I have been very happy in my life but that has taken a lot more work than I expected, and some of the help I was expecting didn't come through, but what didn't happen easily I made happen. But it has been a lot of work and it still is.
Just turning 56 has made me think though how much work I want to keep doing. How many years do you go thinking there is not enough time in the day? Is this the pivot point where you realize its not about so much about not enough time in the day as time in the life? Is there a time that you think, hey wait a minute I keep investing in this career but now that the long term is the short term is it over investing?
I am not talking about fading out, but engaging in fewer things and most importantly letting those who are still trying to make it do that. One more academic year and I am going part-time.
It is worth thinking about aging and what you are going to do or how you intend to do it.
I have two stories.
When my former mother-in-law was exactly my age she made a strange announcement. She told us all that she had decided that she figured she knew all she had to know or in fact wanted to know and that she was just going to go on from that point working on what she had stored up.
As I write she is now being treated for dementia.
The other story is about my 82 year old current father-in-law. Some time last spring he announced that he was going to build a new house. Didn't like the old one, knew a nicer part of the countryside. What he meant was build his own house, like sit at my dining room table and draw it, drive around in a truck with wood and borrow an excavator. I was completely against this whole idea. For a start he has had several little strokes and this is a man who freely admits he doesn't remember last Christmas "So tell me anything interesting happen?" I did a great job nagging my DH to put a stop to this crazy idea being planned by a man who was likely to kill himself and a few other people in the process and that if you couldn't remember Christmas it was not a sure thing that this new house would be some place he and my saint of a mother-in-law would be living in for too long.
My husband did what he is good at which was not argue at all with me and go help his dad make this happen. To my spouse it wasn't about common sense but about that fact that this was what his dad wanted to do.
Thing is, it's done. They moved in today and are planning a new garden and landscaping and to my father-in-law his future is just as large as anyone else's. Reminds me when the doctor told him to stop going into the woods fishing with his heart issues in case he had another stroke. "Don't care about that at all" he said "I love to fish and if I die fishing at least I would be fishing."
So this is what sense I am making of all of this. Keep doing what you love to do, keep trying to learn new things about it. Keep new ideas coming into that head, and never stop starting.
Never stop starting.