Golden years – yeah, right

I only claim to speak for myself in the following matter but I suspect I speak for many others as well. 

It is my firm belief that keeps me alive. It is my firm belief that one day I am going to run into whoever coined the words “Golden Years” to describe what life is like when we reach the not-so-pearly-gates of seniordom. When I do, I’m going to work that person over with a tire iron. Then to make sure I’ve completed the job, I’m going to encase that person in concrete and drop whoever it is twenty miles out into the Atlantic Ocean where the conniving liar can spend his/her “Golden Years.” 

You know, I should have known better. It is the old con game to make you buy into something that is not what it is suggested to be. It is trying to convince you that when you reach 60, 65 or 70 your life is going to be one of leisure, of financial comfort, of living that life you always dreamed of – dining in expensive restaurants with friends, traveling to visit places you only read about, fishing every day and catching your limit, enrolling in a course to learn how to paint landscapes that just might sell for thousands, or playing golf and breaking 100, nay – make that 90.  

The truth is I am knee deep in my seventh decade and life has been anything but golden. I have attained the golden age but when I got here my body had a surprise for me. It decided to fall apart. No one told me that pancreatitis, trigeminal neuralgia, painful joints and aching teeth would be my lot. No one told me that next to my wife the most important thing in my life would be Walgreens drug store. Someone failed to mention that instead of a pocket full of change I would carry my pill cases in it. The salesman at the furniture store failed to suggest I get the bedside table with the most surface to accommodate all my pill bottles. And as for golf, I play once a month because all the other days are spent in recuperation. The only thing I’m going to break on the course is my clubs or my back. 

The truth is that my Golden Years were my forties (or fifties for late bloomers) but no one told me that either. I failed to enjoy those years as much as I should have. Back then I was beyond the immature decades of my teens, my twenties and my thirties. Back in my forties I was rising in my profession, I had my health and I had friends I could converse with about sports, politics and science – not conversations about doctors and medicines with friends who are as medically challenged as I am. Comparing surgeries is not like comparing cars. My biggest concern back then was losing my hair, not losing my hearing. In my forties I was living my Golden Years but was too stupid to realize it. 

So, to those readers in their forties or soon will be, here is probably the best advice you will ever get. Enjoy! Revel in your forties. Live your life to the fullest. Treasure every moment. Don’t let anyone convince your best days are coming – you are in the middle of them right now. One more thing, one more piece of advice I have given before. And as you are enjoying that decade, be sure to collect a few souvenirs. I would suggest that some good friends and great memories will do. Because when you approach the end of your journey, as you enter the later decades of your life you will have learned that they are the most important things anyone can collect along life’s way and the only gold you will have when you are in your “Golden Years.”

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