“THE NEXT STEP” BY RONNI BENNETT

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[I ‘ve mentioned Ronni Bennett before.  She’s the administrator  and principal writer for a blog called “Time Goes By: What It’s Really Like to Get Older.”  Although “only” 72, she is also far more serious about the age thing confronting us both than I am (or than I permit myself to be online). Which makes her a good antidote for “The Getting Older Blog” when it gets too fizzy.  I especially liked her post on December 6, so I am re-blogging it here.  This post was called “The Next Step in My Old Age.”  You can read her every day if you like at http://www.timegoesby.net  ]

All we know for sure is that life is short. Or, more likely, it’s only old people who know that.

When I was young, in my 20s and contemplating my future, to be 70 someday felt like an eternity, even two eternities – so far off that there was no reason to wonder about it.

But from where I am now at 72, I can close my eyes and feel 20 as near in my mind’s eye as yesterday. I have grown old enough now to “grok” that life doesn’t last very long.

Yet I am not so old – nor sickly – that death feels close by as I expect it to feel in ten or 15 years should I be given that much time (or will I be as wrong about that as I was at 20 about the nature of longevity)?

And unlike the callow youth I was half a century ago, so cavalierly certain there would be so much time for everything that I didn’t need a plan, now I want to consider the best possible way to use the rest of my life.

I don’t mean anything as simple as a bucket list of destinations, events or experiences. If there are to be any of those, they should grow naturally out of what I am working to decide now.

The question – a question, anyway – is this: on what information or knowledge or notions or convictions should I base my choices? There are only two or three things, in addition to the brevity of life, I know for sure:

• Yielding to the truth of what lies at the end of everyone’s life journey gives me the freedom to live as fully and intensely as I want.

• Even as death closes in, there is no reason life cannot be made pleasurable and productive.

• We are each of us on our own which is the reason we must take care of one another.

• If I live longer than another year or two, I will need to revise these choices as life pulls me in directions I am still too young to imagine.

This is as far as I’ve gotten. Interim goals elude me for now but I know that when the last of my days are nigh (I would consider it a blessing to be aware), I want to believe I have done the best I could manage, and be comfortable knowing it is time to go.

Although I don’t know what “grok” means, Ronni and I are probably both singing the same song.  Preaching from the same pulpit.  Only the style is different.

I just thought it might be good to hear it from somebody else for a change.


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