I am not writing this from death's dark door — not there yet. The severity and decreased physical condition alerts me that my day will come in the foreseeable future. My doctor for the last 25 years, Gene Karwoski, seemed more than a little impressed with a book he has read, "Being Mortal" by Atul Guwande. The book impressed me as well and caused me to begin this life summary as I deal with my final years. In retrospect, I think Dr. Karwoski may have been nudging me to read it. With my life experience, in retrospect, I need to say that my first good luck was being a white male.
Oh come to the church in the vale. Those days are passed for most of us, especially as old as the writer of this piece. Our little church was centered in the Wisconsin Lucas Valley middle and about three-quarters of a mile walk for me, the little farm boy who lived off Highway 29 up a forested coulee. We didn't have a car available; that meant walking for us after the cows were milked, fed, watered and other chores were completed.
I'm in the "know how" now. I'm not just old enough to be a new member of the Lighthouse of Superior, but I'm with other folks that are aging too. So, I write this piece with a wee bit more perspective. I'm comfortably housed, eating very good and wholesome meals with folks like me that have hearing problems and other problems that come with age. Some of them, I knew from work, neighborhoods, organizations, or other passions or pastimes. There are fewer of us now, but that is well understood because of deaths.
Is anything more important? My answer is no, no. A thousand times no. two friends can receive the same message and react totally different. A fella named, Charles Swindoll, wrote a poem that I've kept to remind me how important attitude is: The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes than what other people think, say or do.
I wish all U.S. voters could and would read such articles as the one published March 17 in the Superior Telegram. Most U.S. citizens believe our country to be exceptional. This reported incident was tacit proof that we still have a long way to go to fulfill that expectation.
The Telegram editor may be wondering when I'll be too old to submit articles or when her readers may express a need for change. It's been a long, long trail and humor has been used frequently. I've kept a file and couldn't believe that there were 12 copies that had been retained. Humor is very important in our lives. Victor Borge said, "Laughter is the closest distance between two people." E.E. Cummings said, "The most wasted of all days is the one without laughter."
Some people believe that world population is not a problem. I am especially surprised at those in light of the world's immigration problems we are facing right now. It is caused by war, but we've always had wars too with no prediction for that to discontinue. Most of the following information on this subject, I have taken by computer: worldpopulationbalance.org. They used mainly the Executive Summary of World Population Prospects, 2004 and later revisions. Let's look at some frequently questions asked on this subject:
Forgetting is something that most people dislike. It reminds them of growing old. It even reminds them of unpleasant things that can happen to them like Alzheimer's. Not a pleasant topic to consider by any stretch of the imagination. Selecting this topic, I felt, was appropriate. I'm 92 years old and forgetting is a difficulty that has overtaken me. A number of readers who have commented on reading my articles are in the aging bracket too, even though not many at my level.
In an earlier column, I pointed out how my life has contained so many lucky bumps up. Because of space limitations, all my good luck couldn't be included. Growing old, in itself, is good luck as so many, unfortunately, don't have that good luck opportunity.
As a graduate of the University of Minnesota, I was recently asked to make some comments about the process of growing old. The university's Graduate Bulletin would have me send some thoughts in. I've had several of my Telegram articles on this subject, and it prompted me to wonder how you readers think about this growing old; many of you are doing that right now. The Bulletin provided some questions that might help with those thoughts: What do you know now that you wish you had known earlier? What does old feel like? What's the best thing?