Yes, I’ve been MIA with blog posts, and I apologize for falling off the map. I’ve been busy pulling my revised chapters into a final manuscript, and because much nit-picking and rewording is happening, the process is taking way longer than planned. Is revision ever done? I need to run that one by a published novelist.
But, that’s not the point of this post. I want to share some thoughts that filtered out of the madness of revision. I started to wonder if writing a novel at my age is a sign of lunacy or chutzpah. Let your vote be counted; there are no wrong answers. I’m sure that both my mother and grandmother would vote for lunacy. I can hear my mother’s voice now. “You’re doing what? Why? Just how old do you think you are”, or even worse, “You need to act your age”. A statement I’ve never understood.
When I look around me, I don’t see many aging adults approaching retirement the same way as the previous generation of parents and grandparents. The example mine set was to kick back in front of the TV with a pack of cigarettes and a cup of coffee, and spend the day watching old movies or game shows. You’ll only find me following their example when I’m too sick to do anything else. I’m busy pretty much all of the time. As my son keeps asking, “Mom aren’t you supposed to be retired?” What does that even mean anymore? For most of us, retirement doesn’t mean stopping. It means finally having the time to do the multitude of things we didn’t have the time or money for when we reported to a job every day. We’ve retired from paid employment, not from life.
My friends over sixty-five see retirement as a beginning, not an ending. The best thing about getting older is being freed from constantly needing approval. We’ve long ago proved ourselves and are no longer restricted by the heavy cloak of self-consciousness. We’ve developed enough self-esteem to laugh at ourselves when we try something new and it all goes awry. Who cares? We’re also not afraid to challenge ourselves. We get out on that ballroom floor; go zip lining; compete in roller dance; volunteer at schools, charity shops, and animal rescues; raise orchids to show; become master gardeners or even AKC judges; train as docents; take classes in everything from writing poetry, learning a new language or making pottery, and we even write novels.
If we’re smart, we’ll also try to make a few friends in the under-forty crowd. If we’re lucky they’ll keep us up-to-date on the latest trends in music, the newest techie issues and devices, or fill us in on what’s it’s like to raise kids in today’s perplexing world. The younger crowd challenges our perceptions and makes us think. Try it. They have a lot to say, and their viewpoints have value.
So, I guess the conclusion to this line of thought is don’t expect to find me on the porch in a rocking chair any time soon. If my message machine kicks in when you call, assume I’m out doing something my mother would have deemed in appropriate for my age. My plan is to, as that old adage goes, end up smiling and totally used up by the time I reach the finish line.
pictures: Two ballroom dancing friends, all of us over sixty-five. Zip-lining with my husband and a cousin twenty-two years younger than me. Maybe lunacy is the word after all.