You ain’t smokin’ them cigarettes….. ©

The title of today’s column is half the title of my favorite philosophical song of all times. The full title is : “You ain’t smokin’ them cigarettes, (Baby they’re smokin’ you)! The song is on the flip side of a beautiful, autobiographical worship song from the 70’s called “He was there all the time” and the songwriter is Gary S. Paxton . The two songs are as different as night and day as was Gary’s life before and after he embraced Jesus Christ as his savior. But that conversion didn’t cause Gary to lose or set aside his quirky side. Click on if you ‘d like to hear an audio of Gary’s testimony and/or some of his music. Like so many of our generation, Gary already went on to meet his maker in July of 2016.

The reason the “Smokin'” song is my favorite is that it can be universally applied to just about any human vice you can think of: Drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, ill-gotten money, or, as is the inspiration for this column, STUFF! Here, let me show you how it works: “You ain’t usin’ that STUFF, (Baby that STUFF is usin’ you)!

And the reason “Stuff” is on my mind this morning is that I spent a part of the weekend helping one of my son’s move . How do we ever accumulate that much stuff?! I say “We” because I’m just as guilty as any of you who might be reading this column. In fact, I’m still renting a storage building because of too much stuff; that’s this fall’s project … empty it and eliminate the monthly rental fee. Another column for another day?

We’re so blessed to live in the USA where most of us have never wanted for a real NEED in our lives. But our prosperity can have a darker side such that what should be material blessing to lift us up, becomes “STUFF” that weighs us down instead.

As we reach the senior stage of our lives, one of the gifts we can give our sons and daughters as well as ourselves is to get rid of the unnecessary stuff in our lives. If we don’t do it someone else will have to deal with it after we’re gone. But how do we do that , especially after years of marriage (in our case 48!). Well, here are a few guiding principles that might help. Get rid of it if:

  • You haven’t used it in (1-5) years. You pick the number.

  • It will never fit you again

  • It doesn’t add to the peace, beauty or quality of your life

  • It would mean more to someone else (as in kids or grandkids) . My late mother in law practiced this one the last few years of her life.

  • You don’t know what it is. Better ask other household members first though!

If you’re still having trouble getting rid of Stuff, then go back to Gary S. Paxton’s website,, listen to the “Smokin'” song and plug in “STUFF”. Maybe that will inspire you. At the very least you’ll get to enjoy some unique, soulful music from a gifted songwriter and singer (I’ve been listening to it all morning as I’ve been typing this column…..Wow!).

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at

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