The Right Age (a guest post by Cecil Murphey)


Cecil Murphey, known to his many friends as Cec, is an amazing eighty-five-year-old. I’ve lost count of the number of books he’s authored, co-authored, or ghost-written, but the one most of you are familiar with–at least by name–is Ninety Minutes in Heaven, which he wrote with Don Piper, who experienced the astounding visit to Heaven the book and the movie are about.

Cec isn’t selfish about sharing his talents. Years ago I had a private meeting with him at a Christian writers conference (when we were both a tad younger and I was a lot bigger), and I’m still attempting to apply his gracious advice. When I asked for his permission to share the following article, this was his response. “Roger, I’d be delighted and feel honored… ”

He meant it, too.

Enough from me. Here goes…
The Right Age

“I’m too old for that,” my 53-year-old friend said.

I regularly hear such comments from those who have hit the big zero years (50, 60, 70). Once-attractive women complain, “When women reach a certain age, men ignore them.” When I hear that, I think, So what? Do you need approving stares to be happy?

I’m tired of hearing friends cringe at the mention of aging. I have no desire to be 30 or 60 again and am grateful for the years behind me.

Just because we reach “a certain age” doesn’t mean we stop living or enjoying life. Instead, we have an opportunity to add to our lives, to explore new ideas, and take pleasurable risks.

This year I turned 85, and I’m delighted to admit it. Here are a few things I say about my age:

  • “I’ve earned every wrinkle and creak in my body.”
  • “This is the cost of living longer.”
  • “I’m happy being who I am right now.”
  • “This is exactly the right age for me.”

Getting older isn’t only a downhill slide; we can always find positives. No matter how dismal life seems, we can choose to stay positive.

For example, my faith has grown stronger and my attachment to others is deeper. I’m free to say no. The older I get, the more I know the relationships I want to maintain and those I want to let go.

Regardless of the number of my years, I’m exactly the right age to increase my joy and appreciate all the goodness of life. I relish the freedom and the joy of life instead of thinking how terrible it is to get old. I regularly say to myself, “This is the life I’ve been preparing to live. Now I’ll enjoy it.”

What about you and your age? Can you say these words below?

 

Cecil Murphey

 

Thanks to Cec for permitting me to publish this article from his most recent monthly newsletter. He has said what I so often think (or realize I should think), but he’s done it much more eloquently.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

          

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Am I Really Aging Gracelessly?

Whenever I look at myself in the mirror–that’s impossible to avoid doing when shaving or brushing my teeth–I see an ever-aging man looking back at me. Although it seems like only yesterday when my hair–I had more of it then, although it’s never been as thick as some men’s–was brown. Dark brown. And when those hearing aids weren’t as necessary as they are now. And when I don’t look older in a million and one other ways.

Looking older wouldn’t be so horrible if feeling older didn’t go along with it. How many times have I heard people say, “You’re only as old as you feel” and felt like responding with a nasty “Easy for you to say; I FEEL older”?

Yep. I don’t sleep as well as I used to. And I have a mystery pain that isn’t bothering my sleep as much as it used to, but it still affects my standing and my walking. Uh, I didn’t say it keeps me from walking. Even reasonably fast. But it does hurt. Of course, my sense of balance seems to have come unbalanced; I don’t need a cane, but I often feel more comfortable with a walking stick in my hand. Especially going up steps.

And I’ve given up my desire for a top quality guitar because I can tell that my playing has deteriorated during the past couple of years. So far the problem is more in my wrists than my fingers, but I don’t expect my playing to start improving again.

I don’t know what’s going on in that head of mine, but I can’t believe all the things I have trouble remembering now. Perhaps most troubling are the names of people I’ve known for a number of years. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t forgotten the names permanently; just at specific times when I’ve really wanted or needed to remember them.

What complicates matters somewhat is the fact that my wife is a little over ten years younger than me. So I can’t help noticing how much younger she looks and seems to feel than I do. Yet even she’s getting gray hair and occasionally complaining about her knees.

Doggone you, Adam and Eve! If you hadn’t sinned and gotten kicked out of the Garden of Eden, we’d all be living in Utopia. Agelessly.

Okay, so somebody else would’ve sinned and started mankind’s downfall if Adam and Eve hadn’t, but the point is….uh, what’s the point? I’ve forgotten.

I may not like the negative aspects of aging, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for life. Or that I’m not enjoying it.

I thank God daily that I’m still alive and doing as well as I am. And I ask Him to please keep me around as long as He has something worthwhile for me to accomplish. Preferably to write more novels and maybe even a few more songs. But He’s going to have to give me more drive. I’ve never been good at pushing to do things, and that’s not getting any better. Lord, I could use more pep.

Hmm. So am I “aging gracelessly”? No matter what I’ve complained about today, I don’t think I am. Aging, yes. But gracelessly, no. Not as long as my eyes are on God and I sense His Spirit living within me. And leading and strengthening me just enough to function the way He intends.

What about you? Are you aware of your own aging? How do you feel about it? How about leaving a comment?



