At the end of January, I turned 79…which puts me now in February living into my 80th year. That is a major milestone. I’m noticing life reflections increase, prompting laughter and tears.
- I am happy remembering my long and interesting life.
- I am sad for the reminder that I am mortal.
- I ponder my choices for the days that remain.
- And recommit to the activities that nourish my being.
I also pay attention when the occasional model for living well in one’s 80’s comes along.
It happened just three days ago in the woman’s locker room at the YMCA. A beautiful woman was returning from her swimming lesson. Full of vim and vigor, she admitted to being 82.
“Why take swimming lessons so late in life?” I bluntly asked. She knew the answer to that one: “Four years ago, I lost my husband of 60 years. When I turned 80, I said to myself, ‘I miss my husband, but I AM STILL HERE. IT’S TIME FOR ME TO DO WHAT MATTERS TO ME.’ ”
- “I’ve always wanted to know how to swim, and now I can.”
- “I’ve always wanted a tattoo and now I have one”, pointing out the beautiful rose decorating her upper arm.
- “A friend twisted my arm to enter the Senior Women of Massachusetts pageant (open to all those over 50), so I did. I read Maya Angelou’s poem Phenomenal Woman and ended up as 2nd runner up, and, Ms. Congeniality.”
What an incredible few moments chatting with such a model. That serendipitous interaction is still on my mind. Because…
- I, too, am still here.
- Anyone reading this is still here.
- Are we choosing to make our lives matter?