One of the worst parts about getting older is realizing that time is, literally, running out. When I was in my twenties, I measured time in terms of accomplishments, as in: “I can’t believe I’m twenty-five and still working at a dead-end job,” or “I’d better have my first book published by the time I’m thirty!” Time was something I had plenty of, and my only worry was marking each milestone with the appropriate accomplishment.
But now I”m in my mid-fifties, and I feel a definite sense of urgency whenever I think of all the things I’d still like to do. It scares me to realize that I’ll be in my mid-seventies in another twenty years! I may not be old yet, but the “golden years” are definitely on the horizon. And that means making life choices is getting much more complicated.
Dave and I love our old house, and have lots of great memories of our kids growing up here. But the master bedroom is on the second floor, up a steep set of stairs, and that could be a problem when we get old. So, do we stay here until we can’t get up the stairs anymore and are forced to move? Or do we move now, to a house with a first-floor master bedroom and wider doorways so we don’t have to worry about moving when we’re, you know….old? What exactly is the ideal age to buy a “geezer house?” We have bought and sold several houses, but this is the first time the question, “will we be able to handle the stairs in ten or twenty years?” has come up.
Any way you look at it, I have already lived more than half of my life. And that can be a depressing thought. But in a strange way, it can also be a blessing. I don’t have time to put off the important things any more, or carelessly count on a tomorrow that may or may not come. I’m learning to say “no” to commitments that keep me from concentrating on what is really important to me: my family, my friends, my writing, my work with shelter dogs, etc.
Time may be running out, but at least I finally understand that time is a precious commodity that I can no longer afford to waste. And that’s not a bad thing at all.