Retirement: Are You Glad You Are Past 70?

Jun 7th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

With all the bad news and increasingly sad events in our world, are you glad you are on the plus side of 70?  I have often thought, as George Burns opined, that I’d like to be 18 again.  Increasingly that desire or wish or fantasy seems less and less appealing.  He lived long past 70 and lived well.  Now, the opportunities for living are out there, but the circumstances seem to be less and less appealing.

The most horrifying tragedy currently stirring the waters, literally, is the huge disaster off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico.  Humans, wildlife, economic conditions, employment threats and on and on have invaded a major part of the southern seaboard.  Our need for energy has caught us in a trap from which we may not be able to extricate ourselves.  It isn’t a pretty or optimistic picture.

Being glad to be past 70 is somewhat selfish.  We really need to take into account all those persons whose lives are being so sadly and chaotically affected.  How will they survive?  Where will they find work?  What about the children whose lives will be enormously upended?  The age of the people in the Gulf won’t be an asset, even if they are young.  Recovery from this may not come.  Natural habitats may be, just has been feared, forever lost.  Panic is not a satisfying adventure.  Reality in the face of what has happened, however, is a necessary exercise.  Being past 70 means some people will escape having to undergo long term pain caused by this colossal disaster.  Others, whose lives still have the stuff of hope and future in them will wrestle with the demands and struggles growing out of all the consequences of this event.

Perhaps the best those of us past 70 can do is to offer some kind of assurance, some kind of skill at handling the catastrophic unfolding of life in ways that none of us could have expected. Perhaps, a brigade of 70 plus-ers can become a clean up crew, trying to offer optimism and solid voluntary participation, such as happens in other disasters.  Perhaps such a clean up crew can begin by berating those who have for too long dumped their ideas and philosophies which have amounted to greed and indifference and demonstrate that it is possible not to be hyped by those whose malicious and thoughtless behaviors have brought us this far.

Perhaps we can demonstrate what it is to act out of conscience.  Perhaps we can show that our way of life may need major adjustments, not just minor fine tuning in order for the next generation to even hope to see arriving at 70.

This is no short term, maybe it will go away experience.  This is a wake up call, with the alarm bell sounding over and over to get our attention and to get up and do something and be somebody in a time when our world is dangerously close to a disaster bordering on frightening consequences.  Sound alarmist?  So be it.  The world is a fragile home, deserving of our care and genuine respect.  It may already be too late, for those past 70 and for those with fewer years than they would like.



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