Word And Deed

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I had a very strange epiphany the other day. After a friend of mine sneezed and I said, “Bless you,” it occurred to me that what I had offered, purely out of habit, was a religious sentiment (albeit an abbreviation) to an Atheist who, nonetheless, said quite naturally, “thank you.”

Though neither one of us was particularly startled by this seemingly normal exchange, I thought about it for a second and asked if I had offended him. He, not surprisingly, answered, “no.”

But then I thought about another conversation I had had with a stranger on the telephone. It was just a solicitation and meant nothing at the time until I recalled that she ended the call by saying, “blessings.” I thought it odd and, honestly, uncalled for but then wondered if she expected some type of response from me. Was I supposed to say, “and to you, too” (or whatever the standard Christian response is)?

I certainly meant no disrespect but, rather, was quite taken by surprise because, in my life, that’s just not something people say to one another. It also goes back to that much disputed custom of wishing anybody and everybody a merry Xmas during the month of December. I’ve never understood why people find it necessary to make the assumption that you’re Christian or that you need THEIR acknowledgment. I know it’s meant to be a friendly greeting but, then, so is the much safer and non-religious “hello.”

Whatever the intended message or meaning is behind the words, it would be so much easier if people just acknowledged one another with a brief nod or a pleasant smile!

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The New Normal

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There’s nothing wrong with getting older. It’s almost as if the ‘over 65’ crowd is ‘the new normal.’ Aches and pains aside, more people than ever before are living into their eighties, their nineties and even living long enough to hear Willard Scott read their names (not as part of a memoriam but) on a Smuckers jar.

One noble aspect about aging is that it doesn’t discriminate – all races and genders, if they’re lucky, can be members of this inclusive club. The only rule is that you do it right… the living, that is, not the dying.

Old people are constantly portrayed as those suffering from incontinence, heart disease, arthritis and memory loss. They’re seen as cranky, unattractive, frail and forgetful. The fact of the matter is, today’s elders are actually computer literate, taking classes, starting new jobs and finding ways to improve their lives.

It’s no longer enough to just sit back and enjoy your retirement. You must keep an open mind and not be afraid to fail. You have to be open to discovery and appreciate life – especially knowing that your time may be limited.

Always remember this… You don’t get to choose how you’ll die but you sure can choose how you’ll live!