Sunday, May 21, 2006

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Sometimes The Golden Years are Golden


I remember people talking on television about "The Golden Years" when I was a child. I think other voices near me, laughed cynically. But I find some truth in the old cliche. In our nation, if you're retired with a pension or other money coming in; good health and doctors; a good roof over your head; and family and friends who love you, there are Golden Years. With our bodies still functioning--maybe not ideally, but acceptably--from our fifties through our early seventies with no one giving us orders, the sun shines right into our hearts. Or at least on our faces because we can be outside when the weather is beautiful and not be couped up in an office or factory. Our time is our own and it feels good.
No one can expect anything, but we can hope. The majority of us live easily until past our mid-seventies. We've had several friends die in their forties and that's a shock. We can't take any day in our lives for granted but we can hope.
I'm still getting away with too much sugar and junk food and that's only because I'm still in my fifties and taking diabetes medication. I'm aware my irresponsible behavior can go on only for so long and then I'll end up on the needle so I'm praying for sanity. Our friends who died had no warning, no chronic illness that could be controlled by being sensible.
Perhaps in a few years I'll be spending time babysitting a grandchild. I'm looking forward to buying little outfits and giving a little somebody hugs. In a month, after twenty years in school, our son graduates from college. He and his girlfriend have lived together for a few years and he's become close with her family. Since the kids think nothing of stopping at her parent's house with us in the car, we've gotten to know her parents too. Actually I worked with her parents last week to move the kids to Delaware.
At first when I retired, I felt lost. I was sick and fearful. I had expected to work for another year, but couldn't. In a short time, I forgot working and realized retirement is a true gift. I'm one of the lucky ones--my career was in an old system where greedy CEO's couldn't dip into pension funds. I escaped early while I could enjoy a permanent vacation.

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