As seen in a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “All things seem possible in May.” (Edwin Way Teale)
Whether Teale had this in mind or not (I suspect that that he did), the metaphor for life in that saying says that all things seem possible as you look at life from the front end of it – in May, so to speak. Too many people get to September or October on life’s calendar and seem to give up on most things that they may have had as dream on the front end. There are probably a few things that one must let go of as we age, but I was encouraged by George H. W. Bush jumping out of and airplane when he was 90 years old. He didn’t let go of that dream.
There are obvious physical limitations that age imposes on all of us, some more so that others; however, I suspect that many restrictions on our activities are more self-imposed than forced upon us. Sometimes we become overly cautious, because we let the fear of what could happen prevent us from even trying new things or things that we have dreamed about doing. One can only hope that our base of wisdom, that we’ve built up over a lifetime, serves to protect us by giving us a better ability to plan to avoid the risks involved, rather than to let them stop us. That’s why I like that recent ad with the older guy going down the zip line, having taken the necessary precautions to make sure that he doesn’t fall out, rather than not doing it at all based upon fear or the trepidation of others.
Certain things in life take on a different meaning, and sometimes a deeper meaning,
inthe Autumn of one’s life than they had in the Spring. Love and marriage are two that come to mind immediately. As we age, the heat of youthful passion in a loving relationship may give way to the warm and mature glow of friendship and contentment and the attraction for a spouse may mature from the physical to a deeper level of commitment, understanding and sharing.
The Fall and Winter of one’s life need not be lonely or boring times of inactivity, just based upon the physical constraints imposed by age or infirmities. While there will be things that one is physically no longer able to do, there are so many other things that require more mental than physical ability that one should never become bored or inactive. Every community has tons of volunteer opportunities, so there are always ways to serve others, while staying active yourself and giving you opportunities to meet other people.
So, as you wind down the career that you embarked upon in May of your life, find ways to shift your time and energy into other things that will be rewarding and keep you busy. One can only play so much golf every week or whatever you initially had in mind for your retirement. Travels can provide some entertainment and may even be educational; but even that can get old rather fast. The unfulfilled urge that you may keep feeling is really a call to continue to feel useful and needed. You can find fulfillment for that urge by serving others and giving back to your community. You may well find that the simple “Thank you” that you’ll get from the elderly shut in that you just delivered a meal to feels more rewarding that all of the plaques and awards that you may have garnered over the business career that you had.
So, turn the page on your life calendar and look forward into the Fall and Winter of your life in anticipation of all of the great opportunities that still lie ahead for you. You still have two of the three seasons of life ahead of you and there’s no reason not to enjoy them and get as much out of them as you did in the first two. If nothing else, take to heart this little saying by Hans Christian Andersen – “Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.”
Maybe you should wake up each morning, thank God for another day, and get busy being helpful by serving others. You may find that you are living by the philosophy, “I don’t have time to be dead, there’s too much still to do.”
Have a great Fall and Winter. Great things are still possible.