Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It’s not gray hair, it’s silver lining

Younger people, even doctors, sometimes assume an older person must be
depressed or unhappy. “Face it, the best of your life is over,” caring
souls say to indicate their sympathy. Except I’ve rarely felt happier.
I’m writing a whole new chapter in my life.
Each age has its burdens and blessings.

Below are the joys I have found since turning sixty:
• I no longer fear dying young, even though my pediatrician told Mom
my asthma would be fatal
• I will not die of rattle snake bite when I sit on one while hiking
again, or lose control of the car in the Sierras again. Climbing
stairs sometimes feels like a risky adventure that ends in victory.
• I once was lost, but now I'm found; was blind but now I see without
glasses. Thanks to my ophthalmologist in Rochester Hills. What a
difference a day without cataracts makes!
• I thought I'd die of embarrassment in my fifties when women in their
forties asked "Why do women your age let themselves go?" In my
sixties, I've embraced my shapelessness. Hubby does, too.
• The women who swore not to "let themselves go" are wondering where
their waists and chins went.
• It takes years of practice to learn dying of embarrassment is never fatal.
• My aunts said it is a great blessing if the last three years before
retirement are the most difficult. Then retirement is a great relief
and joy, instead of a sad parting from friends, meaningful work, and
paychecks much bigger than pension checks. They also said if a
co-worker treats you like they can’t wait to see you leave, they are
jealous because they can’t.
• Children add meaning to my life, but now I can give them to someone
else if I need a nap.
• For 45 years I worked in noisy, busy offices. On the most stressful
days, I survived dreaming of retirement when I could write articles, a
novel a blog instead of memos, directives and statistical reports. Now
I write articles, novels, a blog and only answer the phone if it's for