It’s getting better…There’s wisdom as you get older

July 2019 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

There’s one advantage to being a “senior citizen.” You get lots of mail. And phone calls.

Ever since I flipped the calendar over on the cool side of 65, all sorts of folks have been lining up to help me with all sorts of things.

They offer help setting up a retirement plan, and if I’d only give them all my money they’d be happy to do it.

They offer extra medical coverage to make up for any gaps left by Medicare. All I have to do is send them a bunch of money every month.

They want to warn me that my Social Security number has been stolen, and if I tell them what it is, they’ll take care of it for me.

Somehow, I manage to resist these tempting offers.

And I’m not talking about an occasional letter or phone call. I’m talking about piles of junk mail and dozens of “robo calls.”

Ugh. I just shred the letters and ignore the calls. Unless a call comes from someone I know, I don’t answer.

I always thought the hard part about getting old would be, well, getting old. I notice my steps don’t quite have the bounce they once did, and that certain things work a little more sporadically than they used to.

That’s OK. As a friend constantly reminds me about getting old: “Hey, it beats the alternative.”

But there are a great many things that I like about getting older, and I’m not just talking about the senior discounts that restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses offer. They are much appreciated, but the really cool thing about getting old is being asked for advice.

Not too long ago, no one seemed interested in what I thought. It was as though I had disappeared. I usually didn’t mind it. I believed my disappearance was just temporary.

But over the last few years, my “knowledge bank” has begun to come in handy. I get phone calls and questions about “people problems” but I most often get questions about stuff. They range from “How does a clutch work in a car?” to “What’s a mutual fund?”

These are things a guy picks up as he rattles through six decades on this planet.

But my favorite questions are about other things.

“Are things getting better or worse?” This is my favorite question of all time. It’s not so much about facts as attitudes. These are interesting times, there’s no doubt about it, but when were times not interesting? Not too long ago, we finished off a century that was chock-a-block with wars and fears about everything from the destruction of the planet to over population.

Luckily, the “experts” were generally out to lunch or exaggerating. Knock on wood, we’ll all be around for a good long time.

And yes, there will be more challenges ahead, just as there have been since the first humans moved in next door to the Flintstones. My answer is always that “things will get better.”

And they do. Sometimes it takes a bit longer than other times, but by and large, things do always get better.

And now, if I can only get the junk mail and robo calls to stop, things will really get better.

Carl Sampson is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in Stayton.

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