It’s Not All Doom And Gloom

 

There are benefits to aging. It’s not all doom and gloom.

Currently, I’m dealing with a situation again that eight years ago made for a lot of angst in my life. Today, the second time around, it’s not exactly ho-hum, but I have the attitude of ‘it is what it is’. I slept through the night, no tossing and turning over possible outcomes. Sitting here this morning, relaxing with my mug of coffee and surrounded by three of my zen masters (read cats), the benefits of aging is on my mind. Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. The words “life’s too short” take on real meaning. While I used to mouth those words, my type A personality couldn’t stop thinking about how to mitigate a given situation. With age I’ve come to understand what I can control and what I can’t. I control what I can. The rest I leave fluttering in the wind without worry.

2. I’m grateful for the ability to experience aging. We all had people in our lives who didn’t make it this far. Disease or accident claimed their lives early. My oldest brother was killed in a car accident. He will be forever twenty. Old age is a gift.

3. I care a lot less about what I wear and how I look. Oh, I still take care of myself. But, my wardrobe consists mainly of t-shirts, jeans and comfy shoes or sandals. When I worked, along with business attire, I put on full makeup every day, styled my hair. Now, I throw on some mascara and blush if I’m going out, pull my hair back into a ponytail and off I go. And, I let my hair go grey. Twenty years ago grey hair and wrinkles bothered me _ no more. I’m free!

4. Along with the confidence to sport grey hair and wrinkles, aging has brought more confidence in general. I was always a decision maker. No sitting on the fence for me. But, with age I am more confident in my decisions as being the right ones for me. I’m concerned with what my husband thinks and how my decisions affect him. Otherwise, I don’t think about it much. No one knows what’s best for me like me.

5. Speaking of decisions, there are fewer to make. Life is less complicated. I have fewer roles. Other roles have changed. My working self is gone along with concerns about the company, my employees, my manager, my time, my commitment, my dress and my decisions. While I’m still a mother, my children are adults, on their own. I’m a grandmother who can enjoy that role without most of the demands of parenting.

6. I no longer live for the weekend. Every day is Saturday. My favorite days are Monday through Friday. Those are the days of the week when I like to go places. I don’t have to deal with crowds. I can avoid rush hour traffic. Rarely do I have to stand in a long line to check out at a store, get a good table at a nice restaurant or see a show. I can sleep late if I feel like it or get up early if I feel like it. I make my schedule based upon my preferences.

7. I want less stuff. I need very little.  I’ve figured out what’s important in life and it isn’t the accumulation of things. Relationships with my spouse, family and friends are important. My cats are important.  Doing the activities I enjoy is important. Giving of my time and myself to someone else is important.  All of this is more important than any material thing I could acquire.

As I sit here finishing my coffee, these are a few of the benefits to aging I thought of. What are the benefits you see in your life?

22 comments on “It’s Not All Doom And Gloom

  1. Being more comfortable in my own skin. I cringe when I think of how self-conscious I was as a young woman.
    Just found your blog and am really enjoying it so far. I went back to the beginning and am reading one month at a time. Retirement is 2-4 years away for me, but it appears you were mulling over a lot of the things that I am starting to think about. Looking forward to seeing your journey.

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  2. Loved this blog. I have been reading all I can read about retirement. I do wish I had a special person to share my life with….but that isn’t my life. I have a disabled daughter that lives with me. I do have staff to assist. The only issue is having people sitting in my living room every morning. My sister and brother in law are the worst offenders. There is a nice family room downstairs with a 55 inch TV and walk out area with patio and lovely view. But they want to stay upstairs. Not sure how I’m going to turn this around. I always envisioned staff downstairs and me upstairs for privacy. So, now I’m in my bedroom a great deal. June 4th is the start of my new life. I’m trying to figure out how to define my space. If the table was turned…they would not like it. I do have my daughter Sundays and Mondays. That allows a more normal life, of sorts. Still not what I had hoped for.

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  3. A few more benefits include- Working out at the gym early enough to avoid the work crowd, reading until midnight and taking a nap after lunch if I am in the mood !

