I can see an array of multi-colored fall leaves from my home office window on this gorgeous Monday afternoon. I am so blessed to be alive so I can enjoy the fall weather.
When I was a kid, I remember raking leaves then jumping into them, scattering them again. I would smell the fresh air and look up and watch the clouds seamlessly float by. My biggest problem for the day was what time I had to be home for dinner. I loved being outside and playing with my friends.
Then I grew up. That’s the way the universe works, it gives us so many years of being a carefree kid and then boom! Responsibilities, job, marriage, children and then finally, retirement. Or so we hope. Hopefully, most of us are in good physical shape so we can enjoy our “golden” years.
Growing older today is probably not what most us baby boomers envisioned when we were in our 20’s. I thought by 65 I’d be retired, sipping a Pina Colada on a beach somewhere with my spouse. Boy, did I miss the mark. I’m not retired and I’m not married. So much for that happy ending.
Nobody knows what the future holds. Life is an unpredictable open book that has a beginning, middle and end. A story not to be revealed until we make our way through it.
The life expectancy predictor for a 65-year-old today is 18 1/2 years. If I’m lucky, I will live to be at least 83.5 years old. Genetics may play a role here. Or maybe it’s a bit of both. That’s 18 plus years of income I’m going to require to live the lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to.
My mom and dad retired at 65 and lived to the ripe old age of 86 respectively. They ran out of money and sat home most of the time.
Both parents, relatively healthy before they retired, suddenly developed an array of maladies that eventually shortened their lives and limited their ability to move around, too. Their social life was almost non-existent.
What To Do Next
And then there’s me. Although there are many a day I just don’t want to get out of bed lately, I know I have to work. Luckily, I work remotely, so it’s a few steps to the home office. Though I try to get up early in the morning to exercise, it just doesn’t happen. The T.V. commercials make it look so easy (if you believe T.V. commercials). Just click that wrist watch and it will tell you when to stand, sit and exercise!
I’ve raised my children, finished my degree and got a really cool job. I’m waiting for that little voice in my head to tell me what to do next. I’m stuck! I feel like the commercial, “I’ve fallen and can’t get up!”, except mine says “I’m stuck, and I can’t get out!”.
Can you tell I’m a little freaked out? It’s like I should be doing something besides wishing and thinking. I like to write, so I blog. I’m hoping along the way I am making connections with people of all ages. I like the idea of that.
I visualize myself going for long walks in the woods and taking pictures with the new camera I bought but hardly use. To contemplate my next artistic adventure, I created a “hobby room”, which I am not using to its full potential. Quilting is something I’ve wanted to try. I used to sew quite a bit when I was a young mother. However, that’s going to require the purchase of a sewing machine, so I better be sure that’s something I want to do.
I’m not like my grandmother who used to crochet and create beautiful crafted pillow cases and doilies for the home. She made it look so easy and it seemed to give her comfort and something to do with her time to pass the hours.
I’m not quite there yet. Maybe when I’m “older”. My mind wants to do cartwheels, run and Rollerblade because it looks like a blast, but my body says, “I don’t think so“. I feel deflated when I see a 90-year-old woman on gym bars doing pull ups. Oh, yeah, they are out there refusing to give in to limitation. Bravo for them!
Today is my cousin’s birthday. He’s a year younger than me. A few months ago to everyone’s surprise, he passed away suddenly. Actually, three days after my mother passed. The suddenness of his death brought perspective to my life. It’s not like we can pick when we go, we don’t control that.
Don’t squander your life wishing, instead just do it, whatever “it” is! There are no guarantees in life except birth and death, and all that falls in between those two events are the choices we make.
Age – a Numeric Value
But wait! Most baby-boomers view age as a numeric value having nothing to do with how they feel. You can be 86 or 90 and feel like you are 25. If you are 25 and ill you can feel like 90. I definitely feel more like 35, which is probably why I think I can still do cartwheels…