I’m a little sad today. Yesterday marked the end of another year of babysitting, and even though I have a weird sort of empty-nest heartache going on, it’s time. I’m ready. So is Bill. He’s been with me every step of the way.
Let me point out that nothing could be more gratifying than the privilege of sharing this time with our grandkids and their parents. For me, that’s as essential as air. I couldn’t live without them.
But there’s a reason Mother Nature favors the young when it comes to procreating. Bill and I are in our sixties, and childcare is harder for us, physically and mentally. The last few months, we’ve relied on TV and fast food more than we’re proud of, and I’ve felt my patience wearing thin.
We’ve gotten away from friends and social activities, fulfilled as we have been with our family and work. But each generation must develop its own interests. My grandbabies are tiny little people with long lives ahead of them, and their parents (my son and DIL) are in their mid-30s, in the heat of the fight. They’re strong, beautiful, kicking butt and stressed to the gills.
Bill and I are in a different place now, on the other end of the timeline. It sounds negative, but only if you believe old is bad. Look at the good: We get to sleep in most days. We can travel at the drop of a hat. Shopping, restaurants, theaters, golf courses are ours, midweek. We’re less stressed-out and more confident than when we were younger. Yes, we have wrinkles and all the other stuff but big deal. As Mom used to say, people don’t like it, they don’t have to look.
In the months ahead, I’ll have more time to devote to my writing and to this website. Bill and I can get reacquainted with our friends – and with each other. We like to read and watch movies, and we have some of the richest discussions now, about life and art and politics…it’s almost as if, as our bodies slow down, our minds are getting stronger.
Lately I’ve been feeling a certain upwelling of joy, sharpened perhaps by a recognition of that timeline, and our place on it. Bill used to sell cars, and he’s told me there’s something called a “take-away close.” You want something more if you think it might be taken away from you. Older people are said to be happier, and one theory suggests it may be because of this. I’m happier now than ever before. Surprisingly, it’s good to be old.
Here are 9 more reasons why that might be true. Care to add your own?
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I’d also like to thank Mark Anderson, of AquaZebra Print, Web, and Book Design, for helping me through this process of shifting my website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. He was responsible not only for helping bring my ideas to fruition for the site, but also for the critical behind-the-scenes work like migrating almost 300 archived and draft blog posts, getting me started with MailChimp email subscription services, and providing follow-up instruction and help. He’s smart, thoughtful, creative, and professional, and I can’t thank him enough.