Posts Tagged ‘getting old’

lonelywalkonbeachI don’t think it’s easy for people of my generation to know if they’re old or not these days. I mean, when we were growing up – someone in their mid-fifties was certainly thought of as old, especially when most of the people we knew as “elderly” died some time in their 70’s or 80’s.

While that may still be true for some, more and more people today are living to their 100’s and beyond.

So, am I old, or just middle aged? And how do I plan the next 50 years of my life?

I tend to think of myself as a person who could – bar some tragic event – live well into my 100’s. Most of the women on my mother’s side lived into their 90’s, despite diets overloaded with sugar, fat and homemade biscuits. I’m blessed with my dad’s low blood pressure, and my grandmother died in her late 80’s with a mind as sharp as a tack. Those that did die “early” did so due to cancer, after being exposed for years to toxins like the now banned substances such as DDT, asbestos and an addiction to cigarettes.

However, the burgeoning world of opportunities still belongs to the younger generation who have pre-conceived notions that someone in their 50’s are too old to cut the mustard.

At the moment, I’m thinking of going back to school to earn a degree in English, in hopes of teaching in either a middle or high school environment. My reason for this is that one of the things that irritates me the most is that kids (and many adults) today don’t seem to grasp the difference in the words “then and than”, your and you’re, as well as there, their and they’re.

Maybe I could make a difference on a whole new generation that needs to learn the proper usage of the English language.

Doing something that makes a difference becomes a predominant thought in deciding what to do with the rest of our lives for people my age. At the very least we’ve reached an age of maturity that is of great value to society and future generations. We’re beyond most ego-driven impulses and can relate to most people without some preconceived notion of who or what they are. Patience is a virtue, and most people I know about my age have a lot more of that than they use to.

So, am I old or just in the prime of my life. Do I not have a value that transcends the vigor of youth?

I still can’t decide. I do know that I feel younger than the mirror shows. That I relate, enjoy and am open to all the newest wonders of the world the same as most college kids. Much more open to new ideas than my parents were when I was a young adult. The generation gap doesn’t seem to apply – or be as wide – to my generation towards young adults these days as it was when we were young. Unfortunately, I don’t think young adults today see it that way.

As my children have grown, one is now in college, the other graduates high school this spring, I can see the years I’ve spent raising them as quite an accomplishment. I enjoy being able to talk to my kids about anything. It’s easy for me to relate to what they’re experiencing in a way my parents never could. As they’ve gotten older, I see that they value my opinions and advice more.

While I do sometimes think I could have been a better mom, I have raised two great kids with the principles of kindness towards others as a primary objective. I was blessed in that I was able to be home with them when they were growing up. As they are getting ready to “leave the nest”, a sense of what do I do now has been an overwhelming dilemma, especially after graduating in 2004 with a media design degree in a market with no jobs, and those few available going to those much younger than me.

While I admit I’m not quite as fast as I use to be, I think that has more to do with my motivation than my ability to get things done. Some days I have more energy than others – but who doesn’t feel that way? I think my energy level has a lot to do with just being bored with the daily routine of my somewhat stagnant life.

In spite of the fact that I have accomplished raising two great kids, some days I see my life as unfulfilled. I need a new passion. A new direction. I need something that fires me up. A new sense of purpose.

With that in mind, I now see that perhaps I am limited only to the confines of my own mind about old age. That I am much younger than I some days think I am. That I do in fact have a lot to contribute, even as I grow older – and wiser. I am at the age of wisdom, and I have a lot to share.

Perhaps today truly is the first day of the rest of my life.

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