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Published: Saturday, 6/15/2002

Seniors give timeless tips to 40-year-old

Cathy McVicker turned 40 last week.

“I'm fine with it. That's why I wanted to celebrate,'' she explained.

None of those regrettable over-the-hill black balloons for her, thank you very much.

Instead, they put on a party for her at work.

There was cake, of course. And, hey, there was even a stripper!

“The maintenance man came out with a painted board, and it was dressed like Mel Gibson,'' Cathy said, by which she meant it sported a nametag that said, yes, `Mel Gibson.' “And then they opened Mel's shirt, and started stripping him.''

With a scraper.

Get it?

Painted board. Scraper. Stripping.

Well, come on. You didn't really expect some Chippendale dancer to show off his six-pack at the Eleanor Kahle Senior Center, did you?

Don't you people remember Mrs. Kahle? Waaay too much of a lady for those kinds of shenanigans at any center named in her honor.

As executive director of that senior center, Cathy is surrounded each and every day by what she refers to as her “extended family.'' So when her birthday rolled around, she asked them all for something special.

“I asked them, in lieu of presents, to please give me advice on how to live the next 40 years.''

Ask, and ye shall receive.

What Cathy says touches her most about the lengthy list of tips for better living is that not a single one of 'em has to do with money or possessions.

“So many people advised me to keep a positive attitude in life, and to make relationships important.''

Take it from those who know; these are a few things that wise middle-aged folks (sorry, Cathy) should plan for in their next 40 years.

Keep your teeth.

Color your hair.

Don't get fat.

Life begins at 40-plus - but it's later than you think.

Drink and be merry, but not to excess.

Take good care of your health.

Exercise every day.

Never retire.

Once you retire, you'll find you miss us, so don't leave!

Keep howling at the moon.

Be happy - the first 40 years are the hardest.

Be good to your spouse.

Make lots of friends.

Eat dessert first!

The next 30 years will be great. Look out at 70!

Keep on gardening.

After 40, keep a smile on your face when you discover ...

- that first gray hair, that first cute wrinkle

- your hips start protruding, your teeth get loose

- your hair gets thinner

On the other hand, when you turn 50 ...

- your hair “turns'' red, your makeup hides the wrinkles

- a wig covers the bald spot

- your brain tells you it's time for a vacation.

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