Over My Shoulder: Not over ‘til it’s over’

by Ann Robson

Birthdays are a good time to pause and survey where you’ve come from and where you’re going. They are the New Year for individuals. Making a wish as you blow out your candles signifies hope for something good in your next year.

Many folks are sensitive to revealing their ages and may be somewhat unwilling to celebrate birthdays, particularly some of those landmark ones that end in “0” or “5.” They are missing the point of such observances. Birthdays are celebrations of life and should be enjoyed.

I have two close friends who were born the same year as me. This year I wrote to one of them: did you ever think we’d get to be this age? How did we get here? I found it quite astonishing that we were still relatively strong women living our lives as well as we could. I think that’s what counts – as well as we could. Each of us has had setbacks along the way. Some of these events have been tragic. Some have been surprising.  Many have been heartwarming. Some have even been joyous.

We didn’t consciously plan to reach a certain age. We seemed to have arrived whether planned or not. Yet each in our way did prepare for the long game whether we knew we were doing it or not. We lived our lives with purpose and, step by step, arrived. We are likely to continue this pattern, come what may.

Along the way we made decisions about today and tomorrow, each in our own way. Tomorrow is an unknown, but a few basic tenets can help get us through. There are sensible things like managing whatever financial needs we have, paying attention to the little details so there will be no shocking big problems along the way and making decisions about how we want to live our lives in the coming years – and then sharing that information with members of our families who should be part of the discussion.

While financial decisions are important, they are not the only key to future comfort. We need to feed our souls as well as our bodies. Following a healthy lifestyle so that our bodies don’t turn on us and hinder our well-being is necessary. However, a healthy body without a worthwhile attitude really has no meaning. We are social beings and need social interaction. That will mean something different for each of us. What makes you happy may drive me around the bend, or vice versa. As our circumstances change we need to be ready with Plan B or C or Z.

To use the sports analogy of a long game, my two friends and I are probably in the fourth quarter, the 7th inning, the third period, the second half or down one set. We are still in the game. We can still score that “Hail Mary” pass, home run, winning goal, three-point basket or come back to win the match. It might take us a little longer, but we didn’t get here by giving up.

We know how the game is played and still have a few tricks up our sleeves.

Ann Robson is the author of “Over My Shoulder: Tales of Life and Death and Everything In Between.” She can be reached at overmyshoulder@charter.net.