Marge Woodfin, Pilot staff writer

I have decided not to completely retire, but just pick and choose the most entertaining subjects to immortalize in the pages of the Curry Coastal Pilot.

I am officially the oldest employee of Wescom Communications, the corporation that owns a number of newspapers, including the Curry Coastal Pilot, and it's difficult to give up that distinguished position.

And, I have news for all of you, "I ain't down yet."

I remember reading a few years ago about a woman of 90 who was still writing for a newspaper, so I figure that I still have a few years left.

Thinking about old age drew me back to a section in E. Stanley Jones' book, "Abundant Living," that provides a suggested "ladder for old age." (Of course, I would prefer that he had referred to it as the "ladder for the chronologically gifted.")

Jones said the ladder includes seven rungs, some of those are:

andbull;"Accept your age." I don't see that I have any choice since my coworkers chose to announce my 80th birthday to everyone back in September 2004, with a quarter-of-a- page in the Pilot. But, that's OK. I don't mind admitting my age. When someone said to me after seeing that announcement, "I can't believe you're 80." I had to honestly respond, "I don't believe it either." But, I knew it was true.

However, it's just a number, and has no real effect on my state of mind or physical attributes, and I'm gonna' stick with my oft repeated claim, "I'm not getting old, I'm becoming chronologically gifted."

andbull;"Accept the responsibilities that come through that freedom." Well, now, I'd say Jones has gone to meddlin' a bit there. I'm looking for fewer responsibilities, not more. But, hold on a minute, his suggestions about relationships with children really are pretty good. He writes that with our children grown and out of the nest we might look toward helping other children. I have friends who read with children at the school or teach Sunday school classes and support other youth activities, and I must say it does seem to keep them looking and sounding younger.

andbull;"Never retire andndash; change your work." Now, he's really hit the nail on the head. That's one I've been preaching for years. He continues, "The human personality is made for creation, and when it ceases to create andndash; it creaks, cracks and crashes." Then he adds, "andhellip; create, otherwise you will grow tired of resting." I've observed that those who allow their horizons to diminish really do get old, so I say, "Don't retire, retread." I agree with Jones' statement, "You don't grow old, you get old when you stop growing."

andbull;"Surrender to God your loved ones who have died." He provided a somewhat gruesome example of a mother monkey who will often carry around the decaying corpse of a dead baby. "Such grief is pitiful, dangerous and useless," he wrote, and then suggested that continuing to grieve rather than releasing the loved one is equally pitiful, dangerous and useless.

andbull;"Develop the mind clear up to the end and keep fit for tasks here and hereafter." That fits perfectly with my long-held belief that you must use it or lose it, body, mind and spirit. What new idea, new book, new food, new activity have you entertained lately? If you can't name one, I suggest you start looking for one.

I repeat, "I ain't down yet," and I'm keeping my eyes and mind open looking for exciting new adventures.

How about you?