In your most private moments, what do you think about aging? Does advancing seniority fill you with distaste, or with relief? Apprehension or contentment? Are you grinning or grimacing?
What image of aging first pops into your mind’s eye? More memory-making with the grandkids? More midnight shuffles to the bathroom? A lengthening shelf of unpronounceable pills? A closet-full of business attire dry-cleaned for schlepping to Goodwill?
Have you dreams deferred or nagging irritations? A Danube cruise? Elusive words on the tip of your tongue? Performing with the Community Players? Being nibbled to death by ducks?
Like most of my peers, I’m aware the aging glass is both half-empty and half-full. We have to take the sour with the sweet. But it’s my impression that we tend to over-emphasize seniority’s downsides. If that’s correct, this reflexive pessimism exacts a high price. Not only can it impair our mental and emotional health. It can also neglect and undervalue seniority’s rich offsetting opportunities, passions and pleasures. This blog is dedicated to helping rebalance the scales. I want to make the case for a positive approach to growing old.
From mid-March through July, pandemic precautions at our retirement community forced Nancy and me to shelter in place. August broke this pattern, taking us far off-campus, not once but twice. These unanticipated expeditions caused me to fall behind in blog reporting. With today’s post, I’d like to do some catching up, sharing highlights of that eventful month.
By popular demand, you’ll also find more reading recommendations.
VACATION: GETTING AWAY TO THE CASCADES
As our spring/summer isolation stretched from weeks into months, Nancy and I noticed an increasing number of empty resident parking slots. Our neighbors were apparently slipping away. Casual inquiries revealed that more than nearby medical appointments were involved. Many of these extended absences involved sojourns at second homes or lingering visits to offspring. Since we had neither of these connections, we didn’t pay more attention.
Russell Sunshine worked for 40 years in 40 countries as an international development lawyer and independent policy advisor to foreign governments. Now retired back in America, he’s writing non-fiction and practicing agile aging on California’s Central Coast. Russell’s memoir, Far & Away: True Tales from an International Life, is available on Amazon. Click Here