Acquiring new skills in the golden years


By Sue Curtis



As I approach my golden years, which I seem to be doing at about the same rate of speed as Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes, I am realizing that I’m gaining some talents of which I had been previously unaware.

Perhaps necessity is the mother of invention, or in this case, the development of new skills in my toolbox. It’s barely possible that with the decline of some of my abilities — like seeing without glasses, hearing without a hearing aid, and chewing anything hard or sticky — I am acquiring new and exciting talents.

One of these newfound gifts is the ability to fall asleep if I sit down for more than 15 minutes, especially after dark. I used to be quite a night owl, often staying up until the wee hours working puzzles, reading, watching television, or writing. Now, it’s difficult for me to watch one of my favorite shows after 9 p.m. without nodding off. Of course, by the time I make it upstairs, finish the nighttime hygiene, and get into bed, I’m usually wide awake again and aware of every joint that was not slathered in some kind of arthritis ointment. Too wide awake to sleep, but too tired to get up and do anything more interesting than mentally complain about the state of my bones.

Another interesting new talent is built upon my longstanding skill of household procurement. Ever since Matt and I have been married, one of my duties was to insure we had the necessary things for our lives to run smoothly. This included groceries, of course, but also fueling the cars, picking up dry cleaning, buying gifts for any occasion, getting cigars when the occasions arose, and picking up supplies at various hardware stores, pet stores, or other specialty shops. This was never an annoyance to me, because I love the whole process of running errands. It suits my need to check things off a list. Matt loved it because, most importantly, he hates shopping, and secondly, it gave him a few hours at home in relative peace and quiet. He would use those hours to repair things around the house and do yard work. It was a win-win for both of us for years.

Then we retired, and I noticed a small shift. He liked me being home to “help” him with various projects. This usually involved me doing exciting things like holding ladders, handing him nails, or kneeling on hard floors to pull out staples from the installation of 1950’s carpeting. Suffice it to say, I was not overjoyed with this subtle shifting in assignments.

It’s taken a while, but I have finally perfected my timing so that the need for procurement matches the initiation of a new project around our house. This insures that we continue to have all necessary items, and that I don’t have to stand around for hours watching him measure boards and holding a tape measure.

Acquiring new skills in the golden years is a great way to keep your marriage secure and happy.

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By Sue Curtis

Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy. Email her at suecurtis9@gmail.com.

Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy. Email her at suecurtis9@gmail.com.