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The Columbia Press

Columnists & Other Opinions

Senior Moments: Walking helps overcome the blues

Emma Edwards
By Emma Edwards, Thursday, March 19, 2020

I’m not sure who said it, but think about this: “During the first third of life, everyone told you what to do. During the second third of life, you told everyone else what to do. And during the final third of your life, everyone’s telling you what to do again. The good thing is that you can’t hear ’em, so you don’t care.”

Sometimes, we seniors tend to feel sorry for ourselves. You ask me how I know that? I am a mature in years senior, so I have experience feeling sorry for myself.

When I get in one of those moods, real or imagined, I find a walk around the block is best. It was a lot easier when I had a dog. I didn't have to talk to him. I have trouble walking with a friend because we tend to talk and I run out of breath.

Inevitably, friend or dog or alone, it tends to make us feel better. It would be easier to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over our head and drift off into never, never land.

I think the older we get, the more situations arise. It doesn’t set in too often for me, but when I feel myself getting cranky that’s a pretty good indicator of what’s to come.

And, by the way, (at least in my case and probably many others) don’t anyone go feeling sorry for me when I act out like that. It’s been said that “Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone. Empathy is feeling sorry with them.”

When you or a loved one finds themselves in this state of mind, it seems to help if someone is there with you. The problem is that most seem to have an agenda and their own stress.

While you’re reading this, there may come a knock on your door and you find it’s a neighbor who just needs a word of encouragement or a helping hand.

Often, we are so busy or so wrapped up in feeling sorry for ourselves that we don’t recognize their plea for a listening ear. The Bible tells us to “love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”

A popular quote from Charles Kingsley is “Make it a rule, and pray to God to help you to keep it .. never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say ‘I have made one human being at least a little wiser, a little happier, or a little better this day.’ ”

Kingsley was a British priest and author, born in 1819. Some will remember his books, “The Water Babies” and “Westward Ho.” I haven’t read either one.

Pondering his words will make us less introspective and more outreaching. It’s a good cure for depression and feeling sorry for ourselves.

So, no more whining. Just go for a walk.

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