My parents used to say: getting old is not for sissies. I am beginning to understand that notion. Whether we like it or not, our biochemistry changes, hormone production declines. Balance, endurance, and strength melt.
Many drift into ever smaller worlds of fear, fragility, suspicion, and isolation. You and I know people younger than we are, who already act elderly or grumpy or seem increasingly narrow minded. That is a common path.
People with early-onset decline console themselves with “reasons.” Some say, “I had a bad break or made a bad choice, and I can never recover.” Others say, “I am never going to win a gold medal, so I am not going to try.” They prefer to drift. Other drifters believe that they did a fairly good job in earlier years so they will just coast to the end.
Some people attempt to delay or reverse aging’s effects. My objective is to live until I die. I’m not special but if I get several more decades, I aspire to finish well ~ with more adventure, compassion, generosity, grace, humor, understanding, and wisdom.
My wife’s grandmother was alive mentally and physically past 100. As family and her longtime friends slipped away, Wilma kept making new friends. At one point we visited Sandy’s hometown and discovered that one of Sandy’s school friends was now one of Wilma’s new friends. Wilma was a widow longer than she was married, yet she was always attentive to her appearance. She made the choice to “be all in”, whatever her level of capacity was. I think she’s a great role model.
To serve my circle of influence, I’m stretching: mentally, physically, and intellectually. I set up meals with people of character and good will from different backgrounds, people who vote and/or worship differently. Considering alternative ideas does not mean abandoning my beliefs. It merely shows civility and security about my values. There is truth outside my silo, and the world is bigger, more beautiful, and more dangerous than I probably realize.
My ambition is to finish well. I choose not to drift. I choose to make the effort to live a life of significance until I die.
If you are over 40, what are your thoughts about finishing well? What are you doing to become the person you were created to be?
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.”