Tag Archives: Golden Girls

How I Die a Little Each Time Someone Says “For Your Age”

I always appreciate the kindness and generosity of spirit when someone sends a compliment my way or I get a good news from a medical check-up. But there is no faster way to turn my smile upside down than to pause and conclude the statement with “… for a guy your age.”

“You look great… for a guy your age.”

“Your test results are great… for a guy your age.”

“Your eyesight is good… for a guy your age.”

What does “for your age” mean exactly? “For your age bracket you are doing well, but when compared to the overall population, you suck?” Well that’s certainly a feel-good moment, isn’t it?

When exactly did I get old enough to earn the qualifier “for your age” and why do I hear a roar of horror movie sound effects whenever someone says it?

I know that I will probably never have the same constitution as I did when I was 20. Back then, I burned up calories faster than I could consume them. I could work out every day and rarely feel the burn the next day. When I wasn’t so kind to my body, I could get by on 4 hours sleep, I smoked, and my diet rarely included leafy greens. Yet somehow, I still functioned reasonably well.

Things are different now for this quinquagenarian. One salty meal and I puff up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and “feeling the burn” the next day is often the result of something as challenging as opening a jar with a tight lid. Significant adjustments were needed out of necessity.

The icing on the cake is that now, when I shop for sunscreen at my favourite skin care counter, each visit seems to conclude with, “Could I get you a free sample of eye cream?” to which I think to myself, “Do I look like I need eye cream?”

One time, when I was inadvertently channeling the spirit of Sophia Petrillo, those words actually escaped my mouth. The clerk suggested, “This cream helps refresh the eye area, just like you had a solid 8 hour sleep” to which I replied, “but I did have a solid 8 hour sleep!” I was on an argumentative roll that day.

In her eyes, I could see the gears turning in search of a suitable comeback. “Please, it’s a complimentary gift with purchase. You’ll love it!” she said as she handed me my bag of products with her arm stretched out in the direction of the doorway.

The sad part is they don’t even ask anymore. When I get home, I find eye cream samples lurking at the bottom of the bag just waiting to turn the dagger in my heart a few more times. But I digress…

I understand the validity of the qualifier “for your age” from a health perspective. The way my body behaves today is not the same as it used to (… corn and raw onions come to mind) and it probably never will be again. I can certainly help maintain youthfulness and vitality through exercise, healthy living and good eating habits, but reversing time completely is a tall order.

I accept each liver spot and wrinkle as a badge of honour for making it this far in life with still so much to look forward to. So what if my eyes look a little puffy even after 8 hours sleep? So what if grunting is part of my regular vocabulary in strenuous situations like tying shoes and opening heavy doors?

“For your age” seems appropriate in the health context, as it takes into consideration the many factors which contribute to the natural aging process.

But in casual conversation, that “for your age” statement just feels like it erases the kind and generous words preceding it. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but for the sake of everyone’s happiness, can we just stop at the adjective and leave out “for your age” or come up with some other fun ways to deliver compliments?

“I don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s working! You look great!”

“What’s your secret for looking so spry/youthful?”

“Have you been on vacation?”

No further qualification or comparison is necessary.

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Filed under 50+, Humour

Fine Tuning the TV Habit

When I wrote the blog post “Deleting without Watching – The Madness and the Guilt” a little over a year ago, little did I know that I was on the cusp of a serious change when it came to my TV habits.

In that blog post, I shared the guilt I felt in deleting programs my PVR had recorded but that I did not even watch. Scandalous… I know!

But in doing so, I was (sort of) following traditional rules of de-cluttering: if it’s been sitting there for a certain length of time and I haven’t watched it, will I ever get back to it? When I was really honest with myself, the answer was pretty clear.

When the new shows rolled out in the fall months of 2016, I gave several programs a chance, but I was getting a little more ruthless in my programming choices. I set a boundary: if after 2-3 episodes I wasn’t really loving the show, why was I still watching? Sadly, only a few survived and remain on my list today. Funny enough, “Designated Survivor” is one of them. (Is art imitating my TV life?)

I hate to admit that using that same rationale, even some shows I enjoyed in recent years have dropped off my must-see list. What happened to the kid who used to push up the national average for TV watching?

You could say that without really thinking about it, I wasn’t watching TV out of habit anymore, I was watching TV with more of a purpose.

Once the bar was raised, the available space on my PVR started increasing… and increasing. And in doing so, not only had I freed up space on my PVR, but time was freeing up in my life as well for things that mattered more. It was a seismic shift. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, Humour, TV

Behind the Scenes of Blogging – Then and Now

In a recent review of my blog statistics, I was delighted that so many nice people took time out of their busy day to check out my “About” page. Then I shrieked with fright at the realization that I was so busy building my content that I had not updated that page since I first started blogging in the fall of 2013. It was time to have another look.

When I read it over, it wasn’t too bad. A little wordy, a few long paragraphs, it wasn’t horrible but it needed a little work. At the same time, I realized that my writing style for blogging had already evolved in just a couple of years.

In doing so, a walk down memory lane emerged, much like those retrospective episodes of “The Golden Girls” that took place around the kitchen table over late night cheesecake…

Wow! I have been writing this blog for almost two and a half years. How much has changed in that time.

Blogging – Then

“Picture it, Ottawa, October 2013, an aspiring young writer takes the plunge into the world of blogging. He isn’t quite sure about his blogging voice, his point of view as a writer or even what to write about in a blog. All he knows is that he wants to write more than life itself.”

I was not entirely a novice at it as I was already the author of a web site back from 2000 to 2002. It was my space for posting funny stories and observations, before blogging had really taken off. But still, the same apprehensions emerged: Where do I start? What do I write about?

The obvious answer was Continue reading

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Filed under Writing