I happened to read a post this morning discussing Kryptonite. As most of us know, Kryptonite is the alien material that rendered Superman and Supergirl’s powers useless.
While we all like to think we are able to tackle any obstacle put before us, if we stop and think about it for a minute, we all have some type of Kryptonite that foils us in our endeavors to be strong. One thing that immediately comes to mind is when we say we are going to lose weight and choose a diet and stick to it.
Enter the chocolate chip cookie (yes, my kryptonite). I find it very hard to bypass eating a chocolate chip cookie. Some eat them with a glass of milk while others like having them with a cup of coffee. Me, I do not need either milk or coffee to enjoy a chocolate chip cookie. The chocolate is the enticer, if you will, for lack of a better word, that draws me to choosing a chocolate chip cookie over say a lemon cookie or even an oatmeal/raisin cookie.
Lately I have been drawn to Ginger Snaps and tell myself that it is the Ginger in the cookie that draws me to them. After all there are numerous benefits that can be derived from eating Ginger. It has been known to reduce gas and improves our digestive system. Feeling nauseous, eat some ginger. Eating ginger has been known to help relieve the symptoms of a cold or the flu. Ginger has been known to reduce inflammation within our bodies and supports our overall cardiovascular health.
So knowing that eating too many chocolate chip cookies (one form of Kryptonite) can be detrimental to my health and well-being, I have opted out of eating the desirable, soft and chewy, melt-in-your-mouth delicacy known as a chocolate chip cookie and replaced that with the Ginger Snap cookie. Definitely not as tasty but I look at it this way – if I feel I need something sweet to munch on – with or without milk and/or coffee – I may as well indulge in something that may benefit me in the long run.
One of the things I find myself doing on a regular basis is question my sanity. Good news is that it doesn’t answer me and well, being the intelligent being that I am, I take it as a sign that I’m still in charge of my facilities, in spite of the fact that my sanity has decided to keep quiet on the subject.
At times I have to remind myself that it is 2020, not 2000 and thus I should remember to stop volunteering for stuff I just do not have time for. Living the retired life is a lot of fun, but, being over 70, soon to be 80, a grandfather and great-grandfather, oh, and by the way, did I say retired, doesn’t mean I have to utter “yes” to every little task I am asked to do.
We are in the middle of the time that our snowbird friends are here in the south as opposed to being in what we “southerners” like to refer to as the frozen north. What that means is more events occur. Events like social hour every Wednesday; pot-luck suppers the fourth Thursday of every month, coffee and donuts on Saturdays, yard sales, craft fairs, dances, line-dance lessons, talent show, and other events too numerous to mention. Did I mention that I frequently have doubts about my sanity? The community where we live has 297 homes, meaning that there are 296 other individuals out there capable of hosting some of the many events put on over the six months snowbirds are here.
With so many events occurring within such a short time (five to six months), it isn’t a huge surprise that at times I forget something. What is it I forget? I am not 50, 60, or even 70 anymore. And being of sound mind and body I prefer not to blame early onset Alzheimer’s primarily because if I do, the dementia fairy will find me.
In conclusion, when you reach our age, what we need to do is laugh more and harder. And if anyone thinks I’m crazy, well, I’d rather be crazy happy than any other kind of crazy. As I write this (on a Friday afternoon) tomorrow is Coffee and Donut Saturday (every Saturday from 8-10 am), and then it will be shopping if for no other reason than to be sure to get our “Daily Steps” in before days end. Dolly does her best to walk 3000 steps a day and my goal is 4000 steps a day (with the intent to work up to 6000 steps a day). Somehow, we manage to reach that goal on Wednesdays, Fridays (line dance days), and sometimes Saturdays – depending on how much we shop. But the other days of the week become a challenge at best.
Life as a retiree can be boring if one lets it, but boring is not for us. Looking at our Planner there is something usually going on – things like Doctor appointments, line dancing, Mexican Train, social hour on Wednesdays, Pot-luck suppers every fourth Thursday, once a month impromptu dance, upcoming variety show, upcoming entertainment show(s), soup suppers, bingo, bazaar, corn hole, the afore-mentioned Coffee & Donuts, and so forth and so on. Don’t get me wrong, we love our activities and without some of them we would never get our daily step count in.
But I would be lying if I would not admit to the fact that with all these activities, we do look forward to an occasional break. There are days when sitting across from each other at the breakfast table looking down at our daily planner which is spread open to the current month we are in and if one listens close enough, you might just hear one of us (usually me) say to the other: “Can you believe it, today is a “FREE” day. Which means we have nothing whatsoever planned. No alarm, no doctor’s appointment, no meeting, no shopping, no event, nada, zilch, nothing! I can hear myself now looking across the table at her and reciting that famous saying by George Peppard (who played Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith in the TV show “The A-Team”) “Don’t You Just Love It When a Plan Comes Together!”
You know that old saying that “Getting old beats the alternative,” well, having a full or even semi-full calendar along with a day or two with no commitments whatsoever during retirement beats being “bored out of your mind!”
So, what are you going to do with your next free day?
