Patrick
Kennedy
 

Patrick M. Kennedy (P Manvel Kennedy) has been a professional writer, editor, and graphic artist for over 30 years. He is the author of two books: How to Have Fun with Retirement and his latest book Being a Senior Citizen: You rnew phase of life with many questions looking for answers. He currently works from Boise, Idaho. In the past he has worked from Seattle, Indianapolis, and Las Vegas. He keeps busy because he knows it is important when writing or editing any material with a particular objective in mind, for either personal use or business goals, to present ideas with quality, clarity and accuracy. He can do that, and he does most of it himself, but he occasionally must call upon qualified associates for assistance.

"My Resume shows me as an experienced professional writer and editor who specializes in the English language. With years of professional experience in the writing/editing/graphics field, I offer quality services to both individual and business clients, with prompt and accurate solutions designed to meet their needs, and online editing services and writing services for easy and quick results. www.abetterword.com

Picture This


Your feet are up resting on the rail of a balcony overlooking the ocean’s rolling tide, with the multi-colored glowing sunset shining on your smiling face. The birds are chirping on nearby green and budding trees and occasionally dark silhouettes of a few of them fly between you and the distant glow. You lean out from your lounge chair and set your favorite beverage on the small table next to you; you nestle down in the chair; you adjust the just-purchased sunglasses; you fold your arms; and you can’t help the smile on your face from growing longer and wider.

Pictures like this are dreams that have come true; or dreams of wishes you hope come true. You have either worked hard to get there, or are now working hard to get there. Seniors and soon-to-be seniors have different levels of these pictures; either the full color of reality or the black-and-white of wishes yet to come true.

Pictures for seniors come in two forms; dreams of the future, and memories of the past. Dreams come from one source, hopes and wishes for a fine future. Memories come from dozens of sources and ages, both good and bad, and are building blocks for the excellent future. Some you can do and make come true, and some you can’t. As they say, ‘that’s when the rubber hits the road,’ some roll on and some don’t. “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort,” said Jesse Owens. Oh Oh! That sounds like work, and we seniors know from years of experience that nothing comes for free, or easy, and are handed to us on a silver platter. Whoops, there’s that sunset again beckoning to you from a distant vision lodged someplace in the memory bank of the brain. If it would only come true; but the fact is, “You have to dream before your dreams can come true,” said Abdul Kalam the former President of India and freedom fighter. The idea is to not disregard those dreams but use them for a plan for the future.

Now back to those memories. Memories are what we are or have been, and that is a fine place to start building the future. “Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them,” sang Bob Dylan, but that isn’t in actual fact true if you are a senior starting over and not a teenager fiddle-dee-deeing away the time waiting for the next memory. After all, a memory is the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience, the act or an instance of remembering; recollection. A senior probably remembers sitting on the balcony leaning against the railing on one day of vacation … it was heaven then and can be again with a little planning and foresight. The idea is for a senior to dig back into that memory bank and find those bits of heaven that ought to be created for the future, or at least given a good examination.

Or picture this; maybe what you are doing now is all you want to do. Feet up on your lounge chair, the TV on and maybe a book in your hand, and the freedom to do whatever, whenever you want to. You have your friends and family around you, the house is all paid for, your bowling or bridge team is winning, golf is something you have always wanted to learn or at least take more time perfecting that walk in the sun.

Or picture this – you can change if you want to; or you can stay the same if you want to.

Paradise


What is paradise for seniors? In common terms it would be the state of ecstasy, delight, joy, bliss or even seventh heaven, although many don’t want to go there quite yet. It is conceptually a counter-image of the supposed miseries of human civilization, a senior’s life in this case. In simpler terms, it is what makes a senior happy? “But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?” said Albert Camus. And that is a good question. The life a senior leads dictates the level of happiness, or none if that is the case, and that should be the goal: good things in life.

