Why they’re the “Golden Years”

courtesy of Microsoft clip art

Ever since a friend recommended an “affordable” hotel in Madrid and told me the price, I’ve been in shock. For those of you who plan to travel in your “Golden Years,” be assured that you’ll need a lot of gold to do it.

Even more challenging than acquiring enough money to travel is allowing oneself to spend it. We learn saving and spending habits from our parents. Mine had only a short list of things they were willing to spend money on:  housing, utilities, cheap cuts of meat, canned vegetables, gasoline, Motel 6’s, and, thankfully, college tuition.  (I did note that in her later years, my mother was willing to own and wear expensive clothing if I offered to buy it.)

My parents and grandparents lived through the Great Depression, and even as they aged they remembered what they paid for a loaf of bread, lettuce or bananas when they were young.  My mother didn’t want to buy lettuce until I helped her with her weekly shopping and put it in her cart. My father-in-law drew the line at bananas. Way too costly most days.

Some of my parents’ spending habits still reside in me, though it’s not true that I remember what anything cost in the “good ol’ days,” except for $100-per-quarter tuition at the University of Washington. Also, I have made progress in my attempts to redefine “luxury,” from a weekly hot fudge sundae in my mid-twenties to a monthly massage and a pedicure now.  Still, I shudder when I consider what seems beyond luxurious, like a 250 hotel room.

Fortunately, there’s help for people like me.  A friend just sent an article today from the blog timegoesby called, “The Misconception that Elders are Stuck in Their Ways.” The point the article makes, based on an analysis of “U.S. General Social Surveys of 46,510 Americans between 1972 and 2004,” is that “it is not just life-changing events and physical circumstances that elders navigate quite well. Attitudes and beliefs change too.”

The article also cited an experiment from the TV show, Mythbusters, in which the show’s hosts toppled the long-held view that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” In four days they taught two, stubborn seven-year-old Malamutes, who previously knew no tricks, to “sit, heel, lie down and shake.”

I’m turning to the Mythbusters guys, Jamie and Adam, for a four-day session before I go on-line to book that Madrid Hotel.

PS  See the blog, TravelnWrite, for cost-saving alternatives.

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About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness.
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One Response to Why they’re the “Golden Years”

  1. Jill Turnell says:

    I too grew up being aware of the cost of things. There was a time when my parents could not afford to have a car. I remember how excited we were when we finally had one again. We went for Sunday drives – taking our “picnic dinners” of fried chicken with us even when it was cold and rainy.
    To this day, I always look at the cost first when I eat out, or consider buying anything. The habit of “not enough” has stayed with me. And I can remember the cost of things – when bread was 35 cents a loaf and when gas cost 22 cents a gallon! I don’t think this old dog will learn new tricks when it comes to spending money!

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