DEAR ABBY: This upbeat piece was written by my aunt, Marie R. Beatty of Denver. She wrote it for her family, but I think it deserves a wider audience. I hope you can find the space to use it. -- MARCIE THOMPSON, PEPPER PIKE, OHIO
DEAR MARCIE: I MADE the space, and thank you for sending it.
80 PLUS -- SO WHAT!
"People ask me how I can be so contented living alone. I am almost 84. First, I never really feel alone. There's so much life around me, I don't even eat alone. I have a tiny television set on my breakfast table, and I still live in the same house I lived in when my husband was alive.
"I find life very interesting. I can hardly wait to read my daily newspaper and the magazines I get. I want to live forever -- just to see what will happen!
"A bridge game now and then helps to keep my mind alert. So does keeping a diary and a scrapbook.
"I have a new project, a la Grandma Moses. I'm writing stories. It's fun, whether they're published or not.
"I think a person's attitude has more to do with staying young than genes. Of course, it's important to eat sensibly. (Even George Burns drinks prune juice!) And a little daily exercise is also necessary. I have an arthritic knee, so I can't take long walks. Instead, I exercise in bed just before I get up in the morning. First, I thank God that I'm alive, then I concentrate on the GOOD things that will happen that day. Is there a better way to start the day?
"I think older people should do their share of entertaining -- even if it's only homemade cookies and tea.
"Sometimes the rain gets in my way; then I remind myself that others may need it, so I put on my red raincoat and go out.
"Family is important. And how wonderful to have a grandchild call you a 'good sport.'
"It doesn't bother me if I forget something. Children are the best forgetters in the world.
"I consider getting older a triumph, but I want to keep on learning. There is so much to learn!
"At night I say, 'Thank you, God, for everything. If I didn't accept all the good things I was offered, it wasn't your fault; they were there. I'll be around tomorrow.' Then I fall asleep. -- MARIE BEATTY
"P.S. Perhaps I should have waited until I was 90 to write this, but I just couldn't wait to express myself. I expect to be around for a while; my mother lived to be 96."