My son used to tell me “Stop living in the past, Mum.” He said this to me when I resorted to the often-used, but pretty useless parental advice-giving that starts with “When I was a kid we had to….. didn’t have…..”
It’s hard not to spend a lot of mental and emotional time in the past as we get older. No one at any age knows how long she has to live, and it is a common human tendency to look back with nostalgia, or even to re-picture the past in a more positive light than it might deserve. It is also a hard reality that eventually there are many more years behind us than before us.
If we used those years well, they may provide the present with a foundation of comfort and sense of well-being. But if we were wasteful or unconscious of the passing of time, if we squandered opportunities, or floated along in a kind of stupor, is it too late to create a new reality for ourselves?
I must admit that I have many times been guilty of floating along in this manner and now am facing some hard realities. But I suspect that I am not alone. I would welcome comments, suggestions, and simple sharing of where we find ourselves at this time in our lives. Have you made big changes in your life at 50, 60, 70 or beyond? What motivated you? And what comforts you in those early morning hours when sleep is often elusive?
The eternal tides are comforting, time seems to stand still ocean-side. This is a place where I come to refresh my spirit.
“Dear Abby” once shared something sent to her about an older lady’s companions. As I recall they were Arthur Itis, Charley Horse, Will Power and Ben Gay–all gentlemen with whom I have become intimately acquainted.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I’m barely acquainted with Will Power. But the other men, oh, boy!!)
Lately I have to bite my tongue before answering the standard social greeting, “How are you?” Since you asked (you did, didn’t you?)…. I have sciatica, spondylolisthesis, sleep apnea and arthritis. I survived breast cancer a while ago, but other than that haven’t dealt with many serious health problems over the years.
It would be helpful to have a checklist to hand to people who ask this question so that I could tailor my response accordingly.
The Maven’s Response Checklist – Subject: “How Are You?” Please check one:
___ I’m just asking as a socially conventional question. I see that you are alive, and that’s really all I’m interested in knowing.
___ I am mildly interested, but don’t want much more than a vague response, like “okay” or “mezza, mezza” or whatever your particular culturally appropriate response might be.
___ I’m interested, and would like some details, either good or bad, but I’m on my way to my doctor for my own problems, so don’t have a lot of time.
___ I really care. I want to know everything. Please sign this HIPPA release so I can get your medical records.
If you think this is a good idea, you have my permission to print up your own cards!
Somehow I made it to 70 years without a lot of serious consideration or hard work. Well, I mean I did work hard, but not on the getting older part.
I know a responsible person is supposed to plan for retirement and old age, but I thought of aging as a handsome suitor waiting patiently outside in his top-down Classic Convertible, while I took my time finishing my makeup and combing out my hair.
We would date for a while, get married, buy a nice house that would be mortgage-free within 25 years and then retire. Of course, there would be money left over for us to travel and play to our heart’s content, because our 2.5 children would have all attended colleges on scholarships, obtained well paying jobs (with benefits) and provided us with well-behaved and devoted grandchildren.