Goals come in all shapes and sizes. They fulfill different purposes for different people at different stages in their lives. As a lifelong goal-oriented person, I’ve had my share of financial, mental, career, relationship targets. However, in an effort in my 30’s to tame my obsessive need for goals and their achievement, I created a goal to have no goals. Playing with that made me laugh, at least, and take myself less seriously.
But goals serve a purpose…they give us a reason to get up every day.
At 74, I note that age and maturity have adjusted part of my goal problem. My need for lots of goals has faded, and my daily To Do list no longer exists. Any goals I have are much simpler. What’s important still gets done.
Today at the YMCA pool, I met Jacob who is wheelchair bound. We both swim. We both use the mechanical chair lift to enter and exit the pool. Since neither of us walks without assistance, we chatted for a moment about how freeing it is to be in the pool swimming.
The YMCA has an honor roll on the wall with the names all those who have swum 50 miles of laps. Jacob pointed at that wall and said to me: “I’m giving myself two years. I’ll be on that list.”
He made my day. Although I’m not sure my current goal, to be able to climb out of the pool on my own, quite measures up to the heroism of Jacob, these days I’m laughing more than obsessing. And appreciating the big goals of others.
And that is good.
I found myself as someone, at a place in time this month, in the midst of endings and beginnings, all converging over a two week period. Here’s what I’m noting as significant markers of the passage of time. Here’s what I’ve been shedding tears about.
Five years after writing my book, Why Not Do WHat You Love? I’m ready to order a few more cartons. But times have changed! New dilemmas for the 60 plus crowd are being illuminated. While the content remains relevant for seekers of all ages, it is the needs of aging boomers that have newly clarified themselves. I feel compelled to add a few more resources to help that oncoming age wave, beginning to approach 70, navigate their new longevity in a meaningful way. I definitely want my opus to stand the test of time and continue to refresh perspectives of any reader, for another five years and beyond.
Fifteen years after a period of intense change which started in 1999, I am home once more. First, a major downsize and move from two apartments in Washington DC to my ancestral home in Western Massachusetts. Continuing with mobility challenges and other major losses on many fronts. Finally, dealing with the orchestration of a further downsize, the sale of my home beneath the mountain, and a move to a senior independent living complex in the neighboring town. And that’s just the Cliff Notes Version. Whew! I can finally take a breath. With some renewal in health and energy, I am comfortably settled in my new community, starting to plant the seeds for whatever’s next.
We celebrated and remembered fifty years ago this month when we entered Colombia as Peace Corps Volunteers. Seventeen intrepid souls and 4 spouses, gathered in Savannah last weekend to share memories of our youth, and affirm that we are, in fact, still here, as feisty as ever. And, some optimist ventured that we might want to do it again in the not too distant future.
Fifty years ago this week, the Beatles came to America to perform on the Ed Sullivan show. Paul and Ringo, the two remaining members, are my age peers. Their Beatle phenomenon was being celebrated in a TV special. The tears started flowing. How much the world has changed since then. Yet, I am still here, concurrently experiencing my advancing age while I watch the active and fit youth of the world doing what they most love, Ice Dancing at the Sochi Olympics.
I entered my 75th year this month. Still truckin’, albeit at a slower pace. My brother Bruce died peacefully a week ago, at his time. My life goes on. His has ended. His terminal stroke occurred at Christmas. The doctors and the family agreed to remove life support a month later. Five siblings remain. And I am moved to give some attention to the end-of-life choices and decisions that will make things easier for me and for those around me in my own final days.
Time passes. Tears flow. I am someone.
Looking back and looking forward,
newly exploring arriving “home” once more.
So many things on my mind today. Just returned from Savannah where I attended an extraordinary gathering of 17 folks with whom I entered Peace Corps Training for a 2-year stint in Colombia, South America, 50 years ago. Yes, you heard that right. FIFTY years ago. We weren’t our entire group of probably over 40, and that’s not a surprise, though we missed our comrades. With our median age about 75, some of us are no longer doing air travel, some of us are ill, or caring for ill spouses.
I showed up with my trusty walker and cane.
What’s so extraordinary were the ways in which, for people who hadn’t seen each other in some cases for the entire 50 years, conversations were easy, memories were surfacing and being disputed, silliness and the seriousness co-existing, how much it felt like the old days.
We have traveled different paths for 50 years, each in our own ways. I remain convinced that to each other, we’ll never be different than young idealists and pioneers enjoying a unique start together on our distinct life journeys, which, by the way, still have years to run.
In fact, the optimists among us said, “Let’s do this again in 3 – 5 years.”