She was a pretty good golfer. We were hitting balls next to each other and she smiled at me a few times. “You have a nice, easy swing,” she said kindly. I interpreted that to mean “you hit like a girl.” As we talked about the game, I found out she had won the club’s member tournament for her age category. She’s 82. “I didn’t pick up the game until I was in my 60’s,” she beamed with pride. “Wow,” I replied. “there’s hope for me, then.” I’ve thought about that conversation a lot since that day. As I age, more and more dreams that I once had as a child seem to be further away from ever becoming reality. The question at hand, however, still haunts me from time to time, “is it ever too late to stop dreaming?”
Before you cast your vote, think about this. While we tell ourselves we are never too old to learn, grow, travel, try new foods, we seldom live that way. The older we get the smaller our circle of friends, favorite foods, and hobbies tend to get. We grow in years but we shrink in life quality. While aging is hard on the body, it can be liberating for our minds if we allow it to be.
I remember hearing someone close to me say that her best days are behind her. That’s not living life. I call it “managing death.”
Most octogenarians don’t get up and go on to win golf tournaments. But my friend does. She had a choice one day and she decided that even at 60 something, she had more to do in life and began to expand her circle. Chances are that she didn’t wait until retirement to become a dreamer. I’m still fairly young with a lot of dreams still left in me, but I can see the internal pull to begin circling the wagons, to become more careful, more selective. Aah, this mind shrinking has a way to insidiously find its way into our thinking.
One day we find ourselves managing death instead of pursuing life.
So to answer my own question, I say “absolutely not!” But I also know that’s not an easy task, and that I will have to fight against my natural inclination to shrink my circle and intentionally push my boundaries further every chance I get.
How do you fight against “managing death”?