It’s the turn of a new decade and like many of my friends, the realization that we are beginning to leave the middle ages and cross over to old age is starting to hit home. We look at our children and realize that they would not be as caring as we were at their ages, we look at our parents and wonder at how our once strong and no nonsense parents have become childlike and feeble. We are at the stage in life where we are between several generations and we can better appreciate the old and the new, and see more clearly than our parents, the fate that awaits us.
I have thought hard and fast about my future and it has become necessary to project into the next 10 years and reflect on what my life will look like and what steps I must take to prepare for old age. I know the normal trend is to write letters to one’s younger self warning oneself about what should or should not have been done but since I am not a conventional person, I will be turning the narrative around a bit and shall write a thank you letter from my older self from my current self.
Thank you so so very much for all you did to make our 60s and 70s a pleasant time. When you started planning for the future in our late 40s/ 50s I was bemused at your dedication to ensure that we lived well and I can only now tell you how much I appreciate all you did.
Thanks for telling me to be careful about our health, to avoid stress, to eat healthy and exercise often. We are living a relatively good life when compared with some of our contemporaries. The saying that “Health is wealth” is true especially in old age. Thank you for drumming it into us that the length of our days must be filled with quality living. I agree with you now that there is no point living long if one is not living well. Thank you for insisting that we took out health insurance at the time we did so we don’t have to be filled with dread wondering how our medical bills would be taken care of.
I remember how we talked about the empty nest syndrome and how lonesome old age could be. I have you to thank for ensuring that we developed other interests aside from work and religious activities. You ensured we took up hobbies and did things to make us feel young and alive, that we kept close friendships with people that matter and that we formed a tight community with our friends. I am especially pleased that you realized early in life that our kids would not stay in the same town, country as we did and that we planned with our friends to stay as close to one another as we possibly could. I remember how our dreams of sharing a house with friends was raised and how some of us now live together in close communities, some even sharing a house and splitting their amenities and maintenance bills.
How lonesome would we have been if we didn’t have friends, especially since our children have no patience to sit with us and listen to our stories. How thankful I am, that we are not forced to stay with them abroad in that cold because we have no interests apart from them. Thank you for insisting that we have a good social life and enjoyed ourselves rather than looking enviously at our children as we help bring up their kids.
I cannot thank you enough for insisting on us saving and making investments for the sole purpose of taking care of ourselves for the future. It’s the fruit of those investments that we now live on. I remember you saying that we cannot assume our children would take care of us because we spent most of our productive years taking care of them. Our children do try their best but the truth you saw years ago is that, they are now starting their own lives and families and don’t just have enough to go around. I know that they take care of our necessities but there is nothing like being financially independent and having one’s own money. Pure bliss I tell you.
Thank you Tara for having foresight, being brutally honest about our situation and planning for our future. Love ya loads.
If you were born in the 60s and 70s you belong to a unique generation, a generation that still holds on to certain values. A generation that believes in certain cultures , norms, way of life and the reverence of old age. We have kept faith with our parents. We acknowledged and appreciated the sacrifices they made in our upbringing and have tried to pay back by taking care of them, pandering to their whims and ensuring as much as it lies within us that they are comfortable in old age.
We have played our part but the truth that is staring us in the face is that our children are not likely to play the parts we played. Sometimes, it may be because they are too far away to play that part. Most of them already live outside our countries of residence and they will not be readily available to us as we were to our parents who summoned us at will. On the most part though, the truth is that our children are rather self absorbed, more independent and definitely not as self sacrificing as we were.
The aim of today’s writing is to remind us that we will grow old and we need to make plans towards it. With the advances in medical science a lot of us will live longer than our parents did and will experience the shortfalls of old age. Coupled with this fact is the truth that we cannot expect our children to be wholly concerned about our care neither can we depend on the government (no matter the country we reside in) to be mindful of the little things that bring about joy in old age.
Old age! It’s closer than we think.