Maybe it could it be as simple as remembering the good old days? Sometimes these memories can bring one out of the doldrums. There were a lot of good things that happened to this point. Family, friends, special events, parties, even as far back as school and even when you were a cheerleader or an end on the football team, they all enter into the happiness category. Maybe that time you decided to learn to play a musical instrument and you joined the school band. Perhaps just going over old photos can bring a senior out of the gray skies and into the sunlight. Remember when; remember when; remember when, it can spark a light that can turn into a smile.

What do you want? Fewer candles on the cake at the birthday party; same discount rate at the grocery store you get at the movie theater; the looks and energy of a teenager? Or is that just and a dream of real paradise, or just wishful thinking? Maybe paradise can’t totally happen, but close is OK too. Getting as much as possible toward the goal of happiness, little things here and there can add up over time.

Good health is one thing that can be controlled to some extent. First, taking the medications the doc prescribes to control blood pressure and maybe diabetes is a good start. Watching the numbers on the weight scale grow less and less will be a help. One way to do this of course is watching the diet. Cut out the two or three cupcakes with the morning coffee is a start and replace them with a health bar; leave the beer in the refrigerator; and the candy bowl goes into the trash. A little exercise will help, but not too much, just enough to keep the muscles flexible and the heart healthy as well as dropping a few calories. Plain old walking will be OK here, start slow and short and go longer and further as time goes on. Yes, you have heard all this before and maybe you are already doing it, but do it with a smile on your face and convince yourself your goal is paradise.

Quit spending so much of your little income on things you don’t really need. A little money in the bank creates a comfort zone and allows less worrying, thus a more easy going existence. Not really ecstasy, delight, joy, bliss or even seventh heaven, but a little closer. “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you’re being miserable,” said Clare Boothe Luce. But the idea here is to get beyond miserable and be a little better than you are now.

Just plain relaxing is a key to this goal, and sitting back with eyes closed in sort of a meditative state for about fifteen-, twenty-minutes a day can help in this. Even if you play a little soft music at the time and ride the notes around the room in your minds, it helps. “You are the music while the music lasts,” said T. S. Eliot. Even work your hobby with that music playing.

Paradise isn’t the Garden of Eden or Heaven on Earth or Pie in the Sky because it is attainable; it is just a good personal attitude that guides life day by day through trying times to a higher level. To many seniors retired life can be very trying, but that must be brushed aside and made inconsequential, practice doing better things that you enjoy … and don’t forget to smile.

Life is good


As retired seniors we can do what we want, when we want, and where we want to do it. It’s almost like being a hap-hazard, the devil-may-care kid again. Of course, there are some restrictions: like health, money, transportation, companionship, and then the big factor, the energy to do whatever, whenever, and wherever. But it’s not a hallucination of things that are in fantasy land, it is right there at our fingertips. The key to this dream is to wake up and do it. Decisions and self-discipline must take over; gee, it almost sounds like work again. However it really is a job to get off our fanny and have fun. If you have a mate, a partner, you can talk it over and plan it with them. If you don’t, maybe you can find a friend to talk it over with. Or, the ultimate decision and predicament, can you do all this by your little self?

Buck up and go at it; make plans, make lists, gather your resources and inventory of what can and cannot be fun to use or take with you if it is a trip you are planning. And if it’s a trip, chart the plan on a map … or not … maybe just pack a bag and get in the car and drive, or hop a plane or train and get somewhere else other than TV land and a can of beer.

Although maybe it’s not even a trip you have in mind but another fantasy … maybe a hobby or planting a garden or just building a patio and barbeque in the back yard so you can have parties. Making new friends or entertaining the ones you have is always a good plan. Burgers and dogs grilling on a barbeque create a hypnotic aroma that blends all personalities into one good time. Throw in a few beers and a game of horseshoes or croquet in the backyard, or even the front, and it generates laughter at a fever pitch.

You don’t have a yard or a house, you say, only an apartment or condo is where I live. Well the party just has to get a little smaller and the kitchen stove, and many times the kitchen itself, becomes the center of gossip and life-saving serious chit-chat about non-important things.

