Wishing You a WOOFY New Year

Posted on January 2, 2013

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Welcome to 2013

Despite the fact that a new year often brings unattainable resolutions, I have set a new goal for the coming year. I am going to make an earnest attempt at becoming a WOOFY, that is a Well Off Older Folk (or Fogy, or Fossil). It is an acronym that is used to describe the ever-increasing demographic of senior consumers. That being said, I am not speaking of seeking monetary wealth (although that elusive winning lottery ticket is still key to a cushy retirement), so much as further enrichment of my life. As for the “older” part, well that’s just a physical thing that happens to coincide with the calendar, not my general approach. Maturity is simply one of those characteristics of senior life I like to ignore periodically, as some of my friends will attest.

Growing up in a working-class, dirt-under-your-fingernails environment, being tagged as “well off” always had a certain negative stigma attached to it. It always came down to a comparison of haves versus have-nots, mac ‘n cheese versus sirloin steak.  As a twenty-something, I was admittedly envious of people who could afford the nice “toys” and pleasures that a generous pay cheque would allow. (Unfortunately, that attitude still prevails in many young adults who feel entitled to all kinds of luxuries.) Thankfully, I learned how to live frugally within my means and budget for treats every so often. Starting out as a have-not really was a blessing in disguise.

Sir Richard Branson

So does being “well off” mean living an exciting life akin to Sir Richard Branson? Indeed, elements of his life are probably extremely rewarding given he spreads his wealth around. While having a little excitement now and then (like jetting across continents for a new business venture or setting world records) definitely makes for an interesting individual, I am not lusting for his adrenaline-high lifestyle – never will be. Heck, I once got a rush from just being a finalist in a radio contest! (So close, but like darts, I missed the target.) What I find satisfying and exhilarating these days is experiencing new places, revisiting spots that bring good memories, and surrounding myself with positives. It seems to me that we often miss the little wonders of life, like how a trickle of cold cream swirls in a hot mug of coffee, making patterns like a cosmic nebula. If we stop to smell the roses, wet pine boughs, or fresh bread from the oven, we just might be more content with our simple daily lives, not dwelling on our have-nots.

The best WOOFY people I know are grateful for their home (whether that be a modest one-bedroom apartment or a manor house), their family (realizing the sacrifices made were all worthwhile), and themselves (finding a balance and peace in their lives). I know of people who are struggling on a fixed income, yet are rich spiritually with hope. Those are the people who inspire me to see the best when darkness looms in my own life, maybe even find some humour. Strangely, I’ve always found that the following saying brings a smile to my face: “It’s always darkest before it goes totally black.”

It’s going up on my bulletin board.

Although January may still be a month of dark days, I hope 2013 is a bright year when we find what we need for wellbeing. And that applies to all ages, not just us older folks – even if getting “I’m a W.O.O.F.Y.” tee-shirt would be fun!

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Posted in: Mid-Life Quirks