While talking to my son on the phone this week, I was telling him how I have been feeling overwhelmed and blue for the past couple of months. I wasn’t sure whether to call it “being depressed,” but there has certainly been something going on with me that isn’t ME. I am by nature an optimistic person, and don’t let things get me down, at least not for long. It has been different this time; harder to shake off.
This has been different from my run-of-the-mill blue days. It began with my birthday in March. I crossed the decade threshold into the 70s, a step I didn’t think would be much more than a tiptoe, the same as stepping from one room of my house into another. But it has turned out to be much more than that – at least in my mind, and to a certain extent, my body.
“Mom, you need to be honest in your writing,” my son recommended, as I tried to explain to him how I was feeling.
So, that’s what I am going to do for the next little while in this blog. It is still my collection of days, but more deeply, it is going to be a collection of my thoughts and feelings about growing old and entering the world of “The Elderly.” While I don’t consider myself a full-fledged member of this wonderful new club I was admitted to without realizing I had applied, I know that I am certainly headed in that direction, and I need to prepare myself for it.
A few things hit me after my birthday, reminding me of the day I took the “ALS Challenge” a few years back and voluntarily allowed a friend to pour a bucketful of ice water over my head. What a shock that was! In many ways turning 70 has been similar. A few things (so far) have caused the earth under my feet to tremble, sending me into an anxiety-laced spiral downward.
At 70 years of age, I am still working part-time, and will be doing so for as long as I can, or want. I don’t have a large retirement fund waiting for me to live the life of comfort I see so many of my friends living. Things just didn’t work out for me the way I had planned during my years of productivity in the workplace. I didn’t stockpile as much as I felt like I needed into my 401-K or my IRA. Life kept happening, throwing me off-track, and causing me to lower my expectations of what I would have to draw from when I reached that magical “retirement age.” I have a small portfolio, which I watch like a hawk, fingers crossed, hoping for the best. That’s about all I can do at this point. Working part-time helps, and keeps me from having to start pulling from this little nest egg for at least awhile longer.
At my son’s suggestion, I have changed my perspective of where I am in life. Instead of saying I am still working, I now say, “I am retired, but I have a wonderful supplemental part-time job, which I enjoy immensely.” Just this shift in the way I look at things is helping!
For any of you blog readers who chance upon my blog and want to follow my adventures in this new world I am exploring, I invite you to check in with me again. I am going to write honestly about aging, share any helpful tips I receive along my way, and share my encounters as I travel this strange new path.
In the meantime, I need to go do some load-bearing exercises for my bones, work a couple of word puzzles or Sudoku games for my brain, spritz my face with a serum of all natural and organic ingredients promising to keep my skin supple and line-free (yeh, right!!), shampoo my snow-white hair, and get ready to go to work.
Stay tuned. Let’s see where we can go with this! Might be fun!