On Sunday I celebrated what the Bible would describe as “three score and ten” years. It was a lovely day and I enjoyed contact with many who offered greetings. I also invested some time thinking about the many ways in which I have been blessed.
It is interesting to consider the rules and expectations that we have placed on different ages and stages of life - perhaps inappropriately.
When I started school (before daycare and preschool were concepts), I needed to meet the entrance requirement of being five years old. Obtaining a driver’s license in those days meant that I could apply for a Learner’s once I turned sixteen
Working was also allowed once one turned sixteen and becoming an adult with legal rights and responsibilities arrived at the age of eighteen. Retirement was generally marked by turning sixty-five, receiving a gold watch from the employer as well as a monthly pension cheque which arrived in a brown envelope. Being older than that was viewed as being just “old”.
Now, children go to daycare and pre-school before entering the academic grade system. In some places they can start work and begin driving (under supervision) at fourteen. The legal system recognizes adulthood at either eighteen or nineteen depending on the location and science has declared the fact that the brain doesn’t stop physically growing until the age of twenty-four.
A few years ago, a popular insurance company promoted the idea of “freedom fifty-five” which could occur if individuals set up a good financial plan. Now many individuals, double dip, taking retirement and then re-entering the workforce for a second income. Others claim that their plan is “freedom eighty-five” because of rising prices and longevity.
When I was born in 1952, life expectancy was 68.8 years. Now, in 2022, it is 82.8 years. That’s a big difference!
Communities used to have protestant and Catholic churches as the center of activity. Now destination weddings and celebrations of life have replaced formal rituals for many and rather than claiming a denomination, it is popular to describe oneself as spiritual.
So, many ask why I continue to work when I am five years older than the expected retirement age. Part of the answer is that I love my work and the clients continue to tell me that I am helpful. I am also healthy and find that working stimulates my brain, adds interest to my life and helps to keep routine.
What about my health? Well, I never was an athlete, and my body certainly could use more exercise, but I eat nutritiously and ensure that I attend regular medical and dental appointments. I’ve lived long enough to have had large outdoor gardens, purchased produce in stores and now grow herbs and vegetables in my kitchen’s indoor garden.
I pay my bills on time, keep in touch with friends and family and laugh often. I have learned to be my own best friend. Because I live alone, I know that if there is a mess, I made it, and I will clean it up! I also have a faith that keeps me grounded and hopeful.
And how do I feel about being 70?
As you can probably tell I believe that age is only a number
Are you locked into old ideas and expectations regarding age?
On to the next 70!