A recent family medical emergency and another family member’s death got me thinking about age and time.
From the moment we are born, we only have a certain amount of time left on earth. We don’t think about it when we’re young because we think we have all the time in the world. But that time can run out suddenly and often cruelly. As we get older, we realize that amount of time is growing shorter. This is especially true when we outlive our parents.
I’m turning 62 this year. I outlived my dad, who died at 55. In January 2025, I will have outlived my mom. While I’m relieved to have lived longer than my parents and avoided the serious medical problems that ended their lives, I’m in uncharted territory. I don’t know how to be a man in my sixties. My dad didn’t live long enough to be one. How do you plan for the future when you realistically know you don’t have all that many years left?
The strange thing about turning 60 for me is how much more energetic and hopeful I am than I was in my fifties. I feel more at home in my body since I’ve gotten healthier. I’m planning for the future. I even started a new trilogy of books.
I’m also surrounded by people in their seventies and eighties who take care of themselves, stay active, and keep engaged in life. They travel, remain intellectually curious, and show interest in the trends and technology of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
We also have the examples of nonagenarians Betty White and Queen Elizabeth II, who both died in the past year. These women lived well beyond the average life expectancy, and yet we viewed their deaths as tragedies. They were so full of life, even late in their 90s, that we expected them to live forever.
Sixty-something doesn’t seem so old to me anymore.
We don’t know how much time we have left. Instead of waiting for the Grim Reaper to make his appearance, we should make the most of whatever time we have. We should take care of our bodies so they last as long as possible. Make plans with the expectation of completing them. Work to make a better world because we know we will live in it. Instead of complaining about how old we are or wishing we were younger, we should be grateful for being who we are and where we are right now. We should live like we have all the time in the world.