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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Aging: Plus or Minus?

I just spent an hour or so trying to write a decent post on a serious subject, and I ended up too depressed to finish it. Not good. So I decided to try something different.

As many of you know, I’m just a few months away from turning seventy. What you may not know is I have mixed feelings about it. So if you’ll permit me to look at the pluses and minuses of aging, I’ll be grateful.

Plus: I’m retired, and I have very few required activities. Most of those can be done at my leisure. I’m free to pursue my writing and play my guitar whenever I like and continue recording my compositions at home.
Minus: Despite the variety of activities I enjoy doing, if I’m not careful, even the best of those activities can become routine.

Minus: I take a variety of kinds of medicines and still have aches and pains that seemingly have no cause.
Plus: Those medicines help to keep me in what I would basically consider good health.  Why should I be upset? I don’t gripe about having to wear glasses, do I? And the undiagnosable aches and pains aren’t that horrible. Yet.

Minus: Each week at my church’s nursing home ministry, I can’t keep from wondering whether I’ll someday need to use the LTC (Long term care) insurance we finally decided we’d be foolish not to have.
Plus: I’m not in a nursing home yet, and I don’t have any conditions that make LTC living seem likely in the foreseeable future. And if I do end up in a nursing home, maybe by then I’ll be sufficiently, uh, not-myself to care.

Minus: I can’t do everything I used to be able to do.
Plus: I should be thankful for how many of them I can still do. Sure, my agility makes my guitar playing harder at times, but at least I can still play. In fact, I can’t think of anything I can’t still do at all. Maybe just not as well or as quickly.

Minus: I’m becoming more forgetful.
Plus: At least I haven’t forgotten anything important. And I’ve always had trouble remembering people’s names and faces. Did I honestly expect that to improve with age?

Minus: With the extra time I have now, I’ve become more interested in politics. And I’ve become more concerned about the decline in American values, especially during the last eight years. It’s depressing. Especially considering our choices in the upcoming election.
Plus: I can still vote and I can still pray. It may not be in God’s will to restore America’s greatness, but I have every confidence that He can.  I believe in the power of prayer, and that makes me feel so much better.

Minus: In spite of everything, I know I’ll continue to age and deteriorate until the end comes.
Plus: Hmm. That’s true for all of us, isn’t it? But as a Christian, I have the promise of Heaven to look forward to. That should relieve me of my complaints about any aspect of aging.

Do you have any particular pluses and minuses about the idea of aging? How about leaving a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Is it Hypochondria or Is it Age?

I sometimes wonder whether I’m a hypochondriac. At other times I think I must be one because of the very fact that I wonder whether I am.

Out of curiosity, I recently took a look at the Mayo Clinic Staff’s article about the symptoms of hypochondria. Most of them didn’t fit me at all–thank goodness–but several made me take a second look.

  • Worrying that minor symptoms or bodily sensations mean you have a serious illness.
  • Thinking you have a disease after reading or hearing about it.
  • Obsessively doing health research.

I’m not sure I actually worry about my symptoms, especially the minor ones, but I sometimes wonder  whether a particular ailment might signify something important. Although hearing about a disease doesn’t make me think I have it, it does put me on the alert for the symptoms.

I’m not obsessive about doing health research, either. But if I have a problem, I’m going to look it up on the Internet. As often as not, however, the discovery that my symptoms often signify something quite simple relieves my potential anxiety.

Even the Mayo Clinic Staff noted, “There’s nothing wrong with informing yourself. ” It’s good to be able to talk more intelligently with the doctor if a symptom appears worth seeing a doctor about.

So maybe I’m not a hypochondriac after all. Could it be that my health issues are simply the results of age?

My participation in our church’s nursing home ministry places me weekly in the midst of a group of very frail and unhealthy folks, most of whom are older than I am. Doing that for five or six years now, I’ve watched people deteriorate further and eventually die.

But even the ones who’ve kept hanging on for quite some time suffer conditions I hope and pray I never develop. Honestly, I’d be afraid to think I was developing any of their problems. If those are a part of aging, I’m not in a rush to get there.

I guess I’ll just have to be patient with those minor aches and pains than seem unrelated to anything else. I should look at myself in the mirror and accept the fact that age brings physical changes, and probably none of them are good.

I’d love to have your opinion on this subject. Please leave a comment.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger

Why Blog?

Why do people blog? Why compete with millions of other bloggers for readers’ limited time and attention?

I started after attending a small class on “Marketing Christian Fiction.” The instructors–yes, the class was small, but it still required two teachers–emphasized the fact that marketing basically means enabling other people to like and trust the marketer enough to take a chance on his product. For the attendees, that meant our novels.

And to reach his intended audience in a positive way, the author needs either a website or a blog. Or both.

I already had a website, but I accepted my teachers’ recommendations about necessary changes, and I’ve continued improving my website ever since.

But what about a blog?

If having one would help me as an author, it was worth a try. As long as I didn’t use it as an overt sales tool. It should offer the reader something interesting or worthwhile. That made sense.

