Those 'golden years' move like a yo-yo

Gary Mathen
Posted 1/29/18

All my life I’ve heard the term "the golden years," a time when you become old and everyone wants to do everything for you, because they all assume that you can’t take care of yourself.I decided …

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Those 'golden years' move like a yo-yo


All my life I’ve heard the term "the golden years," a time when you become old and everyone wants to do everything for you, because they all assume that you can’t take care of yourself.

I decided to do a little research on the golden years and found at least one definition stating this is a period of time after the age of 65.

Merriam-Webster provides the definition "The advanced years in a lifetime."

The Free Dictionary describes it as, "The time of life after retirement from active work. A period of time during which a person is normally in a particular life state."

Life state? What the heck does that mean?

I remember years ago seeing the movie "On Golden Pond."

For those who haven’t seen the movie or don't remember, it is about a man — played by Henry Fonda — who lives on (where else?) Golden Pond. He has the beginning of Alzheimer’s as he is living out his golden years.

Golden. I always thought that was a prestigious thing.

The credit card companies offer a Gold Mastercard because you have outstanding credit. Delta gives you a Gold Status because of the frequency of your travels with them; and hotels, well, you get the picture.

I was once Platinum Status with both Delta and Marriott. I wonder if there something called "the platinum years."

I think I know where those years will be spent!

A church we attended back in Macon, Ga., several years ago announced that a few of the members of our Sunday school class were old enough to advance to the church's Senior Citizens Group. 

Now pardon me if I am wrong, but isn’t that the last class before Heaven? No thanks. I will stay where I am.

I am going to go out on a limb and tell everyone who reads this column: I am on a fast ride to the age of 65. Yes, this spring, and I made it official today by signing into that large club called Medicare.

That’s right. I will no longer have to fight with doctors, insurance companies or anyone concerning a medical bill. I will simply hand over that little red, white and blue card and smile.

OK, back to those golden years. My understanding of retirement is you now have the time to do what you want to do, no more mundane hours or deadlines to meet. Travel, relax, enjoy what is left of your time.

Back the bus up, my friends. Someone has sent us down a deep, dark alley.

Recently, I visited one of my two best friends, my doctor. My pharmacist is the other one. I advised that sometimes we could meet at my home for a cookout or possibly go to Cracker Barrel, instead of me coming to his place so often.

This is the traveling that takes up most of my time. I am still waiting for those golden years to kick in.

Let's put the joking aside. I have been retired for almost seven years and it has not all been bad. 

I am able to spend time doing what I like to do best, visit my grandchildren, write, play some music and do some real traveling with my life-mate, my wife of 46 years. 

Life has been good and still is, although I tend to move a little slower and ache a little more.

Several years ago I wrote a poem about an old man, and I thought I would share it with you.

You now have me feeling tired. I’m going to take a nap.

'Old Guy'                                                               

When a man gets old 

he has nothing to do

He finds things difficult 

even tying his shoe

He sits in his chair 

and watches TV

wearing thick glasses 

just so he can see 

His hair looks shabby

his clothes are wrinkled

He has difficulty 

when he tries to tinkle 

His children may call him 

each week on Sunday

But the weeks get long and lonesome 

starting on Monday

The calls are good 

their voices sound sweet

Visits aren't often 

but priceless, a treat

Thoughts of his grandchildren 

bring him smiles

He would love to see them 

but can't travel the miles

He tries to be active

 young if he can

But the face in the mirror 

reflects an old man 

He thinks about life 

and where the time went 

He smiles at the memories 

of his days well spent

The times of his youth 

are more than just gone

He now spends his time 

reminiscing alone

He prays that his health 

will stay pretty good

If he can keep up his appetite 

he knows that it should

He moves a lot slower 

more careful these days

Watching each step 

his home is a maze

He fears of the burden 

that he might become

The problems that old age 

can bring on to some

An old man has pride 

but finds he needs help

His independence wanes

with each passing day

His legacy he worries 

will be forgotten too soon

Remembered for a season 

then quietly swept away

His eyes are now weary 

no gleam as before

He just sits in his chair 

and stares at the door

Life has been good 

the pleasures were many

He wouldn’t change them 

for a new shiny penny

The time he has spent 

with loved ones so dear

Makes him happy and sad 

that his time may be near.


(About the writer:  Gary Matheny is retired after a long career in the pharmaceutical industry.  Now a Cleveland resident, he is the author of two books: "If The Shoe Fits" and "The Bullet." He also writes a popular blog, "Life Happens." Email him at and follow him at his website


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