Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A reflection on the future

Do you ever take time to think about your future? And for some of you, it might be your distant future.

The future I am talking about doesn't have anything to do with what is on your 2011 calendar. I don't mean your next 10 or 15 years, or your professional or educational future. I am not even interested in knowing about your retirement expectations or financial security.

What I am wondering is ... can you picture how you will actually live your life when you reach the grand old age of - say 85 or 90? How do you see yourself at that point? Will you be living independently or needing assistance? How about managing your own finances, health care, social obligations or will you need help? Do you have a thought of how to fill the many hours of each day? Will you be happy just sitting and being a "watcher," or will happiness be achieved only through taking part, keeping connected, being involved?

Today I had a small glimpse into the lives of some very senior elderly who may have never given any thought to those questions. Long ago they were focused on the day-to-day tasks of life, and pondering their distant future as a very old person may have been just "too far over the horizon" to think about or plan for. Now living into their 90s they are sitting right in the middle of those questions that were avoided or just not considered.

It seems that the very elderly fall into two camps. Some who reach the older senior years aren't much concerned about filling time. They seem happy to sit quietly with their own thoughts. No need to read a book, talk to a friend, or watch a show. They are happy to sit for hours on end watching life happen around them without participating in it. Others seem to draw energy from activity, walking the hallways, joining group activities, visiting with friends. They are more likely to inquire, to ask questions, to express opinions. Setting aside the issues of dementia and other mental diseases in the elderly, I suspect that neither group of older seniors thinks much about how they are living their daily lives now! They are just following a pattern of life that they always followed.

What is your pattern of living? Is it a predictor of which group you fall into years from now? Can you create the future you want by how you live now? Or is the die cast by genetics and chemistry?

As for me, I vote for making my own future.

I sure hope you get a choice!!




4 comments:

  1. I picture myself doing just what I'm doing now. Maybe I'll get around a little slower but I hope to be able to live on my own and just keep enjoying every day that God gives me.
    I know I would rather live at home then be in a nursing home. I'd rather die a few years earlier at home doing what I want to than just exist for a few more years in a home.

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  2. well, i often describe my self as a sixty-one year old man living in an eighty year old body with a soul that's lived well over a hundred years already. God forbid!....that i should be here in twenty more years!:)

    no thank you!

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  3. Sojourner, what a great descriptive comment! You have a way with words for sure. And although I don't have the life experiences to give me an old soul, some days I, too, feel much older than my 64 (next month) years.

    Happyone - I see myself exactly the same way - slower, but still do'en!!! Although the assisted living community I visited was pretty darn nice. No cooking, no cleaning, I could get used to that!! But sometimes I wonder if those every day activities is what keeps us going - and when you stop them - you stop more than you thought.

    Thank you both for your comments. They did add to my silent conversation with myself.

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  4. Enjoy your blog. I, too, am helping my aging folks. It's nice to read that others are in my same place in life. You might relate to some of the posts on my blog: http://adventuresintheballpark.blogspot.com
    I have a category called "The Greatest Generation."

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