Age has its benefits…
For someone the doctors said would never live to see 30, I’m finding my 70s, despite pandemics and the usual groans and moans of aging, to have a number of positive attributes. Here are a few:
- I never have to make another career choice – therapist and writer is how I will complete my run professionally;
- I will be neither wealthy nor famous and I am just fine with that;
- No more questions about children – my two are fine if “different”;
- No major financial concerns – again, not wealthy, but reasonably comfortable;
- I get to continue to work but at my choice;
I accept the clients we want to work with – not just anyone who calls or wanders in (which increasingly means smart, over 50, and without major psychiatric problems we’re not equipped to treat);
- No more classes, certificates, CEUs, seminars, conventions, etc!
- I can go back to writing fiction, adding to the Young Adult, Mystery, and Erotic Romance novels that are fun to write and, except for this Newsletter, escaping “professional” works;
- And the final item, I’ve outlived all of those physicians who said I’d never see 30.
It’s easy to get older faster than we need to and give up. I’ve had 5 surgeries in the past 18 months, three of which left me immobilized for 2 months each (no, I’m not going to turn this into a typical old guy’s ramble, though I admit that it is necessary to be vigilant about not boring everyone to death with the usual litany of health issues).
How old are you? If over 50 it’s time to start planning on what to do with the likelihood of having another 35-45 years.
Or you can considerably reduce the number of years of filling the newly generated time that retirement – full or partial – awards you by expanding your drinking. That’s what about a third of people over 60 do. If you’re really desperate to literally “kill time” you can do as one person we know did and take up smoking at 65.
You have time and you have choices and at this stage your choices will have a large impact on your allotted time, moods, functionality, and friends.
And you can start by considering, and listing as I did, the advantages of growing older, including the reality that age, and “I don’t care what anyone thinks” attitude confers an unbelievable freedom from stress. Yes, the older we get the more invisible we become and the less time we have to spend fending off others, their opinions and advice (except mine today of course, lol).
As I noted last week, there is a lot of information to be gained in determining the benefits you, and those around you, get from your drinking – and this axiom also applies when you are considering any number of circumstances.
Why, for example, do rehab programs almost exclusively cram you into a 12 Step format? Because it doesn’t work therefore you can be recycled, and financially drained, for as many rounds as you can be conned into signing up for. Not too surprisingly, many questions about most aspects of our lives can be answered by simply following the money.
My previous essay comes from a similar basis – what are the costs and benefits of aging and how do we see to it that the benefits outweigh the costs?
Of course, this is also a useful approach to understanding seemingly inexplicable marriages, partnerships, family dynamics, and getting some idea as to why some people and couples are happier than others.
Eventually, we’re down to Thoreau’s observation that exploring oneself is what really takes nerve. Practice on others, political situations, your families’ behaviors, and you may find a way to sort out your own benefits of drinking, marriage, job, location, and past decisions, among other things.
Maturing, which is what aging should be about, is supposed to be a time of reflection, acceptance, appreciation, resolution, and release.
Believe me, that can be an adventure that outweighs any you have experienced before – and, yes, that’s another of those benefits.