When we are young, we rarely think about running out of time. Now that I am soon to be 65, I think of that a lot. Perhaps it is the mounds of Medicare info that has been flooding my mailbox the past few months. Maybe it is having to check the last box on various forms, the 62 and older line. Or maybe it is seeing our grandchildren grown up so fast. It really is all those things. But it is more than those. It really isn’t about being almost 65. It is about running out of time, regardless of our age. We have always known that disease and death are no respecter of age. While we may think about our mortality more as we age, we can run out of time at any age.
I don’t understand this aging thing, really. My mother and her mother both died at 64 years of age. Since I am now 64, I have had them on my mind a lot. I am reminded of my father-in-law who is soon to be 93. He talks about when he passed his 87th birthday, and he had then lived longer than his parents or any of his siblings. With my 65th birthday just three months away, I can identify. But even though this is on my mind a lot, there are other things on my mind about this as well.
I am thinking about a close friend who is in his mid 40’s whose cancer is growing, hoping that he can get treatment to arrest the growths, and hopefully a cure. He has teenage children who still need their dad, and a mother who does not need to suffer the loss of a son after losing her husband a few short years ago. We are praying for a miracle.
The death of a musician friend is also on my mind. Mike and I have followed Jack Shepherd around St. Maarten for 16 years. Mike sent him a Facebook message to let him know that we are in St. Maarten, only to have someone reply that Jack passed away last October. Jack was only 60 years old when cancer stopped his music.
I also think about how careless I can be with my health, and know that those who do not have good health would give almost anything to have good health to care for. I remember when my mother died in 1998, vowing to exercise consistently to take good care of myself. That resolve did not last, and here I am struggling again with exercising and weight control, feeling guilty that with my good health, I take it for granted.
Thoughts of my career are also heavy on my mind. I am in a stage where I know I need to refocus my career. I think a lot about my passion to inspire positive change in work, life, and family, and know that I need to accelerate that, before my time runs out. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
While I know that our time on earth is limited, regardless of the number of years we are privileged to live, I am not doing enough to act on that knowledge. Perhaps you can identify.
Whether our life includes one more year, many more years, or no more years, we do have now. What will we do with the time we have?