As I prepare this final post of 2021, I’m in the mood for retrospection. What were the past year’s defining developments from this aging Californian’s perspective? How did those public developments influence and intrude upon my private experiences and impressions?

Two tensions are complicating my reflections. Somehow, late-December’s news headlines are jerking the year around. 2021 won’t hold still long enough for me to complete a coherent profile. Compounding the reporting challenges, my national impressions were mostly unsettling, even ominous; my local recollections are distinctly more calm and contented. How can I share the latter affirmations without coming across as an oblivious shuffleboard enthusiast on the deck of the Titanic?

My December 31 publication deadline is fast approaching. Let me give this personal recap a try. If coming to terms with 2021 holds interest for you, please send your own interpretations. What did it feel like for you as a concerned senior to navigate this roller-coaster ride?

This month I’ve invited Agile Aging subscribers to share their recollections of formative life choices that worked out well. How and when did they come to a fork in the road? What factors influenced their chosen direction?
The resulting “Taking the Right Turn” conversation is a sequel and complement to our July 31 blog post on “Paths Not Taken.” Rereading both collections, I’m struck by how all of these seniors made the best of their pivotal challenges, emerging stronger and wiser.
See what you think. And my heartfelt appreciation to this month’s affirming quartet.

In mid-September, Nancy and I headed south to participate in my COVID-postponed 60th high-school class reunion. While in Southern California, we took the opportunity to visit the gravesite of my parents and to rendezvous with my nephew and Nancy’s long-ago friends. Driving down and back, we tried to follow the sensible-senior-travel guidelines proposed in last month’s post. Here are some mileposts along a nostalgic excursion reconnecting past to present and youth to age. 

During the second half of August, Nancy and I toured Oregon’s dramatic coastline, riding all the way on US101. With one trip we accomplished two objectives: escaping mid-summer heat and wildfire smoke in our San Francisco Bay Area and becoming better acquainted with a region we knew only superficially from prior drive-throughs. For two weeks we ventured out from basecamps in Yachats (“YA-hats”) on the central coast and Port Orford in the south. For this blog post, I’d like to share with you four trip components: an outward-bound adventure, key roadside attractions, overarching impressions and some reaffirmed travel lessons for seniors. 

For this month’s Agile Aging post, I’ve invited fellow seniors to join with me in reflecting about forks in the road on our life journeys. Can each of us recall an occasion when we confronted a choice between diverging routes? What influenced our decision? Have we ever wondered about the path not taken? How might we and our journey have turned out differently if we’d veered in the other direction?

This month’s Agile Aging post explores how youthful impacts – encounters and relationships, experiences and inspirations – can influence the adults we become and the seniors we remain.

Seven blog subscribers have generously shared their recollections and reflections.

Like many of our senior peers, now that Nancy and I are fully vaccinated, we’re eager to emerge from COVID isolation. Yet with herd immunity still elusive and new virus variants a rolling threat, our cautious vacation strategy is to drive to a remote destination and enjoy its attractions in relative seclusion.

Our latest excursion took us to California’s North Coast, moseying from Bodega Bay to Mendocino along the Shoreline Highway, State Route 1. We’d been to this stretch several times before over the past 50 years. But rediscovering can be reenergizing. These journal notes home in on two historical landmarks. Both sites have played surprisingly pivotal roles in California’s political, economic and environmental development.

The coronavirus has exacted a horrific toll, infecting over 120 million victims worldwide, killing nearly three million. Problematic variant outbreaks continue to flare. But pandemic lockdowns and isolation have also inspired adaptive creativity – telemedicine consultations; working and learning from home; Zoom calls and conferences; remote performances, lectures and panels; exchanged video clips and entertainments.

I’ve been particularly impressed and encouraged by the blossoming of creative writing by fellow seniors. Retirement invites reflection. Isolation seems to have nourished a distinctive vintage.

I’d like to devote this month’s post to three diverse samples, reproduced with their authors’ permission. My hope is that these evocations may stimulate your own Agile Aging energies.