Every ten years, we reassess and define ourselves, but as those decades pile up, we enter new territory. I recently talked to a woman, and I will quote, “From eighty to eighty-five were the happiest years of my life.” She smiled, and she then walked out of my life.
I wanted to run after her and say, “Wait! Tell me more. I could use some wise advice.” THE BIG EIGHT O IS DAUNTING. I always thought the eighties lead to a dark place called, “The Old Oldies.” Not so and not true. Numerical age cannot be denied. At 21 we could drink legally, at 65 we could retire, at eighty, I think we can pretty much do as we please.
I don’t recommend walking naked down the street, but if you want to go to a nude beach, it’s now or never. The big noise of the first part of our life is reduced. We don’t need to make our bones. Instead we get to choose. One day I just turned off my alarm clock. What a blessed freedom.
For many years, an old friend, who had lost a spouse, spent most of her spare time shopping. She told me she had old clothes with price tags on them, and still she bought more. Then one day she had a grand awakening. Within the solitude of her own mind, she began to build a more satisfying life.
Here’s what I firmly believe: I cannot control the aging process, and if I am walking, talking, breathing, I am letting go of baggage, like grudges, bad memories, caring too much what others think about me. I find myself frequently failing, but that’s okay. I am trying.
Just maybe, I can say, “These are the happiest years of my life.”