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  4. I’m relatively new to your blog and really enjoying your wisdom and insights. I’m 67 and almost fully retired, working no more than once a week. I’m still able to run in races, though I must be careful to avoid injury (but how lucky and appreciative I feel to be able to do it at all). We;re taking classes with our dog at a dog training club…enjoying the experience, even if we never compete. I’m enjoying tutoring a woman from Mali, who is studying for her GED and is a delightful person…..and just being able to get up late and “go with the flow” of the day, without over-planning it. Thanks for you blog!

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  5. Kathy,
    You’re right – it’s NOT all doom and gloom. Every day there are moments to appreciate and things to be grateful for. It sounds to me like you may be dealing with either a health issue or a financial issue. Whatever it is, I think you have a good, positive attitude and will handle what comes with calmness and perspective.

    I enjoy your blog posts and appreciate the opportunity to compare my journey with yours and with other women retirement bloggers.

    Rin

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  6. Kathy, these are spot on! I would add to the list that I now have a firmer understanding of what is important. We spend more time thinking about and discussing what we really value in life, and making certain that our actions match those values. As we age, it seems we are more able to say “no” to those things that are really unimportant to us, and “yes” to the things that are!

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  7. I’m grateful for all of the things you’ve mentioned and agree with Beth’s comment. We have so much more self-confidence as we age. I also just love not having to rush. If I’m having lunch with friends or have an appointment, I can get ready at my leisure and not be a slave to the clock. There are no deadlines. There is no wasted travelling time (I used to commute 3 hours a day). I feel very free and open to possibilities and am grateful that ageing has offered me this incredible gift.
    Thank you for your thought-provoking posts, Kathy. I always look forward to reading them.

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  8. Great post Kathy! You are so right! In retirement I have started doing what I have always wanted to do—Exactly what I want to do. I often don’t know the day of the week. The only committed day that we have is Sunday. Beyond that we are just like you. Retirement is great! I highly recommend it!

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  9. Great insight today! I am living a very similar life sans the zen masters. I’ll just add one thing – I no longer get caught in the drama of some; I’ve learned that if you ignore it and don’t get involved, it seems to go away. I pray all goes well with your situation.

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  10. I enjoyed this post very much, along with all the insightful comments! I am just about a month away from retirement and am both anxious and apprehensive about the start of this new chapter in my life… your blog helps me a great deal to see what is important in life and what can be put aside. For myself, I hope everyday won’t be like a Saturday because that’s the day I have always spent running around like crazy doing errands, shopping, cleaning, cooking… by Sunday I was exhausted! I would much rather have a week day off from work and I’m hoping I can spread out my errands to those weekdays. I, too, have found I need very little at this point in my life and I’m happy to putter in the garden or sit and read my book or watch a movie on TV without having to stop to go to bed because I have to get up early the next day for work! Thank you for creating this blog.

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  11. Kathy you are spot on, although it has taken me 5 years I feel I am finally in the place you are describing. It’s nice to be able to identify with someone who is on my path for a change.

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  12. I love Monday to Friday too! Can’t beat going to a movie matinee on a weekday – with all the other seniors lol. My husband is retired also and I feel that this is the best time of our lives! There is so much time and freedom to do whatever we like … or nothing …
    Hope whatever is troubling you gets resolved and in a good way. I follow your blog faithfully and you have inspired me to get out there and enjoy MY life. Thank you.

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  13. This is my first intro to your blog. It came from a dear friend. I’m enjoying how you come across as retired but not retiring, shrinking, or withering. It sounds rather as if you are expanding into your new found freedom. May you enjoy! Yay, for Zen Cat Gurus, and not sweating the small stuff. PS: It’s all small.

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  14. Great post, Kathy! I can actually identify with every single item in your list. It truly is a blessing to be able experience aging, and the deepening of character that comes with it. I think my favorite is having control over my time, like you said in your #6. Love your blog so much you have inspired me to start my own!

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  15. Kathy, This is a great list! I also think that retirement/aging provide opportunities for self-actualization (working on a post about this). I’m amazed by how much I am growing as I learn new things and develop new capacities; it makes me feel vibrantly alive.

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