At my 80th birthday party, I was honored very pleasantly and humorously. Then I was asked to make my own responsive remarks. Among my appreciative remarks, I also facetiously said, “I'm 80, but I plan to live to 105.”
My quip about living 25 more years turned out to be a very meaningful statement. Since the party, when I said those words, I have been firming up something in my senior spirit. Now, instead of wondering and puzzling about what the future holds and how the schedule will work out, I have the number 105 in my psyche. Instead of an open-ended wondering, I am strolling forward with a 25-year agenda. And I feel very good about that. Instead of a vague uncertainty, there is a time line to live by.
Certainly life-span realities have changed a lot in my life time. When I was a youth, women mostly worked at home and men punched the clock daily until they were age 65. Then they went home, sat in their soft chair, and died by the age of 70. Today life is totally different. Both men and women are working in the marketplace or industries, and retirement is an option for almost any year of life. It does not have a specific age, and it is less often now to be at age 65.
Health and life-span are clearly helped by having meaningful work, hobbies, or challenges of any kind. For myself, although officially retired, I am constantly preoccupied with being in touch with people, pastorally teaching, listening, visiting, writing, competing (golf), being kind — in other words, “giving”. The fascinating discovery—announced by a variety of educational resources—is that giving is not only helpful to the recipients; it is health-enhancing for the givers too. Giving is good for us!
As you can see, my setting of age 105 as an age goal has inspired me to learn how to live healthier and better. Living another 25 years is not just a passive expectation. It is a challenging goal I must think about accomplishing. And I trust the good Lord is smiling supportively at my life goal and my thoughts about how to get there.
Write to us at ShowUp@careandkindness.org, or Like us on Facebook and add a comment there.