Once we pass age 60, we know the “runway” ahead of us is shorter than it used to be. Yet at the same time we probably have more free time and more resources available to have fun. Raising children and our other obligations are mostly behind us. So, how do we come to grips with our shorter futures and really enjoy ourselves?
Yes, we have more yesterdays than tomorrows. And that’s the title of a story by K.M. Waldvogel in our new book about how you can develop an attitude of gratitude and make the most of your remaining years.
Kathleen and her husband sold their house and were downsizing, so that meant downsizing their possessions as well. They found a way to make all that decluttering a pleasant process, sharing memories of their years together as they sorted through their stuff. The photos, in particular, were a joy to review, and they laughed at some and felt pride at others as they watched how their sons had grown up.
Kathleen says, “After a while, my husband stood up, deciding to tackle another project. Before he left the room, he turned to me. He was silent for a moment, and then he squeezed my shoulder and kissed the top of my head. ‘Looking through all this cements the fact that we are moving on to another chapter in our lives. We have more yesterdays than tomorrows.’ There was no sadness in his voice, no regrets. He simply stated a realization.”
She says, “He was right. We had been blessed with our yesterdays. They included laughter, celebrations, and excitement. Birthdays, graduations, accomplishments, family vacations, anniversaries, and so much more. Moments of sadness are sprinkled throughout. Overall, though, our memories bring smiles to our faces and contentment to our hearts.”
Yes, our yesterdays are behind us, but we have all the memories of them to relive as often as we’d like. We still own all those yesterdays. It’s not like they happened and they’re gone. They’re still a big part of our lives and provide us with lots of pleasure. We can eat our cake and have it too!
Think about it: if you’re 65 now, as I am, you have 65 years of memories that you get to review as often and whenever you want, and you still have lots of new memories to make as you move forward. Those past years are still very much part of your life.
In the case of the Waldvogels, they were able to downsize for their future, to make that future easier, but in the process they were able to fill their memory banks with all the wonders of their past. Those memories wouldn’t take up any room in their new smaller home.
Instead of focusing on your shrinking future, you can get ahead of it. Confront the reality, prepare for it, and then get back to living your life with vigor and enthusiasm. Try new things, go new places, make new relationships, and seize new opportunities. You’ll be making even more memories as you add on to your list of “yesterdays.”
Let’s start a conversation. Are you sad that you have more yesterdays than tomorrows? Or have you come up with a way to embrace your past and keep enjoying it even as you move forward with the rest of your life?
Tags Getting Older