Fortunately, we were gifted with good genes at birth. We’ve kept persistently active walking and hiking, running marathons. And now still feeling pretty peppy, as we travel through our ‘sevens’. That doesn’t mean that the age-old (or is it, old age) pesky questions fail to creep in at times. They try, if you let them.
“Am I too old for this?”, “I should have done this a long time ago.” And “Darn! I waited too long!” beg consideration. Please, Ban them! Scrap them. ‘Should have’, Could have’ and ‘Would have’. They can and will dampen your motivation.
With that principle in mind, I should quickly disclose; We, at the ages of 77(me) and 74, my soul mate, climbing, hiking partner of 45 years, have just decided that ‘it’s never too late’ to turn a new page in our golden years. After years prudently planning, it finally came time to do something. Watching our portfolio was about as exciting as eating dry oatmeal.
In the hopes of motivating those who consider themselves ‘too old’ to plunge into new ventures, I will share our latest experiences to provide a balance. If you still have the desire and means, why not put those virtues to work?
Though mentioning Means, Motive and Opportunity may sound like classic crime, it also applies to all of us. Ironically our ‘Passion To Live’ embodies the same formula. Live passionately.
Steve and I have been always active from the moment we met. We climbed mountains while raising kids. We survived loss of one adult son, yet willed to focus on the other son with more passion. Volunteering at a local food bank became my therapy. Seeking more peaks filled in the gaps.
And when the ‘empty nest’ descended on us, we refused to slow down. To the contrary, knowing that we still possessed the virtues, i.e motive means and ways, we raised the bar. Did higher peaks, longer adventures. Fueled with passion. Don’t we ever have down times? Of course, we do. That is exactly when you appreciate and look forward to mending soon and get back up to living passionately. Yes, the ‘mending’ takes a little longer and the ‘aches and pains’ linger longer, but that’s life. Would we rather hike and climb a little slower and with some discomfort or not get out at all? Simple to answer – GO. DO. IT.
After decades of saving and investing for the older years, at one point it becomes simple mathematics, an algorithmic dilemma – enjoy life to the fullest or endure the fear of the unknown. You still have the ambition, means and ways; why not go off-course, plunge into something that younger folks are doing. And you still are capable doing the same. It is never too late!
Before Steve and I finally decided to put some of our savings to work and bought a small townhouse we soul searched long and hard. Our second home is in a modest 55+ gated community in the tiny hamlet, Casa Grande, AZ, halfway between Phoenix and Tucson and surrounded by mountains, trails and the desert.
We knew that this was a bold move. To put it realistically, it was intended to replace the expenses of accommodations while we go on treks, hikes in other states. Motive was to use it as a vacation base and save on hotel costs. I will however, be the first one to admit that I battled with the question; ‘Did we wait too long?’ It was not about the real estate market or any other financial means. I was trying to face up to the inconvenient truth of ‘How many more years do we have in life?’ ‘Are we too old?’
People our age traditionally do not buy and furnish a second home. It is a lot of work, lots of details, furnishing the place (thank you- Internet shopping and delivery), arranging power, phone, internet, sewer and water (thank you- friendly small city employees), mail (thank you- USPS for seasonal mail holds and forwarding), and updating (replaced carpet with tile in the midst of a building boom). There is no time left to dwell on age. In truth, these were delightful challenges and made us feel worn out, but very much alive.
The insecurities of unforeseen disabilities, cost of long-term care and the fear of losing each other will gang up on you, if you let them, trapping you in the doldrums.
Paradoxically, I will be first to report that a big plunge into doing little new things like, buying new towels or a door mat for the 2nd home from the Dollar Store, fills you with fresh blood. Injects passion and breathes oxygen into your lungs.
The pandemic has thrown a wrench into life to be sure. By now you should be vaccinated, or over it, time to throw open the doors, step outside and work on your activities and pursue your passions.
Another pivotal moment was our decision to get a pet at our age and with our hyper lifestyle. Battled the same insecurities about the future, but made the plunge and adopted a year-old St. Bernard puppy. (We had had two Saints earlier, so we knew their demands). Our contemporaries, or even younger friends, rolled their eyes skeptically.
Once again, all was negated by the psychological warmth the puppy brought us. She is now a two-year old gentle giant weighing a petite 130 lbs, with unconditional love to give. She hikes and climbs some heights with us. As long as our backpacks can handle gallons of water for her.
No, it is never too late.