I have lived a very long time and feel obliged to pass on gems I learned along the way. Use what you want and throw the rest of my expertise away. I don’t guarantee eternal youth.

When I was young the style for little girls was to wear short dresses. Their mothers dressed stylishly and grandmothers in their forties wore navy blue or black dresses with lace collars and cuffs and low heeled shoes. Now, thank goodness, even great grandmothers wear stylish clothes.

I have learned that there will be no need for Botox if you make your eyes twinkle and smile a lot. Work on walking straight with head high. A way to do that is to think of your head as being attached to the ceiling by a rope that moves with you. Eat what’s right for you and do easy exercises. Keep flexible, go with the flow, and don’t allow little things to upset you. Learn to say, “No” and opt out when you feel overwhelmed. Make plans that can keep you busy for the next twenty years, and be content with whatever you are able to accomplish.

Wrinkles and scars are character lines that throw light on having lived a full life.  Dress comfortably, you can still look good. Wear comfortable shoes, your smile is more important than sexy feet. Long sleeves hide the flab. For hair too thin get hair replacements (we used to call them wigs).  Have a good mirror where you can see the back of your head and a magnifying mirror to make sure you get your makeup on well or shave all the hairs off your face. Men, pay attention! About that magnifying mirror, don’t let it scare you; no one else sees you like that.

Sometimes Doctors say, “You’re in good shape for your age,” thinking it makes the over forty feel good. It means; “don’t complain, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” If that happens, research on your own so you can learn to ask the right questions. Maybe find an alternatave health doctor rather than a doctor for the sick.  Every time a doctor gives me a new pill I’ve learned to ask, “Which one can I get rid of?  I don’t want to take so many pills.” I feel fortunate to live in a time when the medical profession has the means to keep us functioning longer than nature alone can do provided we help and double check on our doctors and the medicines they give us.

No one needs to know how old you are.  If your friends are younger than you they may ignore or treat you differently, or you may occasionally be left out if they discover your age. I avoided telling my age until after my book Keeping Ahead of Winter was published. I needed to find something different about me to promote my book. I was having lunch with a lady who inveigled me into telling my age. “Oh, really,” she said, “then I want to buy your book.” A light flickered in my brain, ”That’s my attention-grabber.”  Now, I brag about my age and find that young people are encouraged to know you don’t have to be cranky and helpless when you age.

 A forty-nine- year-old newly divorced woman said, “Tomorrow I’m going to be fifty and I thought life would be over for me.  I read your book Keeping Ahead of Winter and I learned you were newly married to your second husband when you were fifty, and had that wonderful adventure in 1965 when you crewed a 38-foot powerboat from Illinois to Florida. There’s hope for me!”

After seeing my website, hearing about my book, and that I am still active, a young woman in an Internet Writers Chat Room said, “You’re an inspiration to me.  I planned on dying at fifty-nine. You’ve changed my life.” Words like those makes my heart swell and puffs up my ego, an added bonus to a long active life.

Having something to look forward too, being optimistic and having a sense of humor, friends and meaningful work are all handy atributes to keep you content.

When we are young time goes by at a snail’s pace, gradually moving faster until the speed is astonishingly fast. I’m disappointed I figured out that the years are not being made shorter; I’m moving slower and not getting as much done as I used to.

Keep a positive attitude. Accept the reality of who you are, and don’t allow your mind to wander to past mistakes or become so familiar with the good in your life that it doesn’t mean anything to you. Revel in your successes no matter how small they may seem to you.

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      Way back in the old days when doctors made house calls one doctor took care of the whole family. We trusted him as though he knew everything. The medical profession kept us uninformed about our medical problems. Unless you could read medical books which were in Latin there was no way for patients to learn about their illness. We had to trust our doctor and follow his orders like he was God. (I say he because I didn’t know of any women doctors, though I believe there were a few.)

     When we saw the doctor, he looked in our mouth, our ears, both sides of our hands, listened to our chest, and hit our knees with a little hammer no matter what the problem was except for broken bones. If he gave us a prescription we took the medicine without question, even though the bottle had a picture of a scull and crossbones on it.  Practicing medicine back then was truly an art.

      Today we have a different doctor for every part of our body who hardly looks at us. When we go to the hospital there is an entirely different group of doctors we must see. In the hospital we are connected to machines with plugs and needles. Through the needles and tubes blood is drawn and/or medicine injected. Doctors, technicians or nurses look at us through electronic machines that may picture our insides, or a machine that spits out paper with markings on it for them to interpret.

      Now doctors write books for us to read…lots of them. There is medical information on the television and computer (much of it tucked in-between ads). Now we– the sick patients are supposed to know enough about our care to see that the medical profession does everything right.

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To all of you out there in cyberspace, what are your favorite and/or interesting things that give you enjoyment?

For me, it’s been doing the research for my latest book. Cyberspace has made it possible for me to sit at home and learn about anything I want to know. I’m happy that I am still able to function. While I have had to give up most of my social life to write, I have added a rewarding and stimulating offering of help from other writers to make it all happen.

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For those of you who may not have a high school diploma, it doesn’t mean you are not smart. You have had to work harder and maybe you have gone farther than your friends who enjoy talking about their doctorates and forget to tell you what they did with them. I kept it a secret that I was a high school drop-out in my sophomore year. It wasn’t until my third book came out that I shocked a few people by giving my secret away.

Find peace within yourself, life doesn’t always go as expected. Open your mind and go with the flow. Don’t give up on your dreams, forget your lame excuses. Think about some of the things you wanted to do in your life that you never had the time to do. You are old, you are retired, your children are grown and you finally have the time. So get with it…now!  Accept that your life is different. You are never too old to find something you can do that benefits something or someone. The most profited person will be you.

 Lily Tomlin said “I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.” I like what she said. Now is a good time to learn who you are or who you want to be.

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 So you’ve gotten elderly. So what? You are now that astute old person with those wonderful character lines. Though wise, there are still some things you have to learn. There is nothing wrong with the younger generation. True, you don’t understand their humor. Their taste in clothes looks ridiculous to you. If you are in a waiting room the rest of the people all have their heads bent down looking at a little electronic gadget that they keep touching with one finger. Or they are walking down the street with a thingamajig in their ear and talking to someone on a little phone. This is progress whether you like it or not.

            Remember when you carried a boom box blasting music down the street. Or was it back farther when your flivver had a horn that played a few notes of music and you blasted it all the time?    Did you wear your galoshes unfastened so they flapped with every step you took?  If you were a boy did you wear your corduroys as dirty as you could make them? I remember how they smelled (really stunk). What do you suppose the older generation thought of us?

 What are some of the other obnoxious things we did?   Let me hear from you.

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