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As it turns out, the golden years are the happiest years

NIAGARA, Wis. — Mahatma Gandhi defined happiness as being “when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” This state of balance is when we are comfortable in our own skin and can be our authentic selves living completely each day. Using Gandhi’s yardstick as a measure of our own happiness, can you remember a time when you believed you were living completely free to be yourself each and every day? This is the topic we will explore today. I will share findings from two articles that may surprise you.

First, let’s review the various stages of our lives as described in an article written by Roy H. Williams. He defines the “growing up years” as being those from birth through age 20. As I am sure you can remember, most of these years are filled with wishes to be older, attempts at bending parental rules to their breaking point, and dreams of independence far sooner than we would have been able to handle the freedom. We cannot possibly be true to ourselves because we simply haven’t figured out who we are. So, we try to be like those we admire — especially the popular kids so we are better able to blend with our peers.

Second comes the “education years” from ages 20 to 30. During this decade we “try on” a variety of career paths. We may have decided on a career path early so we attended some type of advanced education and are now on track with a career that fits us. However, most of us learned that we needed a Plan B because what we thought we would become turned out not to be a good fit. So, we struggle awhile before we find our niche.

Third are the “acquisition years” from age 30 to 40. We have found a job in which we can make a living, and we begin accumulating things. By this time, most of us have married, and we begin to live the kind of life we had envisioned for ourselves. We buy our first house, maybe our dream car, and conspicuously spend our hard-earned wages — sometimes to mask the fact that we may not be as truly happy as we thought we would be. We may come to the realization that this life is not what it was cracked up to be as we dreamed about it in our younger years. This is the time Thoreau wrote about when he said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to their grave with the song still in them.” What now? It takes courage to dare to keep looking.

If we have dared to keep searching and have not settled, we have found a more meaningful career or a happier marriage … and have managed to fill the void of the previous decade. We have reached the fourth phase of our lives — the “elevation years.” It is during this decade that we make our biggest difference and leave our mark on the world. We see more clearly, we make fewer mistakes, we have figured ourselves out and are comfortable in our own skin.

The fifth chapter are the “celebration years” from age 50 to 60. As Williams explained, “having worked for 30 years at making a life, we now begin to think about making a difference.” We stop looking at our jobs as simply a nine-to-five undertaking and try to make more of an impact that will live on long after we retire. We find a new appreciation for our children and our spouse, and realize that life is more than the day-to-day striving and accumulation of things; it has to do with the legacy we leave behind, the difference we have made by being alive on this earth as long as we have. As Williams put it, “we stop and smell the roses and drink the lemonade.”

The sixth and final stage Williams labeled “the distribution years.” Accumulation is no longer a priority. We realize that we have had what was most important and what we had wanted all along. We begin to give away the material things of our lives and relish the love of family and friends. We find the full meaning and beauty in our lives that was there all the time — we were simply too busy to notice.

In an internet blog, Anton Black wrote about an actual survey of 460,000 people conducted to gauge at which age we humans felt our happiest. The survey was conducted to test the widely held perception that finding joy in life became more difficult as we aged. Consequently, this perception gave aging a bad rap. And, as it turned out, an inaccurate one as well. The survey considered three central components of well-being: life satisfaction, positive emotional states, and negative emotional states. The results of the survey were surprising. The happiest people were not those 20-somethings with no responsibilities and the ability to go out on the town every night they chose. Nor was it the group of 50-somethings who were experiencing their empty nest after raising their children. The happiest group were those who were in their 70s. This group reported higher levels of life satisfaction, more frequent instances of positive emotions, and fewer instances of negative emotions compared to all other age groups.

So, what did this survey show for the other decades if not happiness? Children’s happiness levels decreased between the ages of 9 and 16 due primarily to the angst involved with puberty, physical and social changes, and navigating many new life stages within a short span of years. From age 16 through the early 20s, 30s, 40s and on, happiness steadily increased. These results are both surprising and interesting considering that so many life changes happen during these years. Yet despite the potential for turbulence, these decades brought joy to most people. There is something to be said for the satisfaction that is found in working hard and successfully navigating through life’s twists and turns.

