THE ART OF AGING: Part VII – It Ain’t Necessarily So

In Act III of life, we, the players, question what we’ve believed to be truth up to now. We may decide to hang onto those beliefs, or we make changes because we suffered a reality wake-up call.

We’ve been shaken by the unveiling of maxims that once guided us through decades. We’ve suffered the dismissal of beliefs because advances in science shook them until new evidence popped out and proved old research incomplete, wrong, or obsolete. We travel and see atrocities in other countries, returning home and giving thanks that we live in Canada… until some of those atrocities begin showing up on our soil. For many of us, it’s taken a rude awakening to accept that Canada’s government institutions, for example, may not truly hold our interests at heart. From provincial and federal institutions to local agencies and companies, we may feel betrayed by dishonesty and sometimes fraudulent operations. Our naiveté may well have warped us into believing things that simply weren’t or aren’t true.

Following are only ten of the numerous points that Canadians once believed to be truth, but are now singing, It Ain’t Necessarily So.


1.  Vacations provide the restoration we need.

Vacations, as we know them—vacating work and home for leisure time away—have their historic roots in America as of 1869. After the Civil War, and with the help of Reverend William H. H. Murrays best-selling self-help guidebooks and publications such as, Adventures in the Wilderness, and Camp-Life in the Adirondacks, Americans bought into the idea of restoring health and happiness in idyllic settings where nature blessed them with pure mountain air, emerald-coloured lakes, and forests that purified. The curative powers of vacating one’s normal, dreary, every-day stressful existence for a few days of camping or hiking in a wilderness just begging to be explored, was a temptation beyond any other.

Exotic Vacations Vacations have since morphed into exotic excursions, elaborate getaways, and sometimes financial cesspools. Further, it is becoming more difficult, if not impossible, to truly vacate one’s busy life and find restoration and happiness in a vacation. In fact, some companies now fully expect its employees to be accessible, usually by cell phone, while on vacation.

Can one really take a break from everything? Is it possible to get off the grid these days?

Woman and tablet on vacation

In 1999, cell phones were not as common as they are today where even toddlers can be seen with them. If you did have a cell phone back when, you didn’t get service everywhere you went. And, since WI-FI and tablets weren’t a thing either, you could go on vacation and actually be away from checking your email or text messages.

According to a 2011 study, on a typical day, we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information, five times as much as we did in 1986…Beware the false break. Make sure you have a real one. 

Today, going off the grid is the only way to escape. And even then, there is likely still the urge to check your phone. The trick nowadays is finding that place off the grid!

2.  We feel safer today… 

… especially with home security systems and the like.

Many see terrorist attacks more of a looming threat today than ever before. Terrorism existed in 1999, and we worried about it, but it wasn’t something to stress over during everyday life. That all changed after 9/11/2001, with the blatant destruction of New York City’s Twin Towers. 

gargoyl flipped

According to Vox, peoples’ fears in the US have stayed elevated after 9/11 to nearly the same as after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. However, Ted Lieu of Poynter Institute says that “The chances of being killed by a refugee committing a terrorist act is 1 in 3.6 billion.” Whereas, the odds of death by falling is 1 in 127.

While much of the world has seen an increase in terrorism, the rate of death from a terrorist attack has actually decreased as of 2017.

3.  Young people have it easier today than we ever did!

According to this article, young people today are worse off — For millennials, the situation is grim. Compared to their parents at their age, the under-30 set is worth only half as much

Wallet in Vice

Finances have impacted younger generations in a number of areas, three of which are:

  • The price of owning a house or property today is out of reach for most, not just the young.
  • Remember when we went to elementary school and all supplies were provided? Today, Canadian schools fundraise to maintain the basics of education.
  • The quality of public education in Canada has declined because of cutbacks. The young people I meet today lack rudimentary language and math skills, and are generally unable to transfer what they’ve learned into practical, daily life.

4.  The Canadian government has our best interests at heart.

80 per cent of Canadians feel the country’s elites are out of touch; More than half of Canadian citizens say they distrust their civic institutions.

