Tips on living from “Octo-Man”

February 28, 2010


Most of you are probably not in this age category right now, but all indications are you will be someday. In 1950, there were only 15 million folks over the age of 80, but for 2050  a lot more are predicted–400 million.  That is a lot of “ancients.”

Each weekday a group of Octogenarians  gather in Nipomo at Senior Nutrition. I so enjoy talking with fellow “Octos.” On Dec. 7, I asked: “What were you doing  68 years ago today?”

They all knew exactly where they were and what they were doing. I was in the 10th grade on the East Coast, thinking Pearl Harbor was in San Francisco. Another “ancient” was on a remote farm in Kansas, with no electricity or radio, thus only learned about the bombing of Pearl Harbor days after the actual event.

When I mentioned to this group I was writing an  article about this exploding age group, 85-year-old Jack said no one would want to read about 80-year-olds. My response: With a high potential of being 80, someday, folks would want to learn about life at 80.

Ten years ago when I was only 75 I hiked to Point Sal to the exact spot where in 1962 I had decided to NOT go to New Zealand, but stay here and protect Point Sal. Here we are almost 50 years later and Point Sal remains untouched. I worked  to keep out a housing development, a supertanker port, an OHV recreation area, 2 nuclear power plants and  “progress.”  At 85, I am running out of “steam”–someone younger needs to take over. How about you?

One hundred and fifty years ago the average life expectancy in America was 40—now it is almost 80. This has resulted in an explosion of  senior citizens.

There are many advantages to be an Octogenarian:

1. No problem with being “unemployed.”

2. Old friends often come up asking: “Do you remember……..” bringing back memories.

3. You realize you are in a unique, rapidly growing, category  on this planet.

4.  When I was young, I enjoyed looking at young, attractive girls. This has not changes in 80 years.

5. You can watch little tree seedlings you planted get real big—-one I can’t reach around.

There are also disadvantages to turning 80:

1. Memory gets terrible—you go to the next room to get something but forget what you came for.

2. Too often when you start reading, you fall asleep.

3. Your agility and strength is gone.

4. Your vision and hearing deteriorates.

5. Young, attractive gals no longer try to seduce you.

Finally, if you happen to make it to 80 and want to become 90, here are a few suggestions:

1.  Enjoy your unique status.

2.  Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, start a garden. Never let the brain go  idle.

3.  Laugh often, long and loud.

4.  Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, dogs, pictures , plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge—I love my “mess” with walls covered with pictures and articles.

5.  Cherish and preserve your health.

6.  Exercise at least an hour each day—walking, dancing, jogging, ride your bicycle, playing tennis and/or swimming.

7.  Don’t sit too long like behind a computer. Move.

8.  Tell friends that you appreciate them at every opportunity.

9.   Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

10. Participate in Nipomo Senior Nutrition—great balanced food, no dishes and kindred spirits.

Bill Denneen enjoys the good life in Nipomo.

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Bill you are and have been the conscience of the county and Kathleen Jones and I are still proud of you!

You are an inspiration Bill! Thanks for your wonderful contributions.

Bill’s recipe for life: Get a state job where you contribute nothing, profess love of mankind wile constantly calling for mandatory birth control, and encumber property with regulation so you can illegally hike on it.