There were some additional interesting, and surprising, findings. An unexpected 40% said they would like to be stuck at the age of 36. Only 41% of respondents said they actively embraced the aging process, but 71% admitted that it’s becoming more common for Americans to accept their age.

Survey results and theories aside, when we get right down to it, attitudes on aging are completely personal and depend upon our own experiences as we travel the road of life. My junior high and high school years did not have a lot of angst in them because I pretty much did not care what anyone else did. I had a few close friends with similar interests, and that was enough for me.

My husband and I met each other when we were 19, and we married a little over a year later. We began our lives together and grew up along the way, figuring out life as we lived it. Unlike the survey, we would probably choose our empty nest years in which to be stuck.

Spend some time every week reminiscing. Be grateful for the journey that brought you to today. Appreciate all you have learned and all of the people who are still in your life. Time is flying by; we have more life in the rear-view mirror than we have left on the road ahead. So, savor it, and enjoy the ride.

——

NURSING HOMES / SENIOR LIVING FACILITIES

Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community

Kingsford

906-774-1530

They welcome anyone who would like to entertain the residents. Volunteers are also needed to help with crafts and other activities.

Sunday: Church on TV/resident self-activities, 10 a.m.

Monday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; rosary, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; card club, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; nails, 10 a.m.; music, YouTube, 11:45 a.m.; memory cafe host, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; reading club, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; movie, “Turner and Hooch,” 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; whack-a-Lisa, 10 a.m.; music, YouTube, 11:45 a.m.; crafts, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; room visits, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Resident choice — have fun with the weekend packet.

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls

906-874-1501

Sunday: Room visits, 8:30 a.m.; jokes and coffee, 9:30 a.m.; chair exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 12:30 p.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.

Monday: Cooking; DT luncheon; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; bonfire with music, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Just friends, 9:30 a.m.; coffee social/travel club, 10 a.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; garden club, 2 p.m.; western movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Community breakfast, 8:30 a.m.; current events, 10 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; ice cream in the courtyard, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; happy hour with music, 2 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; faces and places, 2 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Puzzle pack; you be the judge, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 10:45 a.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.; musical movie, 6 p.m.

Optalis Healthcare

Kingsford

906-774-4805

Sunday: File and style, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; po-ke-no, 1 p.m.

Monday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; exercise, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; name 5, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Whac-A-Mole, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; birthday party, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; chair yoga, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Friday: Chips and chatter, 9 a.m.; reminiscing, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; fun in the sun, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Devotional, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; hangman, 1 p.m.

Maryhill Manor Nursing Home

Niagara, Wis.

715-251-3172

Families are allowed to attend activities and are encouraged to join in.

Sunday: Coffee and trivia, 10 a.m.; delivery of communion, 12:30 p.m.; prize bingo, 1:45 p.m.; church service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; pamper and polish, 10 a.m.; bocce ball, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; yoga session, 10 a.m.; shopping at Dollar General, 12:30 p.m.; courtyard campfire, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Women’s breakfast, 7 a.m.; rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; yard Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; evening prayer, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Rosary, 9 a.m.; Maryhill anniversary Mass, 9:30 a.m.; fly swatter balloon, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Friday: Cooking demonstration, 10 a.m.; C & R happy hour with Ray and Mindy, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Scrabble, 10 a.m.; courtyard games, golf, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy/Sunday scripture, 3 p.m.

Northshore Healthcare

Florence, Wis.

715-528-4833

Sunday: Independent activities.

Monday: What’s on the tray? 10 a.m.; music and memories, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Coloring for adults, 10 a.m.; manicure, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Exercise/parachute, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; air hockey, 2 p.m.

Friday: Catholic communion, 10 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Independent activities.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

906-774-5158

Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; trivia and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday: Juice time, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical

Care Facility

Powers

906-497-5244

Sunday: Morning visits and reality orientation; Bunco, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:15 a.m.; church services, 1:30 p.m.; root beer floats on the patio, 2:30 p.m.; coloring pages.

