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Friday, June 2, 2023


The Octogenarian: Enjoy life while you can

Ken headshot cart

Photo by Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

I am about to celebrate my 85th birthday. But to me, it is the 13th anniversary of my 72nd birthday. Why? Well, it seems that all of the males on both sides of my family live to the ripe old age of 72 or below. Only my Uncle Bob on my father’s side and I have been exceptions.

So, what do you do to fill an extra 13 years of life, if you are given them?

One thing I have done is pick up an additional college degree, and now I’m on my way to earning another one.

I’m also learning new computer skills. I was a professional and amateur artistic photographer with a college degree in scientific and technical photography, but because of my loss of sight, I cannot see to use my cameras anymore.

Well, the blind agencies that help those of us with problems of sight have supplied me with a very modern, small computer by Samsung that has camera capabilities that go well beyond every camera I have ever owned.

In the past 13 years, I have also acquired two great-grandchildren. The 5-year-old boy and I have become buddies, and he entertains me with the speed of his thumbs on his electronic tablet.

When I was his age, thumbs were for sucking.

My great-granddaughter is full of energy; always moving, keeping her also-beautiful mother in shape by being in constant physical pursuit.

Due to a limit to my mobility, I find myself engaged in a lot less solo activities, but I have learned to enjoy many of my wife’s favorite activities that we now engage in together. For instance, she has always been fascinated by parks and wildlife areas, and I now accompany her on her explorations. I enjoy her companionship.

It has become a family joke when, in the car, she asks, “Where should I go? Or should I go here or there?” and my stock answer is, “I’m just the passenger. I go where the car goes!”

I love it.

As I can no longer drive, my son and wife are my chauffeurs, and there is a lot of play time with them, so I’ll just keep plugging along and enjoying each additional day I am given.

Two main things: One to follow the secret to my longevity, which is to wake each morning (about 3:30 a.m.) and thank my God for another day, and the other is to make some positive use of that and every day.

My advice to my readers as you surge ahead, planning your life: do not miss counting the importance of each day, and make your best use of each individual day you are given.

Life is a very fragile entity and can be removed from us in many ways at any time. Treat the day in front of you as though it may be your last, and I guarantee you a form of self-satisfaction that many are lacking.

Opinion columnist Ken Levin is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected]


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