June 23, 2019

My Projections: Was I close?


A handful of years ago I contributed an article for the book, 70 Things To Do When You Turn 70. At the time I was 64 but took a shot. I assumed that I would be be doing many things differently six year in the future, but exactly what was impossible to predict. Retirement had taught me that all my great plans were in a constant state of flux. My only requirement was to open to them. Like everyone else I was still working on the answer to common retirement questions even a dozen years after I began this journey.

Now that I am 70 I took a fresh look at that book to see what the other sixty nine contributors had to say. I expected to find some fresh ideas or perspectives. What I had forgotten was a dash of "elder" humor included. A sampling:

Elaine Madsen said, "The first thing to do when you turn 70 is to plan on being 80."

Samuel Eyser noted, "Some men drink. Some men womanize. I play the Trombone."

One of my favorite authors, Mary Sarton, who lived to be a feisty 87, had her thoughts included in the book: "In answer to the question, "why is it good to be old?' I said because I am more myself than I have ever been. There is less conflict. I am happier, more balanced [and] more powerful." 

Marshall Duke wrote, "...if indeed there is a battle between nature and nurture, nurture may have its day, but in the long run, nature always wins. And, that needs to be OK."

Of course, there are those folks who insist on trying to keep our bodies in semi-shape. Edna Levitt urged us to squat when we turn 70. Some explanation is required. For those of us she calls 'vintage adults' her advice is to do three sets of 12 squats while standing at the kitchen counter waiting for your morning coffee to brew. Several large muscle groups are used, and our rear porch (butt) gets some toning, too.

June Lands reminds us that Wolff's Law keeps it simple: Use it or lose it.

Allan Schwartz made a very important point: "The stereotype of people who are aging is that they become less flexible in their attitudes and opinions. Speaking for myself, it's become easier to admit my mistakes. Perhaps that's because I no longer worry that asking for help or seeking clarification will be perceived as a sign of weakness. Ego and pride are no longer associated with not knowing."

I like Patricia Rockwell's suggestion that we become detectives, curious about what life has to offer.

In his contribution, Robert Rector echos that feeling: "The sun is still above the horizon, though not by much. But, I'm not ready to say goodbye yet. Like a six-year-old, I'm still searching for worlds to explore and adventures to be had."

A quote from 96 year old Alyse Laemmle says, "Never run out of responsibility; if you don't have one, find one. Find a cause and knock yourself out for it."                

Ilene Little recalls one of my favorite movies, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. She writes, " I loved that movie for its portrayal of scenarios where high-spirited seniors resist the efforts of 'well-meaning' relatives to organize their lives."

"Becoming 70 is a chance to open new doors and enjoy life to its fullest," says Susan Kersley. "Recognize with gratitude that you are able to have opportunities to make a difference in both your own life and the lives of those around you."

Carol Osborn provides a perfect closing quote for this post: "When it comes to planning for your later years, the most important part is knowing what you can have control over, what you must accept, and as Reinhold Niebuhr put it, 'the wisdom to know the difference."

When I wrote my piece in 2013 I really didn't know where my life and attitude would be. I am happy to report in the intervening years I am satisfied with how things have evolved. Frankly, I was wrong: I am doing much of what I was doing 6 years ago, but more satisfied and content with the pace of things and my place in it all.

Life is good.

18 comments:

  1. You really don't know how it will go as you age. We are attending our next door neighbour's 90th birthday party today. She still lives independently in her own house, drives her car daily, works in the garden, and is steady on her feet getting around with no need for a walker. My mother turns 89 in two weeks and can do none of those things.

    Enjoy life as best you can and just like raising children, for better or for worse, it won't be the way you thought it would be.

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    1. Little in life is the way one expects it to be. One one hand that is upsetting, but looked at differently, that unpredictability is what makes it so interesting.

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  2. Hi Bob! What a fun way to gauge where you were with where you are today. And as far as the predictions go, I think just feeling that you are "more satisfied and content with the pace of things and your place in it," is probably the very best any of us can plan for. Thanks for that! ~Kathy

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    1. I also contributed to the 80 things to do when you turn Eighty book in the series. I wonder if I will still be clogging when that happens and I can look at what I thought things would be like.

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  3. Wow, are you clogging now? :)

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  4. My new philosophy after turning 70 is to follow the sunshine!

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    1. Literally or figuratively? I'd agree with both.

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  5. I get the FB feed on the National Senior Olympics that occurred over the past week. One woman competes in track sprints and swimming events, and she has set many world's records for her age group. She competes in the 100 years and older category. She is my hero and I would love to be in her shoes 35 years down the road.

    BTW, I figured she was the only one competing in that category but I was mistaken. There were others there as well. God Bless 'em.

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  6. The year I turned seventy, I re-read May Sarton's journal, At Seventy, which she kept for a year beginning on her seventieth birthday. It was a great way to get perspective on a new decade.

    Regarding ChuckY's comment above, one of my favorite things about the 102-year-old woman setting new world running records for her age category is that she first took up running when she was 100!

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    1. I have enjoyed several of May Sarton's books but don't think I have read that one. I will check it out.

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  7. I always remember that when we were still in our 60’s, our doctor said that “each decade brings change” – and he was so right – even though we are the same person, our bodies seem to know that 60 is different than 70 and I am sure that it will be very different when I go from the 70’s to the 80’s – etc – but hopefully even as our bodies age, we can personally evolve our attitudes and opinions – and in doing so age gracefully, not get cynical and grouchy and continue to feel that LIFE IS GOOD!!



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    1. My body is telling me I am aging. As long as I can keep my positive outlook I will adapt.

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  8. I'm not 70 yet, but I am sidling up to it. :-) DH is 73, and we were just discussing how we can do most of what we have all along, but we need more recovery time afterward. Can definitely feel the energy level getting lower, but we are still active. Just a bit more picky about where that energy goes. Our dads are gone, but both moms are still chugging along (mine is 87, his 97!). Life is good right now, and we're enjoying it immensely.

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    1. I agree with the recovery time! It is too bad our bodies can't stay as flexible and willing to tackle new challenges as our minds can.

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  9. I started the 3 sets of 12 squats while cofee is brewing and I am so SORE!!

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    1. I wouldn't dare try or I may never get back up to pour the coffee.

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