Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Helper and helped
It is said that generosity is good for both the helpers and the helped. So, in other words when you ask for assistance you are actually doing someone a favor and it’s good medicine for both you and the one helping you.
            Recently when I needed stronger arms to carry a large box from my car to my front door, a young neighbor offered to help me. When I thanked him he said there was no need because he was very happy to do it. And he did look very pleased to be of service.
Those who help others, in whatever fashion, get a boost of positivity.  In other words giving in whatever form is good for the soul. 
            Of course, many of us hesitate to ask for help. It might be admirable to try and solve our own problems, but asking for help is not only useful, it is beneficial. We may hesitate to ask for help fearing that the answer will be no or that we will not get the help we expect or in the way we want it. For example, a family member may not be available to help with a household project simply because of the timing. Then it becomes a question of being open to the other’s schedule and responsibilities.
            As we all know, stress is a common factor in chronic disease. Asking for help makes us aware that we are not able to handle everything in life. Asking for help connects us to others and reduces stress. Neuroscientific research shows that asking for help can also make us grateful for our relationships. We all want to care for others and be cared for, and that is something that comes into play when help is asked and received.
            And by asking for help we show others that we trust them thus given them an ego boost.
            There are many benefits for helpers. It makes them happy and gives them a sense of purpose, especially those who are no longer “workers” and who can feel out of touch as a result. Older adults who volunteer in their community stave off disease while increasing their life satisfaction. They can even expect to live longer.
They say it is better to give than to receive. Research shows that both sides are better off.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Always-Never-All
Have you ever noticed how people tend to exaggerate when they’re annoyed or angry? Standing in line at the bank the other day I heard the woman behind me talking on her cell phone to, I assumed, her husband and taking him to task for “always forgetting to stop at the bank.” I’m sure he did stop at the bank from time to time, but I suppose that using the word “always” helped her deal with her frustration.
All of us are guilty of dispersing emphasis when we feel we have a right to do so. We use words like “always”, “never” and “all” as if they seal the truth of whatever statement we’re making: You never pay attention; You’re always late. All politicians are corrupt; etc.
It’d be nice if we could deal with our annoyances without amplifying— or even lying if we’re honest with ourselves. People do pay attention most of the time; it may not seem so, but only some politicians are corrupt; and no one is ever late all the time. The problem is that we don’t take time to assess our statements. A man I know who teaches English as a second language to adults does his part to enlighten his students so they are aware of blanket statements not only when writing but also when speaking. He encourages them to take the time to see when “often”, “sometimes”, and “some” should be used instead of generalizing.
A comedian I saw recently has based a whole act on the premise of descriptive words. Here is a sample of what he said: “I’d be correct to say that I never win the lottery, but I’d also be right to say that I always buy tickets! A young lady I know will always be pretty, but thankfully I’ll never be uglier! My wife commented the other day that all men are alike. All men? How in hell did she find out?”
Never stop laughing! That will always be the right choice for all of us.



Wednesday, September 4, 2019

What is a Grandparent?
To mark Grandparents Day Sunday, September 8, I thought that seeing what kids say about grandparents would be fun. Enjoy.
Taken from comments by 8-year-old kids.
Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own. They like other people’s.
Grandparents don’t have to do anything except be there when we come to see them.
They are so old they shouldn’t play hard or run. It is good if they drive us to the store and have lots of quarters for us.
When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.
They talk to us about the color of flowers.
They don’t say “Hurry up.”
They wear glasses and funny underwear.
They can take their teeth and gums out.
They answer questions like: why isn’t God married?
When they read to us they don’t skip. They don’t mind if we ask for the same story over again.
Everybody should try to have a grandmother because they are the only grown-ups who like to spend time with us.
They know we should have snack-time before bedtime and they say prayers with us, and kiss us even when we’ve been bad.
And when asked where his grandma lived, a 6-year-old answered: She lives at the airport, and when we want her we just go get her. Then when we’re done having her visit, we take her back to the airport.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Cannabis and Other Sins
As we all know cannabis is a psychoactive drug that expands the mind and the consciousness. Whether people refer to it as pot, grass, weed, reefer, it is now legal in many American states and in all of Canada so users are not afraid to be open about their habit. When I complained to a 93- year-old relative that the smell coming from my neighbor’s cannabis smoking was bothering me, her answer surprised me: Tell them they don’t have to smoke it, they can put it in food. I have never studied the many ways to use cannabis, but I wonder how my relative seems to know them! Does she bake “special” goodies for her buddies?
She should remember that overdoing cannabis can prematurely age the human brain by a number of years a new study on brain aging has found. So, does that mean that the forty-something pot heads are really in their 50s when it comes to brain age? Wow!
And what about those who use cannabis for medical reasons? Do they have to worry about their brains aging faster than other people? I’ll let the researchers tackle that one.
And let’s not forget that we don’t know the long-term effects of pot smoking on various organs including lungs. Many people still remember that at some point not so long ago doctors recommended smoking cigarettes! It seems we learn the hard way.
            There are other sins that affect brain health. What about those heavy alcohol drinkers? Alcohol has been found to contribute to some 60 different health conditions, and those who overdo it can expect the heart to circulate the blood alcohol throughout the body, leading to changes in normal body functions. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of many chronic diseases and other serious health problems.
Certainly something people should keep in mind before pouring themselves another drink!
And what about cigarette smoking? Many people feel they are simply unable to quit.
A couple in their early 60s I know are still smoking and hold on to the notion that it’s too late for them to stop. It’s never too late especially with all the various medications and emotional support available today. 
            To overcome bad habits humans have to be committed to making an effort. That certainly applies to another sin: swearing. Something to remember is that children have youthful hearing and absorb whatever reaches their ears. 



Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Green Thing
At the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
           The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."
           He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day. Back then, they returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so they could be reused over and over. But they didn't have the green thing back then.
         In her day, people walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks. But she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.
          Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because there was no throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. But that old lady was right they didn't have the green thing back in her day.
          Back then, there was one TV or radio in the house, not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not the size of Scotland. Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gas just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she was right they didn't have the green thing back then.
          They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using plastic bottles. They refilled their pens with ink instead of buying a new one and they replaced the blades in a razor instead of throwing the razor away just because the blade got dull. But they didn't have the green thing back then.
They didn't need a computer to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space to find the nearest pizza joint.
           Still, the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then. But given today’s dire predictions from scientists that the world has only ten years to change its way or else face the point of no return when it comes to curbing the ever-increasing global temperatures perhaps it’s time to learn a lesson or two from generations that didn’t have the green thing.




Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Musings on Aging
An older gentleman had severe hearing problems for some time. When he consulted a specialist he was fitted for a set of hearing aids with which he could hear perfectly. A month later the doctor commented: “Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.” The man replied: “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!”

Hospitals require a wheelchair for patients being discharged. When a young nurse found an older man dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet, she told him she would help him. He replied that he didn’t need any help to leave the hospital. After the nurse insisted that rules were rules, he reluctantly let her wheel him to the elevator. On the way down, when the nurse asked him if his wife was meeting him, he said: “I don’t know. She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.”

“Why did you decide to go back to college?” a woman in her eighties was asked. She replied: “I’m here to meet a rich husband and have a couple of kids.”

An older woman had to make a speech at a banquet. After being introduced she stepped up to the podium where she dropped her three-by-five cards on the floor. A little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said: “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me!”

Words to live by:
We make a Living by what we get, we make a Life by what we give.
Growing older is mandatory, growing up is optional. There are many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.
Aging does not require any talent, practice or ability. The idea is to grow older by always finding opportunity in change.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Some Musings
While driving in the last few weeks, it became very clear to me that in North America, at least the northern section, we have only two seasons. We have winter, of course, then the rest of the year is construction season.
            Everywhere I went I saw lines of orange cones standing at attention making sure that drivers became frustrated by the delays! It is certain that new road infrastructure and repairs are never static and forever ongoing, but are they properly coordinated? It seems to me that it might not always be the case when you follow the path of one detour only to come to another detour!
            Drivers can only dream of cone-free summer driving one of these days!
            On my outings in the last few weeks, I also found myself studying people whenever I went. One day I saw a man walking his tiny little dog that would easily fit into a purse. To me, somehow, the picture didn’t seem right. Should not large men have large dogs? Behind him was a middle-aged couple walking a dog the size of a horse. No kidding. The furry dog was larger than a Great Dane and wider. I immediately assumed that they have large rooms in their house! 
            The way people dress in summer is always interesting, don’t you think? One day I saw a fellow walking by wearing a warm hoodie, while a woman behind him was essentially wearing a bra with the tiniest of shorts. Someone’s thermostat on the fritz?
            One day I saw a thirty-something woman who caught my attention because of the lovely bird tattoos on the back of her upper arms. As a person who has been doing targeted exercises to keep the back of my upper arms from jiggling and wiggling I wondered how the woman’s birds will look when age and gravity catch up to her, as they surely will. The lovely wings are bound to require some surgery!
            In a restaurant I saw a young couple who were getting a lot of attention because of the baby with them. The child could not have been older than a few weeks, and the parents alternated holding him. It was a hot day and the air conditioning in the restaurant was quite a shock compared to the outside temperature. Would that affect the child? I wondered. Maybe not, but I was reminded that when one of my sons was very young he ended up with pneumonia after a similar outing. I wanted to talk to the young couple, but wisely decided there were enough people around to guide them.
            While enjoying a cold drink in a fast-food place one warm day I saw a lovely young Japanese woman walk in attired in a traditional geisha kimono without the white face makeup but with the traditional hairstyle. Not the kind of garb you see often on a hot summer afternoon (perhaps she was rehearsing a play??) but obviously the need for a cool drink was imperative.
            I was glad to be able to get away from my regular routine for a while. It renews the spirit, but I was not as glad to see that some people are still treating the earth with little respect. When you stroll in a park or on the beach you still see empty soda cans, water bottles and fast food wrappers just tossed on the grass or in the sand even though trash and recycling bins abound nowadays. Obviously not everyone is on board when it comes to keeping our world clean.
            That is indeed a sad state of affairs!