Maybe all that activity of traveling and partying isn’t your cup of tea, as they say. An easy-going hobby might be just the thing to keep the mind in high spirits. Painting with oils or watercolors is one thing, wood carving another, sculpting old junk into odd hunks of art is another, or building bird houses for the neighbor’s and park’s trees is another, or writing that great American novel for the world to read is a time-consuming and maybe rewarding undertaking. In any of these fun tasks your imagination just takes over and you are a step out of reality and in a fun place.

This issue of spare time brings up another solution to keeping busy. Volunteering for some activities in the area can fill some of this void; working at the church, or for charities, or even the humane society taking care of lost pets, or if you drive delivering Meal on Wheels is a good thing for other seniors, or even baby sitting or house sitting for the neighbors helps yourself and them.

Nevertheless, this life is good no matter what you do. But as D. H. Lawrence said, “Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.” And how each of us spends that time of life is a personal decision: either doing things, or not doing things. Sometimes just sitting around doing well-deserved nothing, or reading a book, or even watching TV is doing something, your decision. This being a senior thing is not so bad after all.

Past – Present – Future


There were so many keen things in the past for today’s seniors. The lowdown of this snazzy earlier period will be a wacky and juicy journey, and fun, and will open your blinkers to many past dreams and familiarities. The memories will blow your wig. The first thing that comes to mind is the Golden Age of Radio and all those dingy radio shows you used to listen to as a family while gathered around the old white-enamel radio sitting on the souvenir cabinet in the living room. Fibber Magee and Molly, The Shadow (‘Only the Shadow knows’), Amos ‘n’ Andy, Adventures of the Thin Man, Abbott and Costello (‘Hey Abbott!’ or ‘Who’s on First?’), Gunsmoke, and music by Artie Shaw, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Glen Miller and Louis Armstrong, to name only a few. Usually a half-an-hour at a time trip into another world, and your mind would forget all the problems around you.

No TV in the real old days, but oh the movies that drew you downtown to the movie house. Lust for Life; The Treasure of Sierra Madre; Arsenic and Old Lace; musicals like Show Boat, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Singing in the Rain; The Mummy; Anne Frank; A Bridge Too Far; and stars Clark Gable, John Wayne, James Stewart, Boris Karloff, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Debra Kerr, Ava Gardner, and the young and older Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney – and all if it came with popcorn you could afford without taking out a second mortgage on the home. And the drive-ins! What fun! Oh, the rummaging through nostalgia is nice, but what Ralph Waldo Emerson said leads us to the next exploration, “With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.”

The present is so much easier for seniors to deal with because it is right there where they can reach out and touch it and deal with it. At least most of it, except the wishes and what-ifs and the ‘woulda’, ‘coulda’, ‘shoulda’ factors. You woulda changed your life if you coulda known what you shoulda done differently. You won’t know now anyhow. So you might as well enjoy what you have and try not to get stuck on the treadmill to nowhere. Or, you wish you could lose some weight. Well, you can, it still is now and not then and tomorrow you could be thinner. Or, you wish you had more money. Well, you can if you want to work for it, but that sounds like work and not retirement. What if we had moved to warmer climate after retirement? Maybe you still can, if you have that extra money you may have to work for.

Movies are still around in all the Cineplex’s with seating for hundreds at six to sixteen shows in one building and some open 24-hours each day. The movies are in Cinemascope, Cinerama, about Sin-Sin and Action-Action, in 3D that attacks you in your seat, with dozens of actors you’ve never heard of before but will see over and over again, and popcorn and soda and unknown candy assortments that cost much more than the ticket. They are a fun trip and worth it to keep your blood flowing and almost better than TV.

