A few years ago, I was having some back pain, so the doctor ordered some x-rays. A couple of days later someone from his office who was probably about the age of my favorite sweater called to inform I had osteo arthritis. I was taken aback by this news and immediately called my nurse/wife at work to ask her what caused arthritis. Her delightful, but occasionally smart-ass friend working in the neighboring cube overheard the conversation and answered the question with one word, “birthdays.”
It really was a great answer.
I quit having the back pain, but I am still having birthdays. That’s good news all around.
I know several people who read my words on Facebook, or my blog have had about the same number of birthdays as me. So, I started to think about timely observations and advice for folks our age.
Whatever the heck you are going to do, do it. If you goal is to retire, travel, move, or take up a new hobby or craft, this is the time. There is that window between responsibility and ability that is our golden opportunity. If you are fortunate enough, perhaps for the first time in your life, to live where you want and spend your time doing what you want, why not go for it? I certainly don’t recommend doing something rash or foolish, but it might be a good time to try something different since you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have been able to take up the hobbies of vintage lighting design, writing, and guitar playing. They are all new-ish things that a few years ago, I would have never thought about doing. I enjoy them and they add meaning to my life.
Take care for yourself. In seventh grade and all high school, but my freshman year, I ate lunch off campus. That meant Dairy Queen when it was open and Henry’s when it was not. Lafayette graduates of a certain age will understand this. I still ate like that for several years of my adult life. It’s wonder I am still alive! At my age, I realize I am no longer invincible. Now, while not a model of healthiness, I do focus more on diet, exercise, health screening, and attending to issues as they crop up.
I think it is part of being a good steward of our bodies. I don’t want to have to depend upon my kids, healthcare professionals, insurance companies or the government to take care of me anymore than necessary. I want to free to do stuff and not be a burden for others.
Nurture a legacy of love. The best part of my birthday has been talking to my kids and grandson, greetings from my granddaughters, and being the recipient of a lavish birthday dinner and gift by my wife. I also appreciate all the birthday wishes from folks on Facebook. I am always amazed how a refreshing, reaffirming relationship nourishes the soul.
As we run the last leg of the marathon, the things that mean the most are loving and being loved, being at peace with God, ourselves, and others, and savoring the little slices of life that each day holds.
May it be so.