Officially Retirement Age – Scary Isn’t It!
Today I have officially reached senior citizen status, i.e. retirement age according to the Social Security Administration. So does it mean that my body will fall apart tomorrow and that my mind will deteriorate overnight – good god I hope not!!!
Does it mean that I will think or do things all that differently?
Not really, although I do appreciate the simple things in life more than I ever have and take things as they are or at least how I perceive them, instead of believing that things always have to be, how I want them to be.
My priorities at this point in my life are: the wife, family and friends.
Although a decent meal, great conversations, a nice glass of wine and a good book are nice too.
I plan to keep running ridiculous amounts of mileage (according to some), focusing on being as healthy as this experiment of one will be, looking at things differently from the mainstream and just make sure that I keep enjoying my life.
I have a sneaking suspicion that I will continue to do Harold being Harold stuff, that will make me and others in my life scratch our heads and ask “What in the world were you thinking Harold?”
Yeah, those won’t change all that much. 🙂
The next section is not me bragging, it is simply where I am in my present journey to getting old:
Thinking About Thinking
As I age, I can attest to the fact that my priorities and how I view things have changed considerably. I enjoy a good book and being home enjoying conversations with my wife on a Friday night much more than going out to a bar and doing stupid shit. The time I spend with family making memories is more important to me than it ever has been.
Last night I was sitting out on our new deck and just thinking about my life and the different directions it has gone.
Mistakes, yep I have made quite a few of those over the course of my 62 years, but I have learned from each of those things and they are a part of the person I have become. While take responsibility for the mistakes that I have made, I do not dwell on them. It simply does no one any good to keep thinking about some things that cannot be changed.
I have also made some good choices: going in the Coast Guard and sticking around for 20 years, which in turn allowed me a measure of freedom that others do not have in comparison for the next 20 years after I retired; having two children with my first wife and then helping to raise two others with Mary; working with troubled youth and eventually becoming a Special Education teacher, and sort of retiring back in 2011 to make taking care of my health a much higher priority in my life.
Oh yeah, starting a life long obsession with running back in the summer 1971 – can’t forget that. After all this is supposed to be a running blog. 😉
As part of my rite of passage to being a “senior” citizen, I stepped on the scale this morning and my weight at 155 pounds, was better than it was last year at this time when I was 161 pounds, definitely better than it was 10 years ago when I was regularly in the 170s and compared to where I was 20 years ago…well there is no comparison.
Another good thing is that I can still 30-40 miles a week and hit some paces that might surprise some people if I ever race again. Today as a present to myself, I went to the track and made believe that I was still a young pup, but my times told me that I was definitely 62.
I am not on any medications unless you consider a daily Vitamin D capsule during the winter, meds and I plan to keep it that way.
While I have a bad case of CRS (Can’t Remember Shit), I still have most of my marbles and the few that are missing aren’t all the important anyhow.
The biggest issue I have with my health is that I love chips and sweets, but I am starting to do a little better with limiting those vices. Otherwise, I would like to think that I do pretty good eating real food for the most part and staying away from the processed garbage as much as possible in today’s world. Mary prefers to make most meals at home, so eating out is not a big part of our lives.
So I am healthy, in great spirits and compared to most men my age, I am doing pretty darn good.
I live in a small town in Maine and while our home is modest in comparison to the McMansion society that seems to abound in today’s world, we are happy here. We have just made improvements to our home that will allow us to be happier in retirement and age in place more gracefully. Even though I might complain more than a little about the weather, neither my wife or I have any intentions of moving any time soon.
We are happy on our little 7 acre plot and becoming a snowbird does not appeal to us, although come the end of February we might be singing a different tune.
What will change?
Not a whole lot.
I will probably add in Aging to the title of the blog and it will become Just An Aging Runnah, not a big change in overall scheme of things, but one that more accurately reflects the focus of this blog.
After all, my blog is about an old fart, who writes a lot about my daily running, what I am thinking about when I run, the things I consider important part of aging a best I can, while making the Grim Reaper chuckle once in a while (along with some of the less fun stuff associated with getting to be an old fart), the running gear I use, some technology stuff and how getting older is affecting my life in general.
Also as much as I love technology and social media, I know that they are simply tools that I use to communicate, learn from or purchase something, if I am using them for more than that, then there are issues that I need to resolve.
I am far from a Luddite, but from what I have seen over the years that I have been involved with both is that we rely too much on technology to complicate our lives and too many pretend that social media is life – it is not.
My blogging will continue, but other parts of my technology and social media I am evaluating carefully to see what I want tools I am going to continue to use, instead of them using me.
In other words I am working on reducing the clutter and noise in my real and online lives, especially with the U.S. election of 2020, which the news coverage is already starting to annoy me.
The reality is that
I am lucky to have survived to my 62nd birthday, it is something that not everyone I grew up with has been able to do.
The biggest things that I have learned are:
- You can’t do it alone, having the love and support of family and yes, friends makes life and living better and easier, although they can make things rather interesting at times. Even though I am pretty much an introvert, I have learned that it is okay to come out of my shell and be social every once in a while.
- There is only one you. We all are an experiment of one and what works for others may or may not work for us as individuals. It often means not following the crowd, not doing what is recommended, being willing to stand up for what you believe and figuring out what is important in your life, which is often the path less travelled and will make all the difference.
- Take charge of your health. There ain’t one of us getting off this little blue marble alive and as much as the fantasy books talk about immortality, you and I will die at some point. It might be later today or in 30-40 years, but it will happen – we are finite. So while you are alive live life to the fullest and take the time to become healthy in mind, body, spirit and never stop learning or listening.
- Be honest with yourself and others. Remember we are not always correct and it is okay to change our opinion, perspective or philosophical approaches, based on new information – not one of has all the answers. It is okay, to accept that you are wrong and re-evaluate whatever it is you are wrong about. From where I sit there are more problems caused by refusing to change, even when circumstances change or evidence is presented that supports a different opinion or approach.
- Exercise – get off the couch, computer and walk, run, lift weights, play sports, but do something. Start small, but do some physical activity everyday and keep doing it. Yes, it is hard and yes, it is worth doing – we just have to make it a priority in our lives. No excuses other than illness or injury and even then you can do more than you believe you can. It is your only body and you are the only one who can choose how it is treated.
- Eating – Take a look at what you eat and how close it is to real food. If your primary food source is from a box or a bag, maybe you need to change what you are eating. No, it will probably not taste as good as the chips, pastries, candy or other stuff we stuff down our throats at first – yeah, that’s right – at first. However, as your taste buds change, the crap you were eating before will start to seem more and more like crap.
Turning 62 is not big deal and won’t change who I am, but it is a milestone birthday and I made it, so that is the important thing. However, it did make me stop and reflect on a few things about being alive versus living.
If I ever have a tombstone, I want it to read: “He lived a good life.”
Yeah, that would be a great tag line.