TV these days will entertain you 24-hours a day. There’s no test pattern at midnight, and hundreds of channels are available traveling to you through cables and satellites for the price of monthly admission called a bill. Movies from all the ages as well as new ones just out of the theaters; games shows for every age and education level; regular programming of comedies, mysteries, crimes, documentaries, sports, and 24-hours news. But you know all this because it is just a few feet in front of your lounge chair. Of course, you could follow the advice of Groucho Marx who had a long running show of his own, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

The future is a mystery that will never be reached and never solved. It is always there in front of you. You can make plans for it, make lists of things to do today, layout vacation plans and make reservations at a nice resort, and then your plans could change because the car won’t start, or you stub your toe and have to go to the clinic. The future is kind of a hidden door between now and then that you can’t open to reveal its true identity. It’s only manifested in the dreams we have about how it will be. “The future ain’t what it used to be,” said everyman’s philosopher, Yogi Berra. And for many seniors that is very true. It used to be thoughts of relaxation and coming down from a life of stress and work and money worries. The only answer is to lay back and keep the dream alive, however possible. That sounds like work, but the reward is bliss. But one psychologist, Wayne Dyer, said, “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.”

I Hate Work


Sounds like a line Ralph Kramden, Jackie Gleason, would say in the Honeymooners: and follow with a belly roar Har Har Hardee Har. I know some of you are going to think that is a crazy statement. Work got us to where we are now: Retired, happy, a nice home, a little income coming in, and a universe of free time. Actually it comes down to that one thing, a little income coming in, and toss in a universe of free time: Time to do things and little enough income to do them. That’s where ‘I hate work’ enters the retirement puzzle because a lot of happily retired citizens have to search the blue skies and back alleys for some kind of meager part-time employment (work) to have the fun we dreamed about. Just remember what Albert Camus said ‘Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.’ If you decide you need to do this, be careful.

Men/Women Wanted. . Man or Woman Wanted For. . Circle and call. Circle and call. Not today, sorry! All filled up today, call again tomorrow or when you grow younger or own an American car. You can’t demand. You have to request and beeeee pleasant and have a silk suit and tie on your tongue. A button-down brain cluttered with toothy smiles and polished pleases. Your applications probably are stashed in file drawers all over town between chopped olive sandwiches and Mary Missy Sanitary napkins. You are too experienced and that is a negative for most of the jobs available for your situation … retired.

A job in the ‘Lost and Found’ at the bus depot sounds inviting. Dusty odd items stacked and hung throughout the room: Cubbyholes and oaken drawers with numbers and dates above brassy handles; alphabetical hooks and shelves that circle the room. A collector of the small things people forget. Any retiree can do that and maybe even dig up some old memories. You could have treasures that people are hunting for; it’s a position of power. No one but you can decipher the notes you take to find that lost ring or keychain. If you get sick and have to stay home they would have to close down the shop. What security! What power!

Sometimes you will spend the afternoons scanning for jobs in the HELP WANTED’S. It is something to pass the time, so you pull out your pad and paper from the Formica table top office and play your own game with your own rules. WANTED: A delivery boy who owns his own store. WANTED: Dental Assistant. Must own a welding set. WANTED: Dependable, trustworthy young person for a reputable collection agency: Must own a car with bullet-proof glass.

Then you wonder if you really want to go back to work? Oh the pain of it all. Sometimes you aren’t so sure. Your Social Security and retirement checks have been enough to pay the rent and buy the basic munchies with a clip full of coins left over to tip a few beers. ‘Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else,’ said Coach George Halas. That pretty much sums it up. Most retirees would like to be doing exactly that … doing something else and avoiding the daily hum drum of taking on work again. Of course, taking on a work job has some positive sides to it but they are too few to list here.

Happy Talk Or: The Future Can Be Better


Oh, it’s so much fun being retired and having the freedom to wake up when you want and to be able to eat what you want, when you want. No more alarm clocks, no more commutes, no more office or plant stuff, or punching time-card stuff. The past is there and done, and as you age into the present you find that all the other ages are behind you, but not lost. Experience can make the future better.

You are talking about the future, bragging about the past, and listening to your friends doing the same things. You plan that trip, that project, or the hobby you wanted to do and can do now because you have the time to fritter away. You meet those new friends that you never had time for before, and you find they have the same ideas and plans and dreams as you.