Monday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; pondering prompts, 11 a.m.; bowling, 1:45 p.m.; off to the races, 4 p.m.; movie, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; uplifting S.G. with Coria, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Kerplunk 4 p.m.

Wednesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; table talk, 11 a.m.; happy hour with Jerry Beauchamp, 2 p.m.; bologna, 4 p.m.

Thursday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; casino outing; hangman, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; June birthday party; kickball, 4 p.m.

Friday: Morning visits and reality orientation; Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; measuring up, 11 a.m.; music with Vicki and Dave, 2 p.m.; patio book club, 4 p.m.; residents’ choice, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Morning visits and reality orientation; kickball, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; activity packets.

SENIOR CENTERS

Amasa Center

906-822-7284

Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Tater tot casserole, candied carrots, Jell-O with fruit, biscuit.

Wednesday: Spaghetti with meatballs, green beans, garlic toast.

Thursday: Soft chicken tacos, Spanish rice, corn.

Breen Center

Kingsford

906-774-5110

Open for dine-in eating Monday through Thursday, serving at noon. Friday and night meals are on hold indefinitely. Carryout meals are available. Soup and salad bar are also available.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Baked pork chops, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, applesauce.

Tuesday: Haddock, baked fries, garlic cheese biscuit, fruit crumble, tartar sauce.

Wednesday: Oven-fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, dinner roll.

Thursday: Spaghetti with meatballs, Italian blend vegetables, garlic toast.

Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Elizabeth Peryam

Assistant cooks: Debbie Bigalke and Shannon Stapleton

906-875-6709

The center is now open on Mondays and is serving meals for dine-in or takeout — call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or to place an order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include warm vegetables, salad bar, soup, homemade desserts, coffee, tea, or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m. — call ahead and leave a message with a phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Baked chicken, rice pilaf.

Tuesday: Meatball subs, potato chips.

Wednesday: Cheesy cod, parsley boiled potatoes.

They will have a 50-50 raffle.

Home-delivered meals (prepared by DICSA – independent from above menu) —

Monday: Cheeseburger, baked fries, baked beans.

Tuesday: Blackened fish, au gratin potatoes, cauliflower, pudding.

Wednesday: Cheese omelet with ham, sausage, hash browns, yogurt.

Thursday: Chicken stir fry with vegetables, boiled rice, egg roll, fortune cookie.

Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency

DICSA

Iron Mountain

906-774-2256, ext. 230 or 235

This is a Meals on Wheels program only. Home-delivered meals only — call to make arrangements.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Cheeseburger, baked fries, baked beans.

Tuesday: Blackened fish, au gratin potatoes, cauliflower, pudding.

Wednesday: Cheese omelet with ham, sausage, hash browns, yogurt.

Thursday: Chicken stir fry with vegetables, boiled rice, egg roll, fortune cookie.

Friday: Cheese tortellini with parmesan butter sauce, peas and carrots, dinner roll.

Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice, or no beverage.

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.

Crystal Lake Center

Iron Mountain

906-828-1776

Schedule for the week is:

Monday: Les Artistes’ art club, noon to 4 p.m.; woodcarvers, starting at 9 a.m.

Tuesday: Cards — Pinochle and cribbage, noon to 4 p.m.; Happy Quilters, noon to 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; cards cost 25 cents with 10 games played

Thursday: Spinning Spools quilting, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Felch Center

906-246-3559

Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Oven-fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, Brussel sprouts, biscuit.

Tuesday: Wet burrito, refried beans, Spanish rice, cornbread.

Wednesday: Pork roast, fried cabbage, peas, garlic and cheese biscuit.

Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Cheeseburger, baked fries, baked beans.

Tuesday: Blackened fish, au gratin potatoes, cauliflower, pudding.

Wednesday: Cheese omelet with ham, sausage, hash browns, yogurt.

