I had my 69th birthday about two months ago. When the first number in my age is still a six I can think of myself as older middle age. But, next year when that six is replaced with a seven, I am officially in the old category.
I mentioned to my granddaughter that 70 would feel like I had reached the top of the roller coaster track and what lay ahead was a fast, scary, downhill run to the bottom.
She quickly told me my concern was misplaced. Amazingly perceptive for a nine year old she said, "Granddad, the fun part of the ride is when you go down! That's when it gets really exciting!"
Wow. That immediately stopped me in my tracks. She was absolutely right, not only about roller coasters but about what is to come. The exhilarating part of the experience can still be ahead. Her one, heartfelt comment summarized everything I have been writing about for over eight years: that we choose how we approach this stage of our life. As long as we can, we explore, grow, engage and stimulate all our senses.
Obviously, just like a roller coaster, our ride comes to an end. We may have all sorts of technological wonders and amazing medical care (if we can afford it), but we still have an expiration date waiting for us.
We can dwell on that end and some of the unpleasant things that may lie ahead, or we can throw our arms up into the air, screaming with excitement and feeling the rush of life through our veins as we grab all the joy we can.
I can't think of a better analogy than the roller coaster's plunge down the hill. Thank you, granddaughter, for giving me a fresh look at what lies ahead.
The first in a series of three new booklet-length resources is now available. Preparing For Your Financial Future after Retirement is a guide to the most exciting journey of your life, the one that takes place after retirement.
Whether you are still working toward this new phase of your life, or already there, Preparing For Your Financial Future should be one of the resources you consult.