I’m On The Highway

I had a birthday last week. Although I’ve been on Medicare and Social Security for a few years now, at 69, this year still feels like the last one before I have to admit I am a “senior citizen.”

Any more, I use birthdays to reflect briefly on what I’ve learned and to set my focus again on where I want to go.  There are some wonderful things that happen when we begin to age if we take the right perspective. I no longer beat myself up over things I should have done or thought I would have done by this time in my life. I recognize that I’m doing what I’m led to do. It’s one of the things I ask every day as I meditate – “Guide me today as I move along this path and bring the people that are supposed to be in my life.”

I also see some physical benefits. Even though much of my body tends to resist things I used to accomplish easily, such as getting up off the floor after sitting for a few minutes (assuming I made it down there without a catastrophe). But the lack of focus and memory that I once dreaded has actually turned out to be rather helpful at times.  I’ve always been someone who loves being physically fit, and currently use a Fitbit to monitor that. (I’ve worn pedometers and kept records of my exercise and health for years).

My husband and I live in a 3 story house, and on days when I have lots of chores to complete, I notice that I tend to get more exercise. When I forget what I wanted as soon as I walk into the bedroom upstairs, I have to go back down to my office (in the walk-out basement) to figure out what triggered the need in the first place.  Then on the way down, something catches my eye in the main floor that I forgot to finish, so I stop to do that; run back upstairs to get whatever it was I originally needed, and then realize I have to go back DOWNstairs again.  Before I know it, I’ve hit my step goal and didn’t even “work out.” 😉 (Another thing old age is teaching me is that a sense of humor makes “the moment” more tolerable).

At any rate, my husband teases me that I think I’m going to live forever. Yes, I do – the real me is eternal. So even if my body is already deteriorating some, that’s just the reality of our physical beings. But I made the decision years ago that I was not going to let an old person take up residence in my body.

A while back, I was discussing this with a friend, and she shared that when they were talking about *life* one of her daughters made this comment; “Mom, you’re on the highway and your exit is coming up!”

While I hope my exit isn’t coming for a little while yet, none of us knows when that’s going to be. Which is the point of this blog!

We’re all on the highway of life. Some of us travel in the fast lane, at least for a while, but we eventually realize that can’t last forever for a variety of reasons. Some of us have learned that we need to take the scenic route at least occasionally (especially those of us who have been here a while), and some even make a number of stops to smell the roses and watch the sunsets. ALL of us take detours from time to time, but as long as we pay attention to our inner GPS system, we either eventually get back on course, or we end up in a place that turns out to be even better than our original path. Regardless of what route we take, we need to realize the destination is not the point of the trip, it’s the journey. Have you ever rushed to get someplace you thought you really wanted or needed to go, only to discover once you arrived that it didn’t measure up to the hype? Or even if it did, once you got there & did all the things you wanted to do, you didn’t really feel as satisfied as you had hoped?

That’s the problem with not living in the now. For me, planning the trip is usually the most fun part – the anticipation and dreaming about what it will be like. Living in the future like that can be exciting. But as those of us who have some anxiety know, it can also be exhausting and nerve-racking; and if we stay there, we’ll never really live the life we are meant to have.

So I don’t want to have any regrets when I come upon that exit. As long as I keep my vehicle on the highway, and don’t spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror and learn from previous bumps in the road, I can sit back and enjoy the ride.  In fact, I’ve come to understand more and more that I’m not even driving this rig!   I just sit in the passenger seat and trust that it will take me where I need to go.