By Harry A. Hartigan
Prime Timers Minneapolis/St. Paul
Wow, I never wanted to be 65! Looking back (hindsight is 20/20) I never saw this aging thing coming at me like a freight train. Maybe that is the way it is meant to be and daily living is our shield or blinders. I knew older people and spent time with them but I never thought I would be OLD! I loved my older family and friends and life was good. The older people in my life seemed to be happy, healthy and active. Who knew?
In my teens I was busy being a teen struggling to figure out who I was and where I was supposed to be going with my life. I knew it all, had all the answers and was capable of everything. I was busy with school, work, dating, friends and family. Growing up in a family of nine children and being second oldest I was expected to help with the younger ones and help with household duties.
College was not something everyone did after high school. In the ’60s many young men either enlisted or got drafted into military service. I opted for college but due to an administrative error I was invited to serve my country. The twenties, thirties and forties were spent building a career, raising a family and chasing the American Dream. Good job, nice home, two cars, private schools for the kids.
The big FIVE O arrived but that really didn’t faze me. Life was good and I was busy living life to the fullest. My children were grown, I even have wonderful grandchildren who I enjoy spending time with. I have family, friends, home and a rewarding career. My health was good and I was determined to make my health great. I was working out 5 to 6 days a week and eating better. The fifties were actually very good to me. I was doing well physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually. I had a great support system and things were looking promising. I owned several properties, was looking for a duplex or multi-unit building to purchase. Then I decided to make a career change at 58—what was I thinking or maybe I wasn’t thinking. This career change didn’t pan out but I realized this and started to adjust course. It was then that I realized late 50’s was considered old and employers were not interested in hiring a seasoned old person —who knew?
I survived a career change, the greatest depression ever (the folks at the helm called this a recession—not from my vantage point), a serious shoulder injury at age 60 which was notice that I was old. My injury changed my life and when a nice young man offered me his seat on the crowded bus I had confirmation that I was old. As nice as this young man’s gesture was it clearly was acknowledgement that I was considered a senior citizen, elder or older person. You can bet that I wanted to refuse this offer but I graciously accepted the seat and the fact that I was older and disabled by this injury.
I am now 65 years and 8 months old. I am retired and the captain of my own ship. I am busy with grandchildren, family, friends, home and volunteer work. I am wiser and more thoughtful today. I see the effects of aging all around me but I am determined to enjoy life and do what I can to help other seniors along the way. As a senior I have a responsibility to help mentor and guide the young’uns. I am so impressed with the seniors who are volunteering and giving back each and every day, truly gracious and wonderful.
Wow, I never wanted to be 65 but since I am here I plan to make the most of it! I have found my passions in life and fully intend to maximize my energies working to enjoy and enhance my passions. You might ask what am I passionate about. Well here is my list:
My family (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren)
The Order of Mychal & Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (St. Theresa’s Parish)
Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly
Prime Timers Minneapolis/St. Paul
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