Living with Pontiac's seniors

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Added: Wed, 08/26/2020 - 11:35am
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Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

Many seniors face their elder years with trepidation. “Old age is not for the faint of heart,” cautions a well-known Pontiac physician.
Now that I am within those ranks myself, it occurs to me that many difficulties arise not so much due to age itself as to what we do with our senior years - our retirements, specifically.
Retirees often complain they are not prepared! Men, usually, are not ready for the down-shift to the cruising speeds of retirement. From an eight-hour
day, working on a schedule outside our control, we shift to a twelve-hour day with no schedule at all - liberating?
The daily actuality is far from liberation. “Oh, I just putz around the house.
I fix things ...” is not an invigorating agenda.     
From Chapeau to Quyon and beyond, we seniors may clunk around the
house - until ill health or a physical crisis intrudes. Recovery time extends remarkably, we're left much less robust. Or we lose a piece of our soul - our
partner, child – and social isolation builds up. For finances, our incomes are set, unlikely to improve, and our living costs are rising. These are lumped together as “old age”.
Had we prepared ourselves for the shift, kept our health and diet best possible, extended our range of friends, and, somehow, insured our financial security, had we done all this in the years prior, we would likely not be complaining of “old age” - or not so much!
This is worth some thought; it's not really age we're blaming for “old age”. 
And seeing youthfulness as life's big blessing is misguided - the middle years pull us from one side of the stage to the other, dominated by chance events and the ambitions of others, constantly vacillating in our beliefs, even in our own emotions and ambitions. Old age, as Epicurus wrote, has us “docked in the harbour,
safeguarded in our happiness”. That philosopher saw old age as the “pinnacle of life”, not the hesitating exit of sorry actors from the stage, as so many seniors seem to feel.
Merely freeing ourselves from “the prison of everyday affairs” is a benefit few youthful people can appreciate, yet after a life dominated by everyday affairs and the wishes and needs of others, this is a liberating path. We are free to enjoy the companionship of many others; we can re-taste our childhood pleasures of just playing around. Romance may be past, but sexual nostalgia is certainly not, and now we are free to cultivate all our personal partnerships.
The Pontiac has seniors in every town, and many of us share lives with our families. We might all live happier together by keeping these councils
from Epicurus in mind.
It's no longer what we have, said the philosopher, it's what we enjoy, that matters. Age helps set us free.