Gazing into the Future
In what is surely a sign of the times, rather than a Christmas card in mid-December, at year’s end I received an e-mail from an old friend. His wife passed away last April, and she likely handled the mailing duties.
He mentioned compiling a list last fall of 80 things he wanted to accomplish before turning 80. And, how, with only six weeks left before the grand day, he still had a number of items on his “haven’t done yet” list.
“I dare not take the time to write my historical account of 2014 nor a treatise on 2015,” he said. “Rather, I will simply borrow the words from the soon-to-be-famous (person) who once said, “It’s better to be rich and healthy than to be poor and sick.”
The Riches of Health
I would have to slightly amend that statement. In recent years, I suffered through three heart stents, double bypass surgery, and grinding back pain that dragged for months.
Now that the worst appears to be over, I would instead say: No amount of money can compensate for health problems that wreak havoc on you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
A year ago I was still in physical therapy and so beat down from the experience that one day I wondered aloud about filing for early Social Security payments. I’m glad I didn’t, since my work soon turned around. Plus, over the long haul I consider it better to wait.
However, I understand people who deal with debilitating injuries or diseases and lose a positive outlook on life. Or, who simply get tired of the grind and want to rest.
Naturally, after regaining my health, I am more optimistic than in early 2014. Yet, more challenges await. Particularly the idea of compiling a list of things I should do by the time I reach the next major milestone.
After all, I never wrote a list of 60 things I should do by 60. So the idea of doing an even longer one in the next few years leaves my head spinning. If there’s one thing that I struggle with, it’s to simply process all the “stuff” that flies at me every day through my computer.
E-mail may be passé to many people, but it’s still the #1 way I conduct business. And that is before checking Facebook or fielding Linked In messages. Add to that all the research and various story links I check, and it’s easy to get lost in the stack of ever-increasing stack of details.
Dealing with this flood may come second nature to young people, but not for someone who didn’t grow up with smart phones and an always-connected world.
While that used to drive me up the wall, I experienced a key breakthrough about three years ago. It happened when I drove to my alma mater (Ohio University) for a reunion of the college newspaper staff.
At one small workshop put on that day for alumni, I fretted about trying to keep up with everything. Afterwards, a guy in his mid-70s walked up to chat. He concluded, “You know what I think? I think you worry too much about what you can’t do.”
“Wow,” I thought. “That one remark was worth all the time and money it took to get here.”
Indeed, it changed my life. I no longer worry about what I can’t do when it comes to mastering oft-bewildering technology. After all, that’s why I have grandchildren.