Eighty years old and now what?

Being eighty years old crept up on me,almost without warning, even though odd misgivings about being so old have plagued me for a few months.

Eighty years old

‘I plan to be 79 recurring,’ I joked this time last year.

Yet here I am, officially old, and feeling not much different from before.

My dread melted away at celebratory lunch in a riverside restaurant with my husband, siblings, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on my birthday, with flowers and cake and candles. Surrounded by so much love and attention, I am blessed.

My family on the lawn before lunch

I remember now that old age runs in my family of origin. Three of my grandparents and my father lived into their eighties or longer. Choosing one’s genes obviously works!

My sister Elizabeth gave me a card with the caption:

EIGHTY AT LAST.  NOW YOU CAN FORGET GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY

That’s one more blessing  –  a dispensation from working to meet some of the expectations I’ve put on myself over the years. Grace doesn’t come from pushing myself.

I don’t think it is quite time for the rocking chair, but perhaps it is time to choose different priorities as I explore this next stage of my life.

Sisters

This has been a big year, with time out for  surgery and illnesses. Writing became an effort. I stopped. My blog broke months ago. To fix it, or even to find someone else to fix it, seemed an insurmountable problem.

Then we made our long-overdue decision to downsize. Even with loads of help from my children, getting ready to sell has been hard work which goes on weekly, sometimes more often, for ‘home opens’. Perhaps the right, cashed-up buyer will wander in soon with an offer we can’t refuse. Here are the details if you know someone who might be interested.

After the house is sold, finding somewhere else to live and moving will be intense but enjoyable. We like the idea of an apartment in the middle of things, within walking distance to the train, a pool so we can swim often, church and shopping.

How to be eighty years old?

I don’t know how to be eighty years old, in spite of the title of this post. But experience has taught me how to fake it ’til I make it. That’s exactly what I mean to do, because it’s worked in the past and  will work again. There’s a sociological explanation about how pretending to act in a role can work. It has to do with the playfulness that lets kids learn about the grown-up world. There’s no reason why being eighty won’t be as creative as, say, being 47. Or 65 for that matter.

 

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