Sitting there next to a flowing river or tidal salt sea-water shore, you say to yourself, “that tide or river flow can take me anywhere I want to go. They move through time so free; why can’t that be me?”

Remember the lyrics to that old song? ‘Happy talk, Talk about things you like to do.

You got to have a dream, If you don’t have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?’ Well, that’s a good philosophy to follow in retirement. Have a dream and make it come true. It’s all up to you. Optimism, hope, confidence should be the operative words for an in-high spirits retirement.

You worked and spent time for many years, maybe at one job, or maybe at several, and juggled tasks like a circus performer. They all got done and your chest swelled with pride. Now you have just one task; being as happy and content as you can find the time for and can afford. You remember all the fun and games you had in childhood, but then as the middle ages took over your life, the work controlled it all. Now, believe it or not, the fun and games can be back. You can be a child again, at heart if not in body motions, and play games and frivol away the time. Of course, some self control must be maintained. You can’t go out and throw rocks at the garage door or the cat next door. Climbing trees is out of the question and a tricycle is too small. Riding a bike is permissible and a healthy thing to do.

The one word and mental condition that must be avoided is that evil spirit – boredom. ‘Perhaps the world’s second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore,’ said Sir Cecil Beaton of British fame. So it’s a two-way street. Keeping busy things on your agenda will eliminate boredom, but don’t overdo it and bore others with your projects and plans. Happiness is the goal. ‘Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence,’ said Aristotle several hundred years ago. Wonder if he was retired when he said that. Happy talk is part of it, but happy activity is the key to being content in retirement.

Seniors with Seniors


A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person, said Mignon McLaughlin an early American Journalist who lived to be seventy. And that may be the difficulty that has to be overcome as seniors transpose from middle age to senior years. The old gray mate ain’t what s/he used to be.

Keeping that other person hanging around for much longer is becoming a problem with many seniors. How do you go to a stag party for the wedding celebration of a friend when she has to tag along? How do you go to the sewing bee when he is carrying your spool of thread? Seniors, who have traditionally depended on a loyal mate for their care and company, has become nearly a thing of the past. Seniors will increasingly fend for themselves rather than live in an unhappy relationship.

Seniors are living longer and longer and many in their 50s and 60s are reluctant to stay the course … that is … staying married to the same person and being faced with the prospect of a decade or more in an unhappy eternal bond. Over the past several years the divorce rate for baby boomers, most seniors, has surged by more than fifty percent while the rest of the population has stabilized in this function at a much lower percentage. Of course, it is also true that the percentage of seniors who have never married is climbing. Many seniors are just opting out of marriage and venturing into the world of old age by themselves.

It’s not easy. Most unmarried seniors live alone. And many are coming to grips with the seclusion and problems of living alone. Many unmarried, or recently divorced, seniors confront economic hardships that couples don’t face. Sometimes the income just stops after a divorce or a death of a partner: A job, after all these years of living off someone else or the government? Now is the time for change and sitting around isn’t going to change things.’ Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you’, said Thomas Jefferson. And most seniors want to be defined as individuals and responsible people. Life goes on and then …

‘Now I am on my own’ many seniors start out by saying. ‘I’ll be the life of the party even if it lasts until 8’. ‘I’ll become very good at opening child-proof bottles with a hammer’. ‘I’m a senior citizen and I think I am having the time of my life, aren’t I?’ The secret is to try not thinking about being retired or getting older. Occupy, occupy, occupy your mind with activities and the company of friends. You had friends when you were half of a couple, and it’s probably a surety that those friends are still there. You can’t completely abandon the life you knew before. But, ‘Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great’ … Mark Twain.

People are living longer these days, especially seniors, so it is best to make the best of the time ahead, even as a single senior.

