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A Matter of Perception

May 11, 2010

I celebrated the fifty-fifth anniversary of my birth last Friday.

And tonight, I got my first discount for being over 55 years old.

Yikes! How did that happen? It amazes me that somehow all of those years slipped away. I certainly don’t FEEL like I am 55 years old! Well, when my knees hurt, or when my memory isn’t as sharp as it was, or when I can’t clearly see what I am reading, I am reminded that I am no longer a teenager, but I still don’t feel anywhere near 55.

What does 55 mean? I realize that, in my mind, I carry a certain perception of age. 55 is just 10 years before being a “senior citizen,” qualified to collect social security, and some part of me thinks of that as old.

However, when I remember the fact that I have an uncle who is in his 90’s, I realize that 55 isn’t all that old. In fact, if I live to be 110, I have only lived 50% of my life! When I think of it that way, I rejoice, because, honestly, the first 55 years have been quite an adventure that I wouldn’t trade for the world. If the next 55 years promise to be as lively, then I have a lot to look forward to in the future.

One of my dear friends is now 72 years old. She recently went through a bit of a scare, when she found out she had some unexpected health challenges. She thought it meant she was going to die. But after a few days of that, she realized that there was much more to do, and she again joined the living with her usual zest for life. She is now happily in the process of starting an educational foundation, dedicated to her granddaughter.

For me, 72 is still 17 years away. When I think of all I have done in the past 17 years, I know I still have many adventures ahead of me.

I have been working on my memoirs, using an excellent source “Write Your Memoir” by Allan Hunter. I’ve been working on it for MONTHS, and I have only gotten to when I was 27 years old. I have lived another 28 years since then! Gosh! It’s been a humbling process to see how very much I lived up to that point of my life, and knowing that there is so very much more I have lived since then.

How many times do we look at something in our lives in one way and limit our perception based upon that one view? When I was 27 years old, 55 years old seemed a long way off. And yes, I have had a plethora of experiences since then, but at the time, it was almost inconceivable. Yet, here I am, now contemplating doubling my years yet again. I get excited thinking about what the future may hold, rather than waiting around for death. There is still so much more.

In other areas, we can look at something like our current economic situation in the world and think it is just horrible. However, if we take another point of view, we may be able to see that we need to go through some challenges in order to restore balance. Or perhaps we are at a point where we need to transform the way we look at money, examine the economic systems we have in place, and do it differently. How willing are we to look at things from a new perspective? How willing are we to change based upon what we find? These are questions that are facing us right now. No, the future is not certain, but we can be assured that there is more to come. What can we do to create the future we desire?

It’s the only way to live. And if you are not living, you are dying. Personally, I choose life.

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