Today is my birthday. I’m sixty-seven years old. That means that for at least two years, I have been a senior by any definition used by any store, restaurant, or movie theater. My status as a senior affords me plenty of perks and I try to take advantage of as many as I can.
One of the first things I noticed when I retired was that time seemed to slow down. This was a surprise because I was expecting quite the opposite. When I was teaching, I was always looking forward to something in the future–the next long weekend, fall break, etc. Being retired is like being on fall break, immediately followed by winter break, before beginning spring break, which takes me to summer break and then back to fall break. Actually, I love that aspect of retirement. The only problem is, there’s no urgency to get things done–There’s always tomorrow. (Well, maybe that isn’t really a problem.)
Fortunately, I am enjoying excellent health and vitality. That allows me to do most anything I want to do. I think a lot of seniors have bucket lists. Before I retired, I had three things on my list. The first was to finish reading the Bible cover to cover. I had been working at it for a few years, but after retiring, I was able to accomplish that in a few months. The second item on my list was to become a docent at the Highland Center. I have been doing that for two years. Finally, I wanted to go on a fifteen-day cruise to Hawaii. Since I’ve made my reservations for that trip, my bucket list is empty. Now I’m busy working on a new list. At the top is hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and camping over night. I hope to do that in March or April.
Recently, I found this picture of me standing with my two grandmothers. I must be about three or four years old. I estimate that my grandmothers are in their fifties. (They are my namesakes–Mary on the left and Rose on the right.) What amazed me most about this picture is how matronly they look. It’s the way women their age dressed at that time. Grandmas today are much flashier dressers, of course, but it also reflects our attitude. We aren’t ready to fade into the background.
As we Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age, we are redefining what that means. As we have done at every stage of life, we are establishing ourselves as a force to be reckoned with. Not ready to be put out to pasture, we are taking on new challenges and new careers. My cousin, Ken and his wife, Katie, for example just launched a new career selling real estate.
For me, my retirement career is writing children’s books. Although I have not sold enough books for the IRS to consider it a business, I do see it that way. I work hard not only at writing books but also at promoting them. The competition out there is fierce and as every writer knows, we must pay our dues before achieving success–if success ever comes. Because I believe in what I’m doing, I will press on whatever the outcome. If my books aren’t discovered until after I’m gone, I’ll be okay with that. At least I’ll have my legacy.
And so, today, on my birthday, it seems appropriate to reflect not so much on my past successes or failures, but on my future which I think looks rosy indeed.