Thanks Jeff for the prompt. This free-writing exercise for day 7 of my500words, brought out a bit of melancholy.
I wished someone had told me, five, ten, or twenty years ago how hard things get when you begin the downward trajectory of life. I will turn 62 in November and in terms of the average life span in the US, 62 is still young.
However, no one prepared me for becoming irrelevant. What I mean is, as we approach this time in our lives, our children are adults, many into mid-life and the grandchildren seem to be maturing faster than the weeds in my garden.
The children you once spoke to daily or weekly are now caught up in their own immediate families. Their schedules packed running one child to dance, the other to sports practice.
While they used to run situations or decisions by you, they no longer need to, having gained a fair amount of life experiences themselves. Now, they are the parent comforting, or giving out advice to a child. Problems once seemed only insurmountable if discussed with mom are now handled with a mature and steady mind.
As a parent, on the one hand, I’m thrilled they can do it themselves. After all, that’s what all the years of parenting were for, making them independent, strong individuals capable of dealing with the ups and downs of life. On the other hand, I miss being needed.
It’s not as if they don’t want my advice (Ok, maybe sometimes), but they don’t need it. I’ve done my job. All that’s left is to sit back and relax. If only it was that easy.
Growing old can be very lonely. So, here are a few things I wished I’d known and even though, no one is asking, a little advice. Take it or leave it, but I hope you will at least consider it for the times ahead.
- Cultivate a hobby, something you enjoy early on. It will keep your hands and mind busy when the days become longer.
- Cultivate friends, many of them, paying special attention to those most loyal.
- “Do for others as you would have them do unto you.” It isn’t just a Bible verse; it is a way of life and when honored will reap many rewards.
- Be kind, but genuine. In this hectic world where everyone seems to wear their feelings on their sleeves, it is often difficult to stay the course when the road of values divide.
- Learn to disagree, agreeably – silence and acquiescence will smother you as quickly as a soft pillow pressed upon your face. There is nothing worse than a disagreeable old person.
- Give more than you take in relationships, time, and money. The benefits far out weigh dividends.
- Learn to listen. Sometimes, all anyone needs is an ear.
- Stay informed don’t lose your voice, it matters.
- Stay active and honor your body. The years ahead will present challenges and the better prepared your body is; the better you will weather the storm.
- Remember your father and mother. Check on them, call them, and ask the questions you want to ask now. There will come a time, when the answers are lost.
As a nurse, I understood the cycle of life. Much like the 3 act structure in a novel, we are born, live, and die. The second act is where all the exciting things happen. The third act of life brings resolution. Make it exciting all the way to end and have no regrets.