Rambling Prose...

Rambling Prose...
.Let's take a walk together.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

AFTER BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS...What Things Do I Want In My Life Now!

Oh no...another birthday!  Well that's not the way I really feel.  It may sound a little crazy, but in the last 10 years or so, I have been looking forward to being a year ol...younger.  How does that work?  Well...for those of you who know me, I don't believe I'm getting older...just more "Mature!"  

Age is a convenient chronological label that insurance companies, governmental agencies, fashion designers, and the media like to hang around our necks.  It's a way to categorize various groups of people, so that we will believe all folks in that class are generally the same.  You know...old people, the retired, Senior citizens, the Elderly, Pensioners, Over-the-Hill crowd, geezers and Old Farts!  

Age isn't chronological...it is more about your attitude toward the process of "running up the numbers!" If you are one who accepts the conventional "wisdom" that anything over 55 is old, you'll soon be acting and looking older.  You'll imagine that you have the latest disease, start comparing symptoms with friends, and work yourself into a real depression. You will start to believe that your youth has gone...and it's all down hill until the end!

Well that's not for me!  There are an increasing number of folks who believe, like I do, that 65 and over is the "beginning" of a Second Adulthood, an Age of Mastery, (per Gail Sheehy in New Passages), not the "end of Life."  

I just celebrated 72 years on this planet, and most days I feel and act about "50 few."  It's all in your head and how you think about things...actually how you think about everything in your life.  Thoughts are powerful.  Good thoughts will bring you good; bad thoughts will bring you loads of problems.

So...the big question is:  What Now? What am I thinking now?   What are the primary objectives/intentions/goals/ambitions that I desire at this time in my life?  What are the most important things that get me up in the morning, get my "motor running," and excite me...(besides my lovely wife.)!

I believe I've come up with a tentative list of 6 areas in my life that I'm focusing on for now.  Tentative, because one can always change your mind.  6 areas, rather than 1 to 5, because that's how the math worked out!  This isn't necessarily a "Bucket List", but it could be the bones of such an inventory of what I'll like to do before I exit the planet.

Here they are in total; I'll try to explain them in detail in the body of this post.  

         To Live An Abundant Life!
         To Travel The World!
         To Live My Life in Good Health!
         To Enjoy Wonderful Relationships With Family and Friends!
         To Engage In Life Long Learning!
         To Live Everyday To Its Fullest!

To live an abundant life doesn't mean having lots of money and riches, nor great personal wealth, nor living in large homes, driving fancy cars, and having an unlimited supply of "adult toys." I've had a modest amount of these things through my life, and I can tell you that they were never the answer to happiness and personal fullfillment.  If you believe that having lots of money is the answer, check with someone who's been rich, and then lost everything, and if their truthful, they will tell you that riches are not the answer!  

Right now...my life is abundant!  We've simplified our lifestyle, we've limited unnecessary purchases (needs not wants), we don't use credit cards, we are living within a reasonable budget, and we save for large expenditures.  We don't have any debt (except our cars which will be paid off next year), we don't have a mortgage (we rent year to year), we are close to our "adult children" and grandkids, we are both in good health, and Life Is Good!

To travel the World has been a long term desire for me.  With the exception of Mexico, Canada and Japan (in the military), my travel experiences worldwide have been few.  We hope to change that next year with a planned trip to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.  My wife's ancestors came from Ireland, and my father's people are from Wales.  Hopefully, that will be the first of many trips abroad. 
We've created a "travel fund,"  and are seeking "cheap" and creative ways to travel.  ( Your ideas would be appreciated.)  

While my overall health is good, I want to maintain it into the future.  I work out at 24 hr Fitness, try to eat reasonably well, plan to get back into biking, and try to laugh everyday.... but my favorite exercise is walking.  No complicated equipment (slip on your walking shoes), step out the door, and start putting one foot in front of the other!  Our neighborhood is perfect as it has a variety of hills and level areas.  Walking calms the mind, lowers your blood pressure, helps you to breathe, provides you with lots of the "sunshine vitamin" (Vitamin D), and improves your attitude.  Getting out in nature is a wonderful tonic, and it sorta puts everything in perspective.  Birds sing, the wind blows, trees branch out, and the grass continues to grow.  My little worries are insignificant compared to the grandeur of our Earth!

Enjoying wonderful relationships should probably be in the number 1 spot of this list.  Without close relationships with family and friends our life would certainly be unfullfilling and tragic.  As a "social animal" we need close and frequent contacts with others and those we love.  Meaningful contact...not emails, texting, short phone calls...(they have their place), but person to person conversations, face-to-face, looking into each others eyes, and making a real connection.  Simple talking seems to become rather quaint and uncommon in this "Age of Information."  I hope that dialogue between two or more people isn't destined to disappear and somehow be replaced by an electronic device!

Life Long Learning has been a great joy to me.  While I haven't taken any additional college work beyond my Masters Degree, I've continued to read a great deal....especially in the classics, geography, history, politics, current events, writing and photography.  Since 1995, when I purchased my first computer, the Internet has opened up a "cornucopia"of information that I feast on daily.  In the last few years, I've limited the time I spend on "surfing the net," as it's quite easy to lose track of time.  I've established a rule for myself that all of my computer work...surfing, emails, writing, keeping up with friends...is done at home.  When I go out to Starbucks or places like that, I'm seeking interesting conversations with people, not to interact with a computer screen or cell phone.  You can learn so much through conversations, if you listen twice as much as you talk!

So...my goal is to live every day to its fullest.  That doesn't mean I'm necessarily trying to "multi-task" or fill every hour with some activity.  It's more about "quality" than "quantity!"  It's about choosing to do things that I enjoy....reading, writing, walking, talking, listening to music, cooking, watching people....and just "being," if you know what I mean.  If at the end of the day I feel good about what I did in general, then I'm living to my fullest!

See You Down The Road...




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