I am going to deviate a bit here from my normal rants and raves and talk about the game of BINGO. We recently were able to attend a game of bingo. The thought was that we would be away from the house for a few hours. The reality of the situation was that (1) the game was being held several hours away and (2) we did not know that the game itself lasted 4, yes, I said 4 hours! We left the house at 3:30 PM and did not return until about midnight. Good news though is that this old codger was not driving, and so the drive to and from was not my concern and we had a good night of it.
Some might wonder what it is about BINGO that excites people, especially senior citizens. Well, let’s just stop and think about that for a moment. During this venture out the other night to play BINGO which by the way I haven’t played in years, one discovers that you will find various different age groups enjoying playing bingo. It is true though that the game is especially popular among older adults and being the old fart that I am, I have to admit, playing the games offered was quite enjoyable. The game can be played at home with loved ones, in a community setting such as we do in our 55+ park or going to a game such as the one we went to the other evening sponsored by the Orange City Lions Club. And when you get right down to it, bingo can offer senior citizens a variety of benefits that we should be seeking as we enter our twilight years.
Think of some of the benefits playing BINGO offers us seniors. The first one that comes to mind that some may not even think of is coordination. Let’s face it, there is not a statement that is as true as the one we have heard most of our adult lives and that statement is: “Use it or lose it!” If we seniors do not continually engage in activities that require us to use our hands, well we may just lose our hand-eye coordination. One may not think it but believe it or not – bingo is a fast-paced game (even more so when the caller is one that calls out the numbers faster than other callers do). Players must be quick to mark a number that has been called on their cards as quickly as possible. Attending bingo games regularly enables seniors to enhance their hand-eye coordination which can prevent mobility-related issues later in life. Such action can also enable the senior citizen to enjoy a higher quality of life.
BINGO can also assist seniors become more perceptive which can help them in later years. Think about it – we all know that as we age, almost every part of us slows down including the brain. Playing bingo requires the player (we seniors) to listen to the caller, watch the cards (I am amazed at times the number of cards some seniors have in front of them during a game of BINGO), and be able to mark the numbers called with the Dauber. Just think of the numerous functions that have to be executed within seconds of each other. As we get older we are reminded that we need to stretch our bodies, perform strength building exercises, do cardio exercises and so forth to keep the body healthy. Well, I am here to tell you that playing bingo as well as other games creates new neural pathways and boosts brain functions. That is a good thing because what good is a healthy body if the mind is weak. It has been said that bingo players demonstrate better cognitive functions when compared to others that do not play the game.
Even though BINGO may not seem to be a game that enhances physical health, that is not entirely true. Especially so if the game is being played away from the seniors’ home turf. After all, how do the seniors get to where the games are being played? Depending on where the game is being played, the senior citizen has to either walk or drive to the facility thus giving them some physical activity. Another feature of going to play bingo is the senior citizen usually participates in conversation with others around them during game play and in many cases, laughter ensues from the conversation. What does laughter do – it causes the muscles to relax thus minimizing physical discomfort (who among you can admit to having no physical discomfort during these, our twilight years). I know that speaking for myself, the older I get the more aches and pains I am finding with my body. By the way, laughter also increases the heart rate which also enhances blood circulation…..yet another good benefit from bingo.
Another benefit of going out and playing bingo is the fact that it encourages the senior citizen to get out and enjoy the company of others which is yet another part of the socialization process we are told we seniors must do to ward off depression and other unhealthy attributes that come along with not being in the company of others for long stretches of time. It has been proven that there are more seniors than we think that are older adults living alone and by attending bingo games on a regular basis, chances are that they will meet friends and/or make new acquaintances by being in the company of others out playing bingo. By getting out and socializing on a regular basis chances are these senior citizens will not feel isolated and the individual may not succumb to becoming depressed and lonely.
We all know, leastways those of us that have already retired, that once retired, we tend to have a lot of time on our hands. By not having something to do with our hands and/or minds such as hobbies and/or activities, it might be quite easy to become bored and subsequently subject to either emotional or psychological problems. Who needs that at our age? By going out and playing bingo on a regular basis gives some seniors something to look forward to (we ourselves like to line dance and look forward to our Wednesday and Friday sessions of line dancing). Not only does it provide us with physical exercise but it also gives us the chance to connect with other people. While I haven’t been to too many bingo games over the last few years, if attending bingo games is anything like our Saturday morning coffee and donuts get-togethers, conversations at a typical game of bingo can range from comparing medical conditions (whose ailments are worse than the others) to discussing families (haven’t seen my kids in years as compared to the senior citizen that says he or she wishes theirs wouldn’t visit as often) to current events and I won’t even go any further on that subject. Usually this opportunity creates a greater sense of well-being because no matter how bad we think we might have it, when discussing others’ lives, chances are you will always find someone who has it worse off than you do.
Bingo also has other good benefits. Within our park there always seems to be someone coming home from the hospital, going to the hospital, or coming home from physical therapy. Playing bingo, believe it or not, may assist with the recovery process whether we are talking emotionally, physically, or psychologically. Who knows, it may boost the immune system thus speeding up the healing process. Weirder things have been known to happen. What with all I have said up to this point, one thing playing bingo does, it does keep you sharp and if you have to spend all your time staying alert – who has time to think of all the other non-fun things happening in ones’ life.