Baby boomers born in 1952 are next to join the ranks of Medicare beneficiaries. And, for me, that magic age of 65 will happen in November.
When I was younger, I thought time would always be on my side. Like the ant and the grasshopper, there was no reason for me to worry, because age 65 was so far out in the future.
But where did the time go so I could have a nest egg like the little ant? And, where did the majority of my life go so all my dreams could be realized?
Life did throw me curve balls, but I know there are other people who have experienced much worse devastation and suffering in their lives.
A friend once told me that bad things happen to good people and vice versa. It isn’t fair, is it? But if life were fair, I would have been born to the queen of England.
Even though that didn’t happen, I am still grateful that my needs are met, and sometimes there’s a little leftover to enjoy a few “wants.”
Something I still would like to do is write about my life. And I want it to be a fully grown view of me as a self-actualized person. It’s a tall order, but I have to try.
Maybe not the best example, but one scenario of this could be a trip my first husband and I, along with four other couples, took to the Austrian Alps to learn how to ski.
At that time, my first husband was in the Air Force stationed in Berlin, Germany, and a trip to Austria was fairly inexpensive and not far away.
The lodge where we stayed was charming. We talked about how confident we were and how it wouldn’t take long to learn how to ski. It wasn’t easy, though, and even with our inexperience nothing was going to deter us. By the second morning everybody but me “got it.” They had the basics down and graduated off the bunny slopes.
Wow, talk about a feeling of loneliness. Everybody tried to be encouraging and would wave to me as I was flopping around on the bunny slope. It’s also unbelievable how tired I got trying to get back up on skis after falling down. And I fell a lot. I must have looked like a sad-eyed kitten to the ski instructor, who finally came over to help me up.
The next day, though, I “got it,” too. Such a happy moment. And it was a moment, too, because about an hour later I didn’t want to ski anymore. It was as if I had lost my nerve, but all our friends and my first husband wanted me to go just one more time.
I did, but the result was a broken leg. My left leg was fractured in 10 places. If that wasn’t bad enough, it was also a spiral break, which meant I couldn’t put weight on it for at least four to six months. I wore a cast for eight months, but after the fourth month, the doctor put a little heel on the bottom so I could begin applying weight.
As if a broken leg wasn’t bad enough, it was also the last night of our trip, and everybody was celebrating with shots of Jägermeister downstairs.
I thought I would be able to move around once the cast was on and I had crutches, but that wasn’t happening. So every now and then, someone would check on me.
This particular life experience left a visible scar, and a not-so-visible one that only reminds me of the accident when the weather changes.
Nothing can reverse time, and I needed to make some choices. As for learning valuable lessons from this ski trip, I first had to realize I did have choices. I know that sounds silly, but there was a time in my early life that I didn’t think I had a choice about anything.
The choices related to the ski trip were between bitterness and forgiveness, between anger and getting on with life, and between saying “if only” or spending the rest of my days enjoying life’s journey.
Nobody who makes it to old age is leaving earth unscathed.
Last week, I read an article by Alice Miller, a renowned psychologist.
She said, “all of us from the time we are infants in the cradle until we are self-possessed enough to write an autobiography (like someone she knows), are not adequately loved, not adequately cared for, not adequately recognized, not adequately valued and not adequately honored.”
None of us is spared life’s unfairness, and if we are honest with ourselves, we do nurse a grudge against life, but we can forgive. The road to forgiveness is in resting, praying, celebrating and enjoying life regularly, because this is what we will be doing in heaven. We might also find our heart needs to forgive, too.
A person I respect said there’s only one ultimate imperative in life. It is that before we die, we need to forgive.
“We need to forgive those who hurt us, forgive ourselves for not being any better than those who hurt us, forgive life itself for some of the things that it dealt us, and, not least, to forgive God for the fact that life is unfair, so as not to die with a bitter and angry heart.”
Gratitude is the fruit of that struggle.
Patty Decker writes news and features for the Free Press. You can reach her at email@example.com