Your Inner Magnet System (Or: Your Common Sense)


Use your common sense. You have used all the other senses for years; you’ve heard things, seen things, confronted things, avoided smelly things, felt emotions, and shunned all those bad things that have gotten you this far so far. Common sense is that inner magnet that automatically draws you through the decision making process, that is, the sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts. Voltaire once said “Common sense is not so common.” He was right. Oftentimes, people over-think simple things to such an extent that they miss the obvious. Sometimes this is due to preconceived notions, other times it’s a simple matter of “this question’s too simple. There’s got to be more to it.”

You’ve slept on decisions and woke with the answers while fresh in the morning. You’ve made snap decisions because you had to, now! You’ve dwelt on it, analyzed it, and it worked, but don’t be the one who flies over the cuckoo’s nest, sometimes you can’t fly back.

Of course there is that large magnetosphere of Earth which is a region in space whose shape is determined by the Earth’s internal magnetic field, the solar wind plasma, and the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). That’s a little too big and complicated for this subject and to fit in our body. Here we are talking about that little glow of experience we use to draw on everything we’ve done. A magnet is a body having the property of attracting iron and producing a magnetic field external to itself; specifically … something that attracts. In this case we want to draw on experience; draw on the little light or spark that flashes in our brain at times.

Ah yes, the creams that make you look younger are so inviting; the diets that will make you live forever, and the pill that will allow you to run a marathon and live through it. The ideal and perfect life is just a mouse click or phone call away. Just remember what Mark Twain said, “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way”. And I guess change is the name of the game. Betterment is the goal. “I want to be a better me,” is the song in your heart; stronger, faster, prettier, younger; more or less without breaking the original mold.

Oh yes, it must be easy to be a senior citizen. You just work all your life, save as much money as you can, then quit work. It’s simple, so we are told. There you have it in a nutshell. It sounds easy. But there are a few other warnings and requirements that must be added to the mix. Being a senior citizen isn’t as easy as it seems on the surface. You can’t just lay back and age. Things must change for the better and for more happiness. There’s where the decision making process kicks in. Just how do you want to gain that peace and happiness, grace in old age, and having a positive impact on others through the way you present yourself? Well, it comes down to setting goals and making positive decisions.

And as unfortunate as it may seem, although you personally are going to be the result of your decisions, the final judge will be those around you. Maybe it would be a good idea to kick around any decisions with a close friend or relative. They might have a different magnet to draw on, and sometimes two magnets are better than one.

Bam, Bang, Hiss, Sizzle


Bam, Bang, Hiss, Sizzle; Stars and Stripes; Fireworks, parades, barbeques, carnival, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family and friends reunions, all celebrating the history and traditions of the U.S. and Yankee Doodle Dandy. What a day! What a day!

It’s the best holiday of the year for some of us; hot weather to enjoy, not like snow and cold on Xmas, and not like rainy parades at Easter. The 4th of July is an outdoor get out in the sun for fun celebration, and not a sit around the living room or around a dying tree. It’s not Memorial Day remembering those passed warriors who fell for the defense of freedom; or Labor Day that many regard as the end of freedom with the door slamming shut on the summer months and good weather.

Remember as youngsters the family went together to the local amusement park, probably called Playland, and watched a fire works display being shot over a small lake. That can happen again for us with a family of old friends gathering on a local hill watching the sky light up with joyful celebration. You can be kids again by lighting a few sparklers and setting off a string or two of miniature or lady bug firecrackers in the back yard during the barbeque. Just do it outside because they can make the indoors a mess. Ooh!! Ahh!!

“Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better,” said Albert Camus the French writer. “The basis of a democratic state is liberty,” said Aristotle an old Greek. So you see, this thing called freedom is older than you and is international. That’s what we celebrate. It’s celebrating our peace of mind and the battles it took to get there here in the good ole U.S.A.

And Mr. Webster defines freedom as “the quality or state of being free as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.” Now that doesn’t mean you can become that grumpy old person everyone dislikes and exercise your freedom of speech and say everything that comes to your mind just because you can. It also means you have the freedom to just think it.

