June 20th, 2024

In celebration of seniors

By Lethbridge Herald on June 7, 2024.

Al Beeber – Managing Editor

The other day I realized this is Seniors Week in Alberta. It started Monday and runs until Sunday.

And now as an official 65-year-old I can actually celebrate it! Yeehah, I guess. So being a guy who acts more like 16 than 65 I’m perplexed about whether I should be happy or depressed that I would probably look like crap in a man perm and spandex at my age. 

Who knows, maybe I did in the 1980s and nobody had the heart to tell me. 

Or we all looked the same and nobody noticed. 

That perm might explain my sensitivity to hairspray since I used enough to keep the locks sproinged out even in a hurricane. 

And dudes who had perms know what “sproinged” is all about, mine which was inspired by my insurance agent Malcolm Douglas whose hair never looked out of place even after a round of golf or 10 ends of curling.

So this week I’m trying to embrace my inner – guess it’s actually not inner anymore – old fella. But how can I do it maturely and gracefully? Those two words “mature” and “graceful” are as foreign to me as “Stanley Cup parade” is to my Toronto Maple Leafs.

They just don’t have any business being written or spoken next to each other.

But I’m going to try before the week ends on Sunday. 

I can tell you already I’ve failed even though I wrote this column days ago because I know me and if I haven’t fallen up a stair or three or tripped over a shoelace and shared an inappropriate joke by now, I’m probably dead. So much for making deadline then.

Unlike some friends my age, not to mention names Wade Chipman, I still have my hair and it’s not all that grey yet so that’s something to celebrate.

I’ve thought about ways to acknowledge the fact I know qualify for Old Age Pension and the the seniors Blue Cross Plan, which I have applied for and am still waiting to get accepted because in typical fashion, I didn’t follow the instructions and had to re-do parts of both applications. The whole concept of taking my time to do stuff is something I have yet to grasp after all these decades. If I’m not moving full speed, I’m not moving at all. 

That’s why I took extra special care to do my passport renewal form which I’m only doing for five years because I hate to imagine what I’ll look like in 10. 

I’m not the most photogenic person in the world and when I look at my passport shot from 2014 I’m surprised I’m not searched and interrogated at both U.S. and Canadian customs because I look really sketchy in it. 

So sketchy, I’d probably call SCAN or 911 if I saw that face lurking in the office alley at dawn or walking down my block.

Surprisingly, though, my new lawn mower hasn’t fallen apart yet after I assembled it on the back patio with barely a glance at the instructions because a lawn mower just isn’t that difficult to put together. If it was a barbecue on the other hand, it wouldn’t even have its two wheels on yet.

And I just got distracted here and went off track which I can’t really blame on being a senior which would be demeaning to people much older than me who don’t have to scour parking lots trying to spot their truck. 

Or wonder where their reading glasses are oblivious to the fact they’re perched upon nose.

So how to celebrate Seniors Week? Load up a full cart of groceries and spend 15 minutes at self checkout holding everyone up like I’ve seen some people do? Stop in the middle of a busy aisle and catch up on old times with a friend? Nah, we seniors are not the only ones who do that.

You definitely won’t catch me going 70 on Whoop-Up or 50 on Scenic Drive except maybe in miles per hour because time is valuable. And while tickets are expensive, what are the odds of getting one? (I have a feeling I’m going to eat that sentence but who says we can’t live a bit dangerously as we age?) 

We read and see all the time seniors doing daring stunts like jumping out of airplanes (which I did once in my 20s), getting a motorcycle licence for the first time or hitting Costco at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning after three coffees, which I would never think about trying.

So there has to be a way to celebrate this week properly. 

But what is ‘proper’? I have no clue because I’ve never been this old before.

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Congratulations fellow senior!
I was encouraged at the start of your op-ed, as it indicated your intent to “celebrate”. I was disappointed, however, in what seemed to evolve into a rather bleak commentary informed by many contemporary notions of what it means to be a senior.
According to the Pan American Health Organization, “Healthy aging is a continuous process of optimizing opportunities to maintain and improve physical and mental health, independence and quality of life throughout the life course.
With this in mind, I think that Seniors in Lethbridge are very fortunate to be able to access a variety of organizations and venues to optimize this process.
To my way of thinking, this is something to celebrate!

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