ReFirement at Any Age: Turning the calendar to a new decade

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times

I can’t believe I’ve been knocking around on this earth for seventy years. Where has the time gone? I know that’s what everybody says! Being a Septuagenarian is still sinking in, quite slowly….

I am sharing my personal perspective, with the notion that many people turning a new decade, or maybe even a new year, might feel the same way.

The only decade that I initially had a hard time with was my sixtieth but I adjusted my mindset and, instead, approached that decade with joy and vitality, which is what I continue to do.

I now look at it as another year wiser and another year grateful that I have my health and don’t look my chronological age but instead view myself on how I feel, which was and IS a person with a youthful spirit. I love this quote from Gwen Stefani Shelton. Act as young as you feel. You’re not getting older, you’re getting more entitled to be your fabulous self.

There are many examples of fabulous women in their fifties, sixties and seventies that I relate to, such as, Christy Brinkley, Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Cher, just to name a few. They are still vibrant and living life to its fullest!

Each decade presents more and more pause to reflect. How far have I come? What do I still want to accomplish? The biggest challenge in my life is to utilize my time productively and not waste a second. I’m learning to look at time as a friend and not a foe. Needless to say, it’s an ongoing, continuous journey.

It boils down to doing what I can to feel as good as I can. That means staying on top of my health by making the necessary regular doctor appointments, staying active with regular exercise, making sure that most of my diet is healthy eating, continually learn, laugh a lot and stay connected with my family and friends.

I look at my life, so far, and see highs and lows, good decisions and bad decisions, moments in my life that I’d like to freeze in time in order to preserve how exceptional they were and other moments I’d like to completely erase. My family and friends are my support system through it all and it’s where I draw my extra strength from. I say extra because I mainly draw strength from myself.

As I get older and especially as I cross into this next decade, I think about whether or not I am living the life and serving the purpose I was put on this earth to do and be. My answer is that I am, but I have so much more to do.

If I could go back in time, is there anything I would change? What would I tell my nineteen year old self? These are questions I hear a lot, lately. They’re good questions. There are several things I think about changing if I could go back in time but then my answer is that I wouldn’t want to change anything because it might alter the amazing people who are in my life. I think I’d tell my nineteen year old self to ask more questions instead of leaving them rolling around in my head for fear that, if spoken, it might bring cause an argument.

To wrap it up, seventy or whatever age you are, is just a number. Don’t let it stop you! Here are a few ways how:

  1. Keep moving. Keep stretching. Work on your balance. These actions are important at every age but they become more important the older we get.
  2. It’s time to slow down and embrace those sacred moments in between the scheduled moments. The Monks call this Statio or The Holy Pause. Slow down the hustle and bustle in your life in order to prolong your life.
  3. If you don’t have it now, search for something to get so excited about that you can’t wait to go to bed so that I can wake up in the morning to do it again and again and again.
  4. GET BUSY LIVING! Listen to your own voice and use your inner compass to guide you.
  5. Silence the Naysayers. Avoid Pretenders and Blowhards. They’re trying to bring you down so that they can look better.
  6. Make a schedule and put a timeframe on each task in order fit what you want to accomplish in the day.

I conclude with a quote from Bruce Lee. If you love life, don’t waste time for time is what life is made up of.

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