to cover all the bases. It was by Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman in 2009. I’ve consolidated his points. Please read the following and see if agree or have more to add:

Tranquility: You accept old age because you wanted to and are fortunate. No longer have to be pushing, striving and struggling. (We do know that not all old folks have that good fortune.)

Cooling of passion: Don’t rush to act quickly.

Act of submission: Accept the unalterable.

Liberation from having to set everything straight: You accept the possibility that your interpretation may be wrong.

Gratitude: Conscious of good luck you’ve had and the many people who helped, and do help you; it’s the human connectedness.

Greater involvement with family: No longer afraid of death. (I’m very lucky; every Sunday morning from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., we, two sons, a daughter and me are together on Skype).

While we are on six points, let me add “6 Reasons that say is why Okinawans live to be older than we in the U.S.:

They exercise more both physically and mentally.

Their diet is low in salt, high in fruits and vegetables, and contains plenty of fiber and antioxidants.

Although they consume more soy than any other population on earth, it is not CMO soy as grown in the U.S., and is not genetically modified.

They don’t overeat and eat considerably less than we do.

They don’t suffer from dementia or senility because of a diet high in Vitamin E.

They are kept respected and an integral part of their economy. They are highly valued in older age.

There are many psychological studies that support the premise that happiness is a factor in living a long life. I believe that too and feel that a couple simple statements bear that out:

We can be happier if we choose to look at the brighter side of life. We may have to go just a bit further in examining the issue, but there is a brighter side to almost every debatable issue.

We can be happier when we are helping others, the human interconnectedness that Rabbi Haberman cited. I experienced it personally in driving many years for Senior Connections and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Both welcome volunteers.

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@