Life is a gift, we’re told. Cherish it.
That’s true, to a point. We enter the world as a wailing infant, with no thought or expectation, other than, “feed me!” And, we often leave the world in a similar state, if we’ve lived long enough to suffer the benefits of old age.
From Joan Baez, “You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.”
I latched onto the word “decide” when deciding to write this post: Decide to live – fully and happily – Now!
It’s not as hard as you think. Yes, we’re conditioned to get old. We’re conditioned to believe there is an end to our life, even as we keep breathing. But, you can decide not to believe that.
Our life, according to the society we live in, ends when we retire. Sometimes a bit before, if you’re a woman. Women are viewed as less than acceptable when they lose their looks. And, that loss is subjective. I will write about it another time, for now, remember that a wrinkle here and there will never keep a woman from her full potential. And, many of us don’t reach that full potential until society thinks it’s done with us.
It’s time to stand up and shout, “I’m not done yet!”
It’s time to throw the old notions of aging and vibrant living out the window, give them a proper burial, throw dirt on them, a lot of dirt.
We folks of a certain age are not going to go sit in the corner, no matter what society tells us.
We folks of a certain age are here for a long, long time. We’re vibrant and alive and not leaving anytime soon.
The key here is our decision to live. Long life is a choice. It’s a conscious decision – deciding to be strong and healthy and lucid. It’s deciding to continue being who we are for a hundred years, perhaps. Perhaps more than a hundred years.
It’s not always easy. What is?
Happily, I can say that those of us who have chosen the decision to live long and happily, bring a great deal of quality experience, intelligence, and insight to our communities.
In A Case for Rebranding the Older Worker, Marian Salzman writes
“As The New York Times puts it, “There is [good] reason to keep innovators around longer: the time it takes between the birth of an idea and when its implications are broadly understood and acted upon. This education process is typically driven by the innovators themselves.”
I tend to hesitate to use that word “innovators” as it’s become rather cliche, in my opinion. It’s overused and no longer means what it did. An innovator is a true bricoleur, someone who makes magic with old boxes and string. Someone who sees a problem and finds a new solution. Someone who believes the Susan B. Anthony quote, “Failure is not an option.”