Stats Canada says:

  • 38% of Canadians express confidence in Federal Parliament
  • 61% of Canadians express confidence in school systems, 59% in banks, and 57% in the justice system and courts.
  • 40% of Canadians expressed confidence in the media.
  • 30% of Canadians express confidence in major corporations.
  • 76% of Canadians have either a great deal of or some confidence in the police, making it the institution with the highest level of public confidence.

International survey indicates trust in key institutions is declining—

  • 74% of Canadians have a sense of injustice in Canada;
  • Canadians distrust CEO’s, government leaders, religious leaders, and the super rich;
  • Canadians have a dim view of their families’ future prospects.

5. Religious clergy are trustworthy.

“Oh, church,” the woman said. “My grandfather went to church.”

  The Globe And Mail

Betrayal is as old as time itself, and religious arenas are no exception. Example upon example come to light as to how religious clergy are losing ground in the areas of being credible, ethical. A 2015 Angus Reid Institute poll shows that only 30% of Canadians are likely to embrace religion, while 26% reject it completely. 44% of Canadians are “somewhere in between”. And, it’s difficult to find trustworthy, ordained ministers. According to researcher Douglas Todd reports that Canada’s congregations are facing clergy shortages.

Jesus Betrayal Giotto
Kiss of Judas (1305) – Fresco
Giotto di Bondone (1270-1337) | Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel, Padua.

A new poll from The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research [University of Chicago] explores Americans’ views on clergy and religious leaders, their role in U.S. society today, and the influence they have on individuals’ day-to-day lives. The results:

  • 55% of adults say religious leaders have a positive impact on society;
  • 34% describe them as extremely or very trustworthy.
  • 47% percent would welcome the influence of clergy in their life.

Americans Trust Clergy Less Than Ever, Gallup Poll Finds

6.  Divorce generally has a minor impact on children.


Divorce introduces a massive change into the life of a child no matter what the age. Parental divorce is a watershed event for kids. The life that follows is significantly changed from how life was before. This article suggests that divorce impacts children because they:

  • Witness the loss of love between parents;
  • Experience parents breaking their marriage commitment;
  • Have to adjust to going back and forth between two different households;
  • Experience the daily absence of one parent while living with the other;
  • Tend to fall behind in math and social skills, and may not ever catch up with their peers.

Researchers Amy Morin and Dr. Joel Forman say:

  • Kids are likely to experience distress, anger, anxiety, and disbelief.
  • Many kids seem to bounce back. They get used to changes in their daily routines, and they grow comfortable with their living arrangements.
  • Others, however, never really go back to “normal.” These children experience ongoing, possibly lifelong, problems after their parents’ divorce. 

7.  Canadian Health Care is wonderful.

  • The Canadian system is ranked by the Commonwealth Fund as mediocre at best. We have an expensive system of health care that is clearly under-performing… narrow scope of services covered by provincial insurance plans…
  • According to the World Health Organization, Canada ranks 30th in the world, with the U.S. ranking 38th. The ranking criteria were: bang for the buck, preventive measures, and access for vulnerable populations.
  • Doctors are self-employed, not government employees; Canada has 15 different health care systems; Funded health care services are not provided equally across the country.
  • CTV’s Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks says that nearly 4.8 million Canadians said they didn’t have a regular doctor — with the highest rates reported in Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, according to figures from Statistics Canada.
  • 241 physicians per 100,000 population (CBC News)

Five million Canadians don’t have a family doctor. —  Tom Mulcair

8. Internet medical sites are best avoided.

health care online

Online medical info links seem to threaten some medical personal, but thank goodness for sites like these that initially provide helpful information to users who do not have access to a family physician or medical care in general:

National Institutes of HealthAmerican Diabetes Association Mayo Clinic | Cleveland Clinic National Institute On Aging | Medline Plus | John Hopkins Medicine

9.  Innocent until proven Guilty


 John Howard Society of Canada, March 16, 2020

The John Howard Society article goes on to say— 

PRISONERS IN THE STOCKS. Medieval prisoners in the stocks. 19th century wood engraving.

