When ARE The Golden Years Anyway?


Positivity No Negativity Challenge

Day 63 of 84

Last evening we were visiting with some old friends who had just returned from a Christmas trip back home to Newfoundland. They were telling us about a 75-year-old friend down there who has throat cancer. He’s tired but his wife is even more tired. At the same age, now she is responsible for doing all the things she used to do, as well as the things that he used to do, like shoveling the snow from the driveway and other heavy-duty work things.

He said that he gets up in the morning and looks in the mirror and has a hard time to reconcile the person he sees there with the person he still believes he is. Getting old with its attendant weaknesses and maladies is not fun.

And then my friend told me that she is not looking forward to getting old and she asked me if I felt the same. Good question.

I turned 60 last September. Something happened in my psyche, my self-image, my way of being in the world at that time. I realized that at 60 years old I have fewer years ahead of me than I have behind me. I was impressed with the importance of making the most of those remaining years. When my mother was 80 and I was in my mid 50s, she told me something that comes to mind more often nowadays. She said that she always thought the ‘golden years’ would be in her 80s, as I did.

“But”, she said, “You, in your fifties and into your sixties, are in the golden years right now. Enjoy those years as much as you can while you have your health, the money and the time to enjoy them. Don’t wait, because when you’re as old as I am, you will be just plain old. There’s not much golden about being 80.”

It’s true. The golden years are usually considered to be the years after retirement, often at 65 and beyond. People think that once you’re retired you have bags of money to travel and live a luxurious lifestyle, and you might. But the reality for most people is that after retirement they have less money and more free time.

So to answer my friend’s question, I do not dread getting old, but there are a few things I want to accomplish while I am in my ‘golden years’ rather than putting them off until I am no longer physically able to do them. On the other hand, I find that life at 60 is starting to be a process of looking back and realizing that I didn’t do so badly; it’s a time of looking forward to grandchildren and being there for my children. It’s also a time to enjoy life now and not keep putting things off until…

Sure, there are things I could have, would have done differently if given the chance, but I really have no big regrets and my life right now is pretty good.

How about you? Are you dreading old age; do you think it’s the end of the world for you? Or will you embrace aging and the wisdom that comes with it?

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Today I am grateful:

1. For another raging storm outside (giving thanks in all things :))

2. For the big pot of chili that will soon be bubbling on the stove

3. For a day at home to classify yarn and fabric

4. For the warmest coat on the coldest day

5. For a great night’s sleep

6 thoughts on “When ARE The Golden Years Anyway?

  1. I am now 76 and have lived my Golden years to the full. I still feel 18 in my head but my body tells me otherwise at times. I too have nursed my wife through the hell that was cancer sadly she died last November. I have written about this on my blog as well as some verses about caring and loss.
    I did enjoy your post My poem the Golden years says it all !!

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    • Ted, thank you so much for the comments- I’m so sorry about your wife; it must have been tough then, but so lonely for you now. I’m going to check out your blog and poem The Golden Years.
      Christine

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  2. Great post chrissie.

    i have an old friend who happens to be in his eighties now. i know the man for 45 years. He expressed to me the very same thoughts, so there’s gold here. He said when he hit the sixties it was a wakeup call. Seventies were a bit more startling, and now he’s eighties were a definite : more time spent than you’re going to see again.

    My experience has been let’s rock this thing while we can. We’ll roll later.

    Thanks again for sharing ideas and concepts that make me think.

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    • Rocking now and rolling later…good thought. You might be interested in a book I read recently, The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die by John Izzo. It was life changing for me-

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  3. I hope I embrace it. It’s better than the alternative. 🙂

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