On May 8, 2024

Senior Scene: Choose a happy road

May is Older American Month. This designation was established in 1963 by the Administration for Community Living. The theme for 2024 is “Powered by Connection,” which recognizes the profound impact that meaningful relationships and social connections have on our health and well-being. 

In our area we have the Killington Active Seniors, the Thompson Center in Woodstock and the Godnick Adult Center in Rutland. Find out what’s out there and make the decision to join in. We need to connect and find the inspiration, friendship, support and fun to age well.

What do you say when you look in a mirror? “Wow, look at me” or “Who’s that old guy?” Research shows our chronological age and subjective age rarely line up. There are ways to stay mentally youthful. Choosing a happy road is one way. Taking advantage of activities and social interaction is another way. A recent article in Inc.com refers to research done by neuroscientists that shares that average, middle age adults in Western societies feel about 20% younger than their actual years. This translates into a 70-year-old expecting to see a 56-year-old in the mirror. 

So, how can we change our subjective age? Most adults feel younger than they really are. One contributing factor is years rich in new experiences seem to make more of an impression on our brains. Adolescence and young adulthood are times dense with firsts — first kiss, first job. More intensity means more memories which makes these years seem longer and weightless. 

Middle age routine adds less life to our internal tally, slowing our inner clock. There is no such thing as a “correct” subjective age, but if we are feeling aged beyond our years by the stress of being an adult, what can we do? Are there ways to feel internally younger? As it turns out the suggestions are pretty simple. 

First, get enough sleep. In one study getting enough sleep for a month made subjects feel, on average, six years younger. If you can’t sleep just think younger! Traits like curiosity and openness, new ideas and opinions associated with youth are also associated with slower physical aging! When you think like a kid, your body seems to stay more youthful longer. Fresh experiences today lead to more happiness tomorrow and slow the signs of physical brain aging. So, who’s that old guy in the mirror? How old you feel on the inside is far different from your chronological age and seems to be influenced by personality, culture, experience and daily habits. It really all comes down to one of those beautifully weird quirks of being human.

Rotary: Local and international deeds

I recently had the privilege of learning more about Rotary International. There are more than 33,000 clubs with 1.4 million members operating in over 200 countries.

Rotary’s prime mission is eradicating polio from the world. They have a strong funding relationship with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and work together to vaccinate children against polio and other diseases. For every $1 the Rotary raises, the Gates Foundation matches it with $2. Since around 1980, the polio virus has been eradicated from the world except for two countries…….Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self” and our local club, located right here in Killington, strives to complete at least one community service project every year, usually working in the summer as the weather is more cooperative then. Last year one of the projects was to assemble and stain a shed to be used as a weather station and storage at the Killington Elementary School. They also stained the Gaga Pit and a bridge at the school along with planting some perennials in the new playground. The local club also applied for and received a $1,000 Rotary District Grant that they matched with a donation of $1000 for the new playground. In prior years they have stained the benches at the Killington Rec Center as well as benches at the Green Mountain Golf Course. The dugouts at the softball field were painted by this group as well. These are just a few of the physical projects. 

Hosting Rotary foreign exchange students for a weekend of skiing at Pico is something they have looked forward to for the last 20 years. For some of the students it is their first introduction to snow sports. The annual Christmas tree sale has enabled the club to distribute money to various local charities in Killington, Rutland and all of Rutland County. Donating hard cover copies of the Scholastic Dictionary to the third graders at KES is a yearly project. There is certainly opportunity here and the senior group is invited to join and hopefully contribute. They meet every Wednesday at the KPAA and enjoy dinner catered by the Back Room of Pittsfield. They not only enjoy the fellowship of being together but there is usually a program or a speaker. Please let Janina Curtis (802-342-8661) know by Monday at noon if you can join them on any Wednesday. The cost is $20 but the opportunity to be part of such an organization that serves in such a wide capacity is priceless. 

Library events

You probably get tired of reading my words of praise for our very own Sherburne Library every month. But Monday at the movies there is a big hit each and every week.

It’s free, there’s popcorn and the staff tries to show as many new releases as possible. The show starts at 1 p.m.

Thoughts on Aging will gather on the third Thursday, May 15 with an open discussion on Where We Are Now. All are welcome to this group. The only requirement is an open mind and a desire to discuss topics that are relevant as we age. The discussion starts at 1 p.m. 

The Historians group will meet Saturday, May 18. Please note this is a change from their regular second Saturday meeting day. 

Book Club meets on the last Wednesday of the month with the discussion starting at 1 p.m. The selection for May is “The Color of Water “by James McBride. Mr. McBride, a journalist, musician and son, explores his mother’s past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage. It is a powerful debut for McBride, a Black man’s tribute to his white mother.

The senior group and the library staff, led by our creative librarian, have been working hard on this summer’s theme, which is Adventures Begin at Your Library.

The library will turn into a travel agency and we will travel around the world all summer. To prepare for this momentous trip, the library will be closed on Thursday and Friday, May 30-31. An open house on Saturday, June 1 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. will introduce the summer theme and will give everyone a chance to see the transformed library. Don’t forget your passport! 

On that same day, June 1, the very popular Touch a Truck will be on site. Firetrucks, garbage trucks, construction trucks and every other kind of truck will be there for kids to sit in, climb over and blow very loud horns. So, save the date Saturday, June 1!!

Community breakfast

Sherburne United Church of Christ, better known as The Little White Church, is a veritable powerhouse. They support families in town that need a little help by not only maintaing a food pantry that is open to anyone, but also a Deacons Fund for extra help every once in a while — maybe someone needs a tank of gas or to have your electric bill paid when a bad month comes along. 

The members of the Little White Church are now graciously planning a community breakfast to say thank you to the road crew for taking such good care of our roads during the winter. And the whole community is invited! So save the date of Friday, May 31 and join your friends and neighbors for pancakes, sausage, bacon, fruit salad and coffee between the hours of 7-10 a.m.

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