I just turned 58.
At this stage in our lives, most people will look at life as “Been there…Done that”. After all, the reason the government made 60 the retirement age when we entered the industrialised age, was that we only had a 65 year life span. These days, we are expected to go beyond 80.
So, as we head for 60 and beyond, we should be looking at life as “Right here…Doing this”.
Getting old gives me perspective. It is not something that a teenager or a young adult has any inkling about. Only age can provide this insight.
This perspective can be seen from the two vantage points of Possibilities and Probabilities. Usually, when I see things for myself, I have a much better understanding. And when you have been looking at things for over 57 years…you see a lot of things. Now, I understand a hell of a lot more.
I am going to list below the things I have seen for myself and comment on what has been possible and what have been most probable for most people. It is not meant to a judgemental thing. Just some personal observations…
Money: Making more money is still in the fore front of most people’s minds.
It is possible to get to a stage in your life and realise that you have enough money. For now and for the future. This means no more having to do things just for the money. My mum and dad said this to me when they were in their late 80’s and 90’s –“…we have enough money. Don’t think that you have to keep making more money all your life…”
Now I know that they did not lie.
I still work hard and do things. But that is because I like doing things to the max (guess why I still race A grade – when I could be retiring to a lower grade…). Somehow, I just can’t stop my bank account from getting bigger.
Looking at the probabilities around me, I also realise that money is still a big issue for most people. The 80/20 rule means that most people will probably not realise that they have enough money. There is nothing that I (or perhaps you) can do about it. I only observe and make comment.
Family. The stable family unit is an exception.
The probabilities point to a 50% divorce rate. Add that to families that are as good as divorced and you can easily get up to 80%.
It is possible to have a tight family unit. This is one where independence is allowed to grow and dependence is nurtured. Differences and personalities add the spice – but does not ruin the meal.
If you fall into this category, feel blessed.(I feel blessed every day)…
Career: It is not what they make it out to be.
The probabilities are that the career path that you have chosen will shortly come to an end. What now?
It is possible to go through life without a career path. Instead, if the focus in our working life was just to do things that provide value to others…it is a mission that has no end. I do not anticipate that I will be thrown into the career scrap heap any time soon – simply because I do not have a career.
Personal Growth: I do not mean putting on more weight!
Sometimes, when I go into my ‘childish moments’ – my wife tells me to ‘grow up!’. We all receive life experiences as the years fly by. They are meant to make us grow up.
It is quite probable that the life experiences are treated as mosquitoes at a barbeque on a warm summer’s night. A nuisance that only deserves to be killed off. The quicker the better. You can lead a horse to water – but you can’t force it to drink. Most people just don’t drink.
It is possible to take the blessings and hard knocks that come your way in your stride – and let them infuse you with deep emotions that you have to work through. Eventually, you will come out the other side a bigger person (and I don’t mean size).
Physical: There is a log graph in there some where…
Half our population is out of shape. When a thing is out of shape, it does not look like it should be. When a human is out of shape, not only do they look a bit disproportionate, their ability to put in physical efforts is also compromised.
With 50% obesity and similar proportion being unfit, the 80% portion is easy to reach. So, it is quite probable that you are out of shape. But your physical shape has very little to do with age (and this is where the log graph comes in).
It is quite possible to be quite old and be in great physical shape.
My speed on my bike is faster now then it was when I was in my university days. And I can go just as hard for just as long (no jokes about sex – please). I just find that I do not recover from hard efforts as quickly. I am the same weight and everything still functions quite well-despite all the accidents and broken bones.
Spiritual: This is about the spirit – not religion.
I notice that all the spiritual gurus have no religion. Religion tends to cloud our understanding of spirit and with so many people being religious, it is quite probable that the majority of us draw a blank on spiritual issues.
It is possible to live this life and the next without a religion. It is possible to be the fish in the aquarium and marine biologist at the same time. You become a better fish when you know about the great oceans and yet still swim around in the controlled environment of the ‘fishpond’.
It is possible not to fear death because you know that there is no such thing.
Social: facebook is to blame.
It is the social aspect of life that I find hard to define.
It is quite probable that you are on facebook (where everyone wants to be friends) or you just have lots of ‘friends’.
I am quite happy being with myself. Some people have no friends. So, it is quite possible to spend your life talking to yourself.
But the very nature of life means that we can only play with other players. So, at every moment in life, there is an interaction with another. But that interaction can be without words.
It is probable that you think being a social animal is all about talking.
It is remotely possible that you have found that you can socialise on a more meaningful level without saying a word…
Is it worth getting older? I hope that my observations above can open up some of the possibilities that this life can bring…