Most of the other writers I know blog about writing. I didn’t think I had anything new to add to that subject, especially if I was going to  post something new several times a week. And I’d probably just be blogging to other writers that way, anyhow. Not my intended audience.

I’d discovered early in my novel-writing career that it’s illegal to quote even a line or two of a song (unless it’s no longer under copyright) in any form of writing. Book, article, website, blog. Obtaining permission can be  expensive and time-consuming.

But I write songs. And I use my lyrics in my books. Why not offer the use of my lyrics to other writers–at no cost? Of course, I hoped they would probably be interesting to other people, too. And I could put free lead sheets of many of them on my website, too. Maybe that would interest some musicians.

So I started “As I Come Singing” (named after one of my songs). I posted two sets of lyrics a week, which lasted almost two years. At the end of that time, I started cycling through those posts again, but at the rate of only one a week. I’ve made an effort to spruce up my comments before republishing.

But was I reaching my potential reading audience? I write for both teens and adults. What could I write about?

I’m nowhere close to being the most interesting person in the world, but I realized I’m doing the same thing everyone else–young or old–is doing: aging. And since I’m closer to the end than many of my potential readers, I decided to use “On Aging Gracelessly” to reflect on my life at sixty-eight and some of the life events leading up to this point.

Hmm. If I wrote about myself, however, “would they come?”–to use the familiar and cliched phrase from Field of Dreams.  I tried it and you’re here. This blog at least gives you a taste of who I am, what I believe in, and what I want to be.

And that’s why I blog.

If you blog, why do you do it? Your comments are welcome.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger

When Should an Older Adult Quit Driving?

I’m smiling as I think about my father’s driving. For just about as far back as I can remember, he drove as creepingly slowly as any stereotypical little old man. That started years before he became a little old man, although his driving got appreciably worse as he grew older. He continued to drive until a few days before his death. Probably up to the day before he had to be hospitalized for the last time.

As a widow, my mother was in a quandary about driving. Her health wasn’t good, and she readily agreed that it probably wasn’t good for her to continue driving. So on the condition that I would drive her when needed, she let me trade in the Crown Victoria along with my car of the time and get a new car. One that we could conveniently put her walker–and soon thereafter her wheelchair–in.

My parents were in their eighties when they died. My mother had quit driving when she realized she could no longer do it safely. My father probably should have quit, but hadn’t.

What about me? I’m only sixty-eight and in good health.

But a year or two ago I drove through a wire barrier I didn’t see, and a few months ago I backed into a light post I couldn’t have missed seeing if I’d been more alert. I’ve always hated night driving, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to feel even vaguely comfortable doing.

Last night I rode to a meeting with a friend. And I’ve asked my wife to please start being the driver for Wednesday night and Sunday night church activities.

But I’m far from needing to give up driving completely. I’ve never hit anyone or even been in an accident with another vehicle. I don’t feel uncomfortable with daytime driving in familiar territory.

So what’s the big deal? Why write this blog post?

Honestly? I think I just needed to think all of this through and realize that I simply need to be more careful. Especially in parking lots!

What about you? What’s your opinion about or experience with older drivers? How about leaving a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out . If you’re interested, here’s the Amazon link.

Best regards,
Roger

What Childhood Memories?

questionMarks

When people start getting older, I thought they began forgetting what happened yesterday or last week while increasing in their ability to spend countless boring hours talking about what happened in their childhood and youth.

Not me. I remember yesterday and last week just fine. Of course, I have problems with names and faces, but that problem has been with me as far back as I can remember. No pun intended.

My problem is I don’t recall much from my childhood and youth. These are most of the things I DO remember:

  • Getting my first bike for Christmas and trying to ride downhill in our grassy backyard
  • Racing a neighborhood boy to the easy chair in my bedroom, breaking the window with it, and my parents making me pay for the repair
  • Going down to a younger friend’s house to watch “Roy Rogers “on TV every week
  • Going to a nearby park for the weekly nickel Coca Cola my parents permitted me to have
  • Watching my mother find where my father had hidden the grandmother clock (behind the studio couch) he’d bought her for Christmas
  • Receiving our first TV from the church my father pastored and the horrible reception we got
  • Attending a children’s choir practice and hating it
  • Finally learning to ride that bicycle
  • Crying when I heard we were moving away from the place we’d lived the first eight years of my life
  • Pigging out on homemade rolls at the home of a church member who babysat me overnight for some reason
  • Pretending to play the guitar that was sitting around at my friend Chuck’s house
  • Being severely frightened by an elementary school program which included a demo of the sparks from static electricity

Those events all took place during the first eight years of my life. I probably remember no more than an equal number of things from age eight to approximately age fifteen. That’s when I had acute viral encephalitis and almost died. But that’s another story.

In short, I almost get jealous of people who vividly remember a lot about their childhoods .

But who knows? Maybe I’ll be the reverse of a (stereo)typical older person and continue to be able to live in the present. I don’t know about your present, but mine is a great deal nicer than what little I remember about my distant past.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Best regards,
Roger