Aging and Disability Resource Center

Florence County, Wis.

715-528-4890

Director: Tiffany White

Menu for the week —

Monday: Amish breakfast bake, dark green salad, fruit.

Tuesday: Tater tot casserole, carrot raisin salad, fruit.

Wednesday: Meatloaf, baked potato, squash, fruit, cherry pie bars.

Thursday: Italian baked chicken, mashed potatoes, stewed tomatoes, fruit.

Friday: Fish sandwich, ranch potato wedges, broccoli, three-bean salad, fruit, cookies.

Note: All meals served with whole grain bread, butter and milk.

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980

RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on Wednesday only.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Open Monday through Thursday serving at 11:30 a.m.

Reservations for a meal onsite need to be made 48 hours in advance by calling the above number.

Tipler Town Hall

RSVP for meals at 715-674-2320

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on second Thursday only.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

RSVP for meals at 715-589-4491

Same as ADRC menu, served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Barb Peters

906-498-7735

Center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meals are served through the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency in Escanaba. Meals-On-Wheels program for those who are homebound is available.

Monday: Hobo dinner, green beans, fruit crisp, whole wheat bread.

Tuesday: Polish sausage, boiled potato, corn, whole wheat bread, sauerkraut, fruit cocktail.

Wednesday: Monterey chicken, red smashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, applesauce, whole wheat bread, birthday cake.

Thursday: Spaghetti, beets, winter blend vegetables, whole wheat breadstick, fruit cup.

Friday: Fish sandwich, hamburger bun, oven potatoes, chef’s choice vegetables, fruit cup.

Iron River Center

906-265-6134

Dine-in meal served at 11 a.m. Salad bar is available. No night meals at this time. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Chicken Florentine casserole, baby carrots, breadstick.

Tuesday: Country style ribs, macaroni and cheese, corn, Jell-O.

Wednesday: Baked chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans.

Thursday: Hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes, buttered carrots, biscuit, fruit cobbler.

All meals are served with choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Niagara Senior Center/Cafe

715-251-1603

Dinner is served at noon Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required one day in advance. Suggested donation is $5 for those older than 60 and $11 for 60 and younger. Bingo played on most Wednesdays. Transportation is available.

Tuesday: Lemon-seasoned fish, sweet potato tots, mixed vegetables, pears, wheat roll.

Wednesday: Cheesy beef casserole with noodles, butter beans, broccoli, blueberry torte.

Thursday: Philly cheesesteak on a hoagie bun, corn, side salad with tomatoes, peach cobbler.

The center will have bingo on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this month.

Norway Center

Director: Joyce Olesky

Head Cook:  Brian Gutkowski

906-563-8716

Dine-in eating begins at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar is available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals are available for pick-up from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Let staff know if planning to dine in or pick up.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Liver or burger and onions, mashed potatoes with gravy, vegetable.

Tuesday: Chicken patty on a bun, tater barrels, vegetables.

Wednesday: Ham and Swiss slider, chips, vegetables.

Thursday: Spaghetti or polenta, breadstick, vegetable.

All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert.

Birthdays and bingo on Thursday.

Center activity schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays — Exercise at 10 a.m. and card bingo after the meal.

Monday through Thursday — Card game 101 from noon to 3 p.m. Call Joe at 906-563-5587 for information.

Tuesdays — Quilting and sewing.

Wednesdays — Ceramics and crocheting.

Last Monday of each month — Book club at 9 a.m.

 

Sagola Center

906-542-3273

Dine-in meals served. Salad bar opens at 11 a.m. and meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Carryout meals also available.

Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, Oriental vegetables.

Wednesday: Pulled pork sandwich, coleslaw, baked potato chips, fruit crumble.

Thursday: Chicken fettuccine Alfredo, broccoli, bread with butter.

All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Cheeseburger, baked fries, baked beans.

Tuesday: Blackened fish, au gratin potatoes, cauliflower, pudding.

Wednesday: Cheese omelet with ham, sausage, hash browns, yogurt.

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