A TGB READER STORY: Ah, Look at All the Lonely People

A Rite of Elderpassage Again

This is not the northwest Oregon I grew up in. During the 10 days leading up to the weekend, temperatures have consistently been in the 90s Fahrenheit, even getting within a whisker's distance of 100 degrees once or twice.

It cooled way off on Saturday – god, it was lovely, and Sunday too. Then, the weather folks warned us, starting on Monday (today) temperatures will climb into the 90s again, the high 90s, maybe 100 for a couple of days while dipping into the high 80s for a day or so here and there.

It will go on this way, they say, until the last week of August. So unless the weather experts are bad at their jobs, which they rarely are, I am going to be miserable when I need to go outside until about next month.

I am telling you this so you understand why there is a sort-of TGB rerun today:

When I realized my neck of the woods is heading into a horrible heat wave of at least two weeks and knowing my personal temperature tolerance is between about 70F and 73F, I spent almost all of yesterday outdoors enjoying the glorious weather.

And not writing a Monday blog post.

Don't get me wrong. Even after 15 years, I still enjoy turning out TGB, but it was also fun yesterday to feel like I was playing hooky (for a very good reason) and getting away with it.

Later, while flailing around Sunday evening to find something to fill this space today that wouldn't tax my brain power much, I ran across a comment about an old post – a REALLY old post. From 2006.

Ten years later on yet a different old post in 2016, a reader named annie left in part this comment about it:

”I bookmarked that post, A Rite of Elderpassage, at TGB on 18 October 2006, and share it often. My experience was much like yours, it felt great, and I celebrated with a glass of wine too. I think it was the beginning of me loving my age and who I am each day.”

Isn't that a wonderful thing to read about TGB?

That link in the quotation goes to the original story annie is referencing. This link opens her full comment on the 2016 story page that is about what people have learned at this blog over the years.

Re-reading the two posts, all these 10 years later in one case, I realized I like them. A lot. I don't always feel that way about what I write. So I am giving you the links to go read, if you so desire, and maybe come back here to tell us – oh, I don't know - whatever you feel like about them. Or not.

And here's a reminder: Tomorrow will be the first posting in the new, weekly feature, TGB Readers' Stories, and I'll see you back here on Wednesday.


Glad you got out and enjoyed yourself. Grab those days when they come. Meanwhile I'm happy to read your 2006 post.

We got a slight reprieve here in Walla Walla but only on Sunday, very cool morning and a mere 86 in the afternoon. It's delicious 59 this morning but later back to the high 90's and beyond. Best of all the days of wildfire smoke blew away and isn't back yet.

Yes, enjoy the days as they come. Here in California, where the forest fires are burning up the state, we have had weeks of over 100 degrees. More to come.

I signed up for SS online, as I recall, so there was no feeling of celebration. I think that came the day I was driving into Rocky Mountain National Park and the lady at the toll booth asked if I had my drivers license with me. I did, and showed it to her. She then told me that for a mere $15 (or thereabouts) I could by a lifetime pass to All the national parks and monuments in the country. Whee!

Try to stay cool, everyone. We've had some of the same heat -- 90s - 100+ -- in Denver and my a/c can't keep up with that. I start wilting at 75ish, and some days it got up to 79 in here. Meanwhile, everything in my yard keeps growing! Ack! I really don't like summer anymore.

For many years I have wondered why people retire to Florida or other warm states, especially as I have become less heat tolerant.

Friends who have retired to year-round hot areas explain that they get up really early to do their yardwork, walking, and shopping. They then close themselves inside their houses for the rest of the day and crank up the air-conditioning. So many friend's photographs show wonderful 55+ communities with empty outdoor amenities, including pools.

After years of winter commuting they want no snow, but once you are retired the pressure to go out in inclement weather is off. I love being retired and looking out at the snow through the window from in front of my fireplace, maybe taking a broom out and brushing the front porch if needed.

I signed up in person, too, and had a lovely experience with the woman who assisted me. I was still working at the time but preferred to walk through this in person, despite being comfortable with the computer and doing things online. You expressed my reasons very well! As for the heat, here in Pennsylvania we are on something of a break from the oppressive heat. Unfortunately, my AC broke down about four years ago and, since I don't much like AC I haven't had it repaired. This summer has convinced me that it's time to take care of that and the technician will be here tomorrow.

The man that currently infests the White House said today that the reason for the frequency and intensity of the wildfires in California are due to the current environmental laws. You can't make this stuff up folks.

When I retired four years ago at age 66 after 36 years working for a weekly newspaper in Northeast Oregon, there was a retirement dinner (staff only) and the head of the family-owned publishing company declared August 29, 2014, as Elane Dickenson Day in my honor, with a proclamation that listed some of my accomplishments as "where-as", including outlasting "countless editors, general managers, publishers and owners", amassing the institutional history of the county and the newspaper, and "consistently kicking the ass of the competion." I loved it (and I get a life-time subscription to the paper). My daughter celebrates August 29 every year. Social Security, well I enrolled on-line, no big deal, other than it's my main retirement income.