The effective standard of conviction in many trials is not ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ but ‘balance of probabilities’. Not ‘are we absolutely sure the person did this’, but ‘do  we think it highly likely the person did this’. Jury trials are particularly susceptible to verdicts based on emotion, but judges have also been shown to have biases that affect the way they deal with trials.

  • Guilt is assumed by police, crowns, media
  • Remand and bail assume guilt
  • Small number of trials adds to the problem
  • Defendants overwhelmed by the system

The presumption of innocence is one of the golden threads that holds together our justice system. It operates as a shield between the individual and the overwhelming power of the state.

10.  Older = Wiser? 

The older you get, the wiser you are – this is true. But you also question what use this wisdom is. David Levithan, Invisibility

The association between wisdom and aging has a basis in biology: as humans get older, the mind further develops, a direct by-product of simply having lived longer and experienced more things. Older people are usually more proficient than young people in certain dimensions of cognition, particularly those that involve different ways to solve problems, as well as life planning, and making future goals. Those deemed as “wise” are considered to have greater empathy, be more correct in their views of others’ emotional status, and be more thoughtful of the wellbeing of other people. Wisdom thus appears to incorporate a kind of “emotional intelligence” focused on relationships, accounting for why it so revered… The accumulation of wisdom appears to be nature’s form of compensation for the body’s insistence to age. Lawrence R. Samuel Ph.D.

cyprus-Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay_1920
Do you know where this monument is?

If indeed, if we are wiser as we age, then it makes sense to use that wisdom and rethink some of the beliefs we’ve held. This will enable us to guide the ‘youngsters’a centenarian uncle once called a chap in his eighties thisand ourselves to finding peace and joy in the lives we live.

A person who has mastered peace of mind has gained everything.

Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv, the Alter of Kelm

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is rose-in-a-broken-bottle-august-2020.jpg

… “Welcome to hell!” A visible shudder ripples through my aunt’s shoulders… The train of passengers, privileged and otherwise, trudges in the rain through a corridor of guards with machine guns… Finn leans back in his chair. The acrobatic cigarette once again flips through its moves in his left hand while his right hand thumb flicks the lighter on and off. “Knives are quick, noiseless, and convenient to carry. Those guys were in and out of there before anyone would have noticed that she was slain.”… Four footsteps. I sense a presence next to me… the smell of onions and garlic… the bureau drawer sliding open… a gentle touch on my shoulder slipping down my arm… cold fingers placing something soft into my hands… It’s when she mounts the rostrum that I see her four-inch stilettos, daggers to be sure, transporting her naked, unshaven legs…

Zita Anders spends her summer vacation visiting her father in one of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia where she experiences the poverty, corruption, and perversion that rake the newly independent nation her father has come to call home. ROSE IN A BROKEN BOTTLE is Zita’s account of the people, their land, and their hardships, of the fear and scourge, of the beauty and joy in a country that is so very broken. Her narrative is about the hope and loving relationships that emerge midst that brokenness. Inspired by a true story. | Analynn Riley is a Canadian author. BUY IT HERE

ROSE in a BROKEN BOTTLE – Adult novel based on a true story
NINE GIFTS- with Study Guide
THE CURSE – with Study Guide
RUSH of the RAVEN’S WINGS – Youth short story with Study Guide
NO PASSPORT FOR ÉTIENNE – Short story inspired by true events
THEFT OF BABY ILY – Short story inspired by true events
MYSTERY of the SINGING GHOST – with Study Guide
MYSTERY of the TRACTOR GHOST – with Study Guide
MYSTERY of the THREE SISTERS – with Study Guide
MYSTERY of the LOST CELL PHONE – with Study Guide
TEDDY MEETS KIBOKO – Children’s novel with Study Guide
KIDNAPPED SANTA – Children’s novel with Study Guide

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Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen
Looking Back
Can’t help Lovin’ That Man
Young As The Spring
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