I live in the third and last chapter of my life.
Or, that’s the way I see it at the age of 75.
It’s only in the last two years, that I viscerally accepted that I am going to die someday. And, in the not too distant future. Now I find myself more and more thinking about life, how I have lived it, and how I want to live it in the years remaining.
Taking time for this reflection is actually useful, and pleasurable…and necessary.
Although my preferred framework of three chapters is quite age arbitrary, I find it easy to think in this way, seeing the younger years from 1 – 30 as a formative first chapter, a childhood, including an adolescence, and an early adulthood. In those years, I got myself educated, joined the Peace Corps, taught elementary school, discovered I was an educator at heart, but not for youngsters.
The next years from 30 – 60 comprise the adulthood stuff of solidifying career, marriage, home, and family. For me, it meant breaking a few glass ceilings in the early days of integrating women into management, and ultimately starting my own small business as a facilitator of growth and change. Until….at 57…when this previously very healthy woman received an unwelcome diagnosis of MS. And everything shifted.
Fifty years ago, 75 was considered “old”, but here, today, as a result of medical advances, I feel full of energy sitting right in the middle of those 60 – 90+ gift-of-longevity years. I’m a still healing, cane dependent, twice divorced, author of three books… hoping to live the wisdom that befits a member of this, my third chapter—-elderhood.
The time of reflection reminds me that life consists of surprises, both the welcome and the unwelcome. With age, the mini- and maxi-losses are noticed, and felt. With a bit of courage, you grow through them into an elder presence the world so needs. If you take the time to stop and refresh, these years can be your most satisfying.
Why do I say this to you? Because…your third chapter is either here, or on the horizon, and might be a long one. Right now, the roadmaps are few.
I want to say that reflection matters at any age. Thinking ahead can save money, time, and anguish. It can bring joy, peace, and purpose.
A good listener and a wise guide helps.
To what page are you turning in your own book of life?
When you look back, will you love reading this chapter?