“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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2 thoughts on ““THE NEXT STEP” BY RONNI BENNETT

  1. Glenda kimsey

    Wow and I thought it was just me…I’m 70 a pancreatic cancer survivor and I thought I’d accepted age but it’s different now because I’m feeling age now…and it is much harder than I thought it would be

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    • I wrote this blog post almost five years ago, Glenda. Since that time, Ronni Bennett — the author of the post included within mine — was herself diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She underwent a surgery called the Whipple procedure, plus chemo and radiation, gained perhaps six months of relative health after a long recovery from the treatment, but has now been told by her doctors that the cancer has returned and there is nothing more they can do to prolong her life. She doesn’t know if she still has months, or only weeks, before she will begin to experience the symptoms of oncoming death. She is bravely recording for her blog readers — for as long as she can — how she feels about the certainty she is dying. Perhaps it will help you to see what she has to say. Yes, it is very very hard….

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