Southern Indiana Living

JUL-AUG 2018

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Jul/Aug 2018 • 9 A friend told me about his aunt, who will be 100 this year. She leads the same kind of life that I do. More and more of us make it to 100, so getting there is less and less a big deal. "The Today Show" better settle on another milestone to celebrate. But we might be rethinking the fin- ish line to life. One hundred? I had assumed 75 — a mere decade away — to be about it. That way, I would live longer than Mom or Dad. Now 80 seems increasingly doable. One hundred? Might be nice. Might be possible. My doctors already stay a step ahead of my health problems. Besides, medical science stands ready with replacement parts — knees and hips and such — like it's Auto Zone. Also, I don't smoke. I am a gym regular. I eat more salads than steaks. I do not text and drive. Most days, I do not text at all. All that buys me time, right? Then again, in my family, making it to old age can prove as elusive as another hoops title for my IU Hoosiers. At least I made it to retirement, to grandparenting. Many in my family didn't. My pessimism is not altogether crazy. I just hope it is obsolete. Retirement becomes easier, though never easy. One more decision or com- mitment lurks and gets in the way of naps and TV-watching and long lunches with friends. I enjoy having things to do. "Busy" is not in every way a four-letter word. Then again, having nothing to do does me good as well. Maybe I will be re- incarnated as a slug. I pondered death 40 years ago as of- ten as I pondered streaking at the North Pole. I volunteered to coach T-ball, back then. Playing in Little League was a lot of fun and, by coaching, I could repay. And maybe coaches too could get free post-game snow cones. I continue to volunteer, 40 years later. Coaching led to being a Big Brother, which led to membership on the boards of Little League and Big Brothers. There was the time our Big Brothers board got in hot water for drinking cold beer at meetings. But I digress. Appointments followed to one board after another. Leadership South- ern Indiana, the American Red Cross, the YMCA, my church, the Howard Steam- boat Museum — each one (and others not listed) was an honor. I could say they spot- ted brilliance. Or I could be honest and say they spotted willingness. Not one since has offered beverages stronger than bottled water, by the way. Yet I went on. I go on. I serve these days on four boards. While I await my Nobel Peace Prize, I pass along why this matters: Citizenship helps keep me relevant. It helps keeps me use- ful. It helps keep me out of my house slip- pers and away from the chocolate-covered cashews. I wholeheartedly second the motion that volunteers get more than they give. Some indeed give at awesome sacrifice, all right. Our communities thrive because of these people. I hang in there more than I stand out. But if I am not sitting near you at one of these board tables, why not? Trust me — If I can do it, so can you. The trick to making it to 100 might be to come back in from the pasture and to contribute. However long you and I are to live, though, we still can be counted on. The clock on our value does not need to run out. So I will second motions and ask pes- ky questions for as long as God allows. You too can find a niche. Just ask around. You can build ramps for the dis- abled or stuff envelopes for a charity. You can console new widows or knit blankets for new babies. You can take far-flung mis- sion trips or check on shut-in neighbors. My current causes are a school, a park, a cemetery and a couple of public libraries. I have said yes to buildings and to lawn tractors. I have said yes to replac- ing administrators and to revamping pro- grams. Decisions can be sobering with or without alcohol. If I mess up, well, I apologize. If I took pleasure from failure, I would play golf. With citizenship, however, success is mostly about showing up. To pitch in even a little is to help out a lot. Besides I, like you, have enough to worry about. This living-to-100 thing comes indeed with one challenge after an- other. More years alive equals more bills to pay, more grandkids to spoil, more elec- tronic gizmos not to know how to operate. Will you and I reach 100? Will we be better off if we do? Let's stop imagin- ing our obituaries. Let's stop counting the years. Let's start making more of them. Let's be alive as long as we are alive.• After 25 years, Dale Moss retired as Indiana columnist for The Courier-Journal. He now writes weekly for the News and Tribune. Dale and his wife Jean live in Jeffersonville in a house that has been in his family since the Civil War. Dale's e-mail is dale.moss@twc.com A Note to Baby Boomers Adding Up the Numbers About Getting Old However long you and I are to live, though, we still can be counted on. The clock on our value does not need to run out. So I will second motions and ask pesky questions for as long as God allows.

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