In a few days I turn 69. That’s one year away from 70! Hello Old Age Crisis! Goodbye Happy Life? Suddenly instead of cruising along on auto pilot…. The questions rush in. How many more years, months, days do I have left on this planet? And what do I want to do with the unspecified time I have allotted?
When we are young it’s easy to dream, to look ahead with visions of grandeur, accomplishment and adventure. At midlife its evaluation time. What have a done so far? Where do I want to go now? What do I need to change? What am I going to do for the rest of my life?
There are no regrets in life, just lessons.
– Jennifer Aniston
Old Age Crisis Time!
Pushing 70 it’s a bit different. Some family, friends and colleagues have already passed on. How much time do I have left? And an even more terrifying question, how much good health remains? Some my age are quite limited by ailments. So with this huge unknown, and some things already in decline, what do I do?
There are two extreme choices:
- Give up and do nothing. Sit back and relax. Slide towards the ultimate ending with no resistance.
- Deny it’s happening and plunge ahead. Live like a twenty year old. Spend money. Make money. Live on the edge.
Somewhere in the middle reality raises her head. Do what you can. But don’t push too hard.
However, I don’t like that either! Deep inside I’d still like to accomplish something, would still like to make a difference, would still like to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone.
With that said, what does that look like? What am I doing? From the extreme of binding myself to a rigorous doctoral schedule to the traveling Africa again in our Land Rover. Then there’s Nikela, what about Nikela? Early on I had the impression, “This is a work that no other can do.” I know, that sounds a bit presumptuous, but its reality. Not only that, this phrase keeps popping into my mind these past weeks as I’ve been in this Old Age Crisis.
Does this mean I continue with Nikela with additional gusto? Been at it for 11 and a half years! That’s the longest I’ve stuck with something, with anything besides my marriage of 46 years.
Sometimes making decisions, when its totally up to me, is tough. After all there’s nothing pressing me to up my game on the Nikela or any other front. At my age I can pretty much do as I please, within reason of our budget of course.
I’m so very blessed to have a supportive spouse, good health, greats kids, a comfortable lifestyle (even though some would question living in a Van in the USA and a Land Rover in Africa as ‘comfortable’) and I drive to make a difference.
Still the Same Problem
My overriding problem is no different than it was at all the transition points in my life…. Diffused focus!
While working with a career counselor during my midlife crisis he said, “You’re the most driven person without clear focus I’ve met.” And that sadly hasn’t changed. At these junctures my interests and motivations are so scattered.
How do I get more focused? How do I eliminate the outliers and narrow the field? Hmm? What helped once before was asking myself the question, “What would I regret most if I died tomorrow?”
Let me ponder on that for a bit. After all, this question is a tad more urgent at 69 than it was at 39.
Be Brave. Only Believe. Just Do.
Margrit Harris loves nature and wildlife pretty much above all else… that is except her spouse, Russ.