Conscious Aging: Knowing What to do Next

I just had a great conversation with a friend who is at an inflection point in her professional and personal life and isn’t sure what to do next. I’m reminded how often those inflection points occur for all of us, at any age and any stage of professional life or retirement.

Having just turned 74, I’m at or near a similar inflection point. According to the U.S. Census, anyone over 65 is “old”. But with advances in gerontology, “old” is now subdivided into three categories: “young old” is 65-74, “old” is 75-84″ and “old old” is 85 and up.

I’m near the point of graduating from “young old” to simply “old.”

What does it matter, as long as I feel well and am reasonably healthy? It matters because I’m a planner, because my adult kids lead extremely busy and travel-heavy lives and may not be available on the spur of the moment to help me, and because I want to be intentional about my choices going forward. I’m aware, for example, that many of my older friends have lost the desire to travel sometime between 75 and 80. The tumult of getting there and back — wherever “there” might be — outweighs the fun of seeing new things. That suggests I have a window of about five years.

On principle I hate paying singles supplements when I travel, and I don’t much care for sharing a room. I’ve been looking at travel sites that offer singles travel without the supplement, and some while ago I found an amazing sounding trip to Bhutan. Looking more closely, you get from one place to another in the back of a heavy duty truck kitted out with seats. The trip is listed as “adventure and active travel”. Well, in my self understanding, that fits. I showed the trip to my travel guru Sara, who said “Really Mom? Climbing in and out of the back of a heavy duty truck several times a day in Bhutan? Seriously?”

Well, on reflection, I think she’s right. 🙂

If my window for Bhutan and the truck had passed, then what?

Inflection points.

Not a bad thing. Just reality.

4 thoughts on “Conscious Aging: Knowing What to do Next

  1. I can relate. I am “old,” and will celebrate my 80th birthday this November. We go to the Caymans for five weeks every winter (we had a time share) and in 2015 (76) we went to Spain/Portugal and on to Paris where we met our daughter, husband, granddaughter and grandson. We were meeting our granddaughter who had been doing the first term of her junior year from Northwestern in Paris. In 2017 (77) we spend a month traveling around England and Scotland visiting family and friends (that we had made when we lived there in 1973-1974 when Bob had a Kodak assignment). So now I am 79 and I find that the enthusiasm I used to have for travel has wained. I know I could do it, but planning and organizing etc. just takes so much time. And I find I can’t be bothered. Even if you book with a group (like OAT or Vantage for example) there is still work to be done. Once again I just can’t be bothered. Now this may not last, but we’ll see!

  2. for Ada: The Panama trip is two 4 hour flights with a Houston stop in between, and then a car ride of 2 hours — almost always a day or so after we arrive. Occasionally the airline part turns into a 20 hour ordeal, which I can still do but don’t like. Exhausting.I find crossing time zones harder. But, so far still in. Hoping I can still get you to Seattle. 🙂 If not I will come east and meet you.

  3. I definitely plan to come to Seattle in the fall. Southwest with one stop! I’ll contact you about dates once I have a better idea of what the fall holds………………..can’t wait………..crumpets!!!!! And seeing you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.