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Work is less fun, fun is more work
How many times have we exclaimed, “Had I know then, what I know now...”. If you, like me, are in that group of people who have been sufficiently blessed to have survived declining health and other time imposed limitations, if work is a lot less fun, and fun is a lot more work, we are known as senior citizens. We can dwell in regret for what might have been, or accept the fact that it is what it is and focus on the benefits of our longevity.
When I go to McDonald’s, I place my order with a cute young lass who would have never called me “Honey or Sweetie,” in my youth, but she does now, as she computes my senior citizen discount. Realizing that most of my future is behind me, my doctors are not as stern and condescending. Their strategy has changed from attempts of re-routing, to filling the potholes in the oft abused road that I chose long ago in their seeming effort to assure some amount of comfort for what remains of my journey.
As a new ill emerges, and the mailbox moves farther away from my house, I vividly recall the dangerous curves and hills, which encouraged me so many times to challenge all manner of perilous plight that was generally imminent somewhere along, what looked like, a shortcut. It was my youthful certainty that the unknown was preferable to the dull norm of the well known, and as I get older, I must yet muster sufficient defiance to the ill consequence of the shortcut, as travel restrictions continue to increase with age. Often looking in the rear-view mirror, I see the visits to the emergency room with the kids, the sleepless nights and the many times that the month was far longer than the money. Did I ever ask, “Would I have entered the world of marital bliss and fathered children and these struggles had unpleasant occasions been foreknown?”
If I did, the question would surely have been answered many times. From my fourth grader’s first home run, to the day that his older daughter, one of my eight grandchildren, entered college, the good has far outweighed the bad and if I arrived at a time when it seems that benefits, no matter how small, increase each time I outlive another calendar.
When two of my grandsons are on the basketball floor, I attend whenever possible, and my senior appearance never fails to prompt a group of younger parents and fans at floor level to make room for me. In my case, this is surely a dual benefit. I don’t have to climb the bleachers and I get the best seat in the house. If we were to compile a list of things we would have changed, it would probably be a long list, although it is the “no change list,” which has ultimately provided so many of us with life’s most precious gifts and little pleasures that we now enjoy. By the grace of God, we have survived. We’ve made it, not because of, but in spite of ourselves. Many of us could be reaping huge rewards from foreknowledge, but if we had all become millionaires, senior citizen discounts would be unlikely, and if I had behaved in a manner sufficient to properly preserve my body, I’d have to climb the bleachers and sit in the “cheap seats” at the ball game.
There are many gray skies in the senior environment, but we still have choices. When the way ahead looks unpleasant, check the rear-view mirror. We can mope in the darkness of regret, or we can sit down and savor a dollar cup of coffee and patiently await the sunshine.
Ron Kennedy
Dry Ridge