Since my late husband's SS was far more than mine, I took it at age 60. The clerk was very friendly, and informed me of all the options. I had looked forward to that day ever since my husband died, but was surprised by the tears on my way home. Regret that he couldn't have lived to get his due benefits.

At 65 I signed up for medicare, and actually that was the benefit I most looked forward to since I'd struggled with private insurance the past five years, paying exorbitant premiums. No tears then, just a great big smile! And I didn't really know how good medicare was until a few weeks ago I had to be in the hospital for some tests. Between medicare and Plan F supplement, I had an even bigger grin of relief the tests were all fine, and the bills paid.

Those two benefits certainly ease the rite of passage into elder-hood, imo.

Ronni, if you don’t have a cooling cloth (that gets chilly when wet) they are widely available on Amazon. They provide such relief on muggy nights or when you need to do something outside when it’s super hot, which seems to be the ‘new normal’ in many places.

I’m living in Europe where it's really hot. My cure for hot weather is to wash some sheets in cold water and after they they come out of the washing machine take a nap with them or you can even put them in the freezer for awhile.

We’re having similar high temperatures here in the mountain foothills of Southern California northeast of Los Angeles. I go out on errands in the heat of the day, occasionally, though I wouldn’t have to, but I don’t linger long outside the car or my destination. I don’t tolerate the heat as I did when younger, or the cold either, but choose to not go back to the Midwest’s icy cold snowy winters, even to live closer to family.

Wow! This 2006 post to which you referred and I reread surely did bring back a lot of memories. Earlier in the year I had just found the blogosphere and your blog when I was simultaneously learning to use a computer and discovering the internet. I was almost immediately caught up in reading someone who was as interested as I was in the use of language, with whom I shared concerns about ageism and numerous other topics.

I learned bloggers could actually form and be part of a community. I discovered I wanted to comment on this blog, overcoming my reluctance to do so. I learned I could actually write a blog post. I especially benefitted from the support of so many writing at TGB then, including especially RB and Cowtown Pattie, plus welcomed the caring I received when my husband died unexpectedly.

I even began to think I might start a blog of my own, which I accidentally did that I’ve since described elsewhere. I’ve valued ideas received here for action to effect change on matters important to me politically and socially. The news items, information, entertainment, humor offered here and introduction to new interesting bloggers has continued to be an attraction though I sometimes take a break to avoid ..... addiction (really?).

Yes, give yourself breaks, enjoy any pleasant weather and appreciate each day!
A toast to that and to you!

We are having much of the same weather in Portland, ME. I have spent a lot of time inside with the a/c on. I read The Rites of Passage and had to chuckle as I am fairly newly retired (about 20 months now and yes, I had a retirement “tea” and received a rocking chair :) I felt the same way on the day I signed up for my SS benefits. Here I am...finally elderly. ;) I spent 18 months downsizing to move to Maine from MA and now I wander about looking for things to keep me busy. I volunteer once a week at the local library (I live in Falmouth) and once a week in the OLLI office at USM. It feels good to be (mostly) in charge of my time now and I’m fine with who I am.

In another life I have central air. In this life, in an older building in midtown Manhattan, even with the window air conditioners blasting and a fan pointed right at me, I cannot cool down enough to sleep well at night. Misery.

Just this morning my husband and I (both early 60s) were trying to figure out how we will bridge the gap from when jobs end until we are Medicare-eligible. Suffice it to say if pre-existing conditions are considered, we are well and truly [expletive deleted].

Re Bruce's comment above, an infestation indeed!
Keep cool, Ronni.

I’m remembering reading that "coming of age" post 12 years ago. It’s still a fine read. Thank you for reminding us that it’s important to note/celebrate milestones. For example: The Belovéd asked me what I’d like to do for our 25th anniversary. I consulted "Ye Olde Buckette Lyste". And here we are in an adorable rented canal boat on The Erie Canal, going east and west through the amazing locks, reliving US & NYS history; just the two of us (and the dog) celebrating with burgers and beers. It’s our kind of cruise and it’s all good.

This is not the same south-central part of Nebraska I grew up in either. The average state-wide relative humidity during the day in the summer is 85% (Florida is 89%) The north & west are pretty dry, this area is what pushes that average so high.

When I lived next in a town in Kansas next to the Missouri River during the late ’70 thru the 80’s, I thought I had moved to the tropics. It was such a relief when I would drive “home” to visit relatives, and finally dry off! It was still grasslands then, which have since been plowed under and are now irrigated (and chemigated) acres of corn & soybeans. I’ve heard it called the “lymphoma belt”, and I am one of it’s inhabitants.

Thanks to a diagnosis of CLL three years ago, I cannot handle the heat, much less the humidity. I don’t even drive anywhere in the afternoons - even though my car is reliable, if I had car trouble, or an issue of any kind, the heat would literally end me. I miss the pastures, having grown up wandering through them.

And “thumbs up” to Bruce’s comment.

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