And then there is the sitting around the living room or back yard after the fireworks display. “Do you recall when? … Remember where we used to? … Then there’s the time. … Did you know? … Can you recall? … Do you think we’ll ever?” The warm radiance of the slight beverage buzz, or it could be the ambiance of old friends calling to mind memories, fills the room along with the faded sun and those still hungry seeking leftovers from the barbeque. Old friends, who hadn’t gathered for a while, some for a year, take the weight off their feet and relax in a comfort zone built by years of experiences together, and slow down. The distractions of the present are left at the door like muddy boots. The 4th of July is more than just about the past, it is enjoying the good times and friends of the present.

You probably aren’t going to spend the day talking about Paul Revere, Betsy Ross, John Adams or Thomas Jefferson, although they were a big part of the original festivity. More than likely you will be talking about Pete the barber, or Joe the bartender, or even Gigi the checkout lady at the market, people of your generation and an important part of the celebration of all year life. That’s the real wham bam of freedom’s sound.

Fun and Funny Or: Grow that Smile


‘Did you hear the one about …’ ‘Two seniors walk into a bar …’ ‘Knock, knock …’ There are a million of them; Jokes for and about seniors. That’s OK, being a senior and maybe retired is fun and can be funny as well. What’s the difference between Fun and Funny? Fun is what provides amusement or enjoyment; specifically, playful often boisterous action or speech, that is, a mood for finding or making amusement. Now that sounds like real retirement.

And then there is Funny: affording light mirth and laughter, amusing, or seeking or intended to amuse. That is, differing from the ordinary in a suspicious, perplexing, quaint, or eccentric way, peculiar and often used as a sentence modifier; it’s funny things didn’t turn out the way we planned. Now it’s not funny if retired living hasn’t turned out the way you planned. Now let’s go back to the beginning: ‘Knock, knock!’ ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Opportunity!’ … ‘Opportunity who?’ … ‘This is Opportunity with your name and plan attached to it to have fun in your life.’ If you didn’t invite it in, that’s not funny.

But what do you do and how do you do it? Chances are you’re feeling bored if you are thinking about it in the first place. Or perhaps you’re just having trouble thinking up ideas for new fun activities. Start with making a feel-good fun list. Include anything you can think of which you typically enjoy. This might be playing with a pet, watching a football game, sleeping, taking part in an outdoor sport, chatting with a friend, listening to some of your favorite music or a meal out in a favorite restaurant. Dream up as many different things as you can that will make you smile and write them all down.

Maybe taking a new hobby should be on the list. Maybe taking singing lessons, or that watercolor painting or jewelry making class they give down at the senior center. Maybe you always wanted to go bowling or play golf but never had the time. You do now! Or maybe you already do something you enjoy, and now you can do more of it. There are so many things to do and you can find by just flipping through the yellow pages, the Sunday paper entertainment section, or cruising through the internet.

‘Two seniors walk into a bar. What did you do today? Nothing! And what did you do today? Nothing! Got any ideas? Let’s talk about it.’ It doesn’t hurt to ask others what they do for fun. And then the fun starts. Maybe you and your friend, or friends, can share an opportunity to have fun. You may all be in the same boat and it is time for everyone to grab an oar.

When going through your list be sure to take into account all activities which are unlikely to have negative consequences and favor them; asking yourself a few questions. ‘Can I (we) afford to regularly do this activity?’ ‘Will it offend others?’ ‘How soon can I (we) start?’ ‘Am I (we) likely to enjoy it?’

Fun, of course, is relative to a mix of many things: finances, health and physical being, geography, friends and relatives, transportation, and of course, attitude. And being grumpy of course is being moodily cross, menacing or threatening in appearance, and that is the opposite of having fun. To have fun is to have a little bit of a positive attitude, not a grumpy one. It is time to grow that smile and be funny to have fun.

Did you hear the one about the group of seniors who went river rafting and their punch line was ‘Boy that was fun!’

©2012, Patrick Kennedy

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Man arrives as a novice at each age of his life. - Nicolas Chamfort



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