Remaining enthusiastic becomes a choice . . . doesn’t it?

I think enthusiasm for some element in our life is the key to having the desire to get up everyday.  And as the years pass, particularly as we enter what for me has become the final stage of life, I know I must have passion for doing something not attempted before or working to enhance a skill already present to keep my enthusiasm churning.  I can’t simply do over and over again what I have already done so many times before.  This doesn’t mean that what I have spent my life doing has lost its value.  On the contrary.  It only means that at some point, enthusiasm wanes.  I have seen it happen to others.  And I know I am no different.  Making a decision to explore new territory is the impetus I think most folks need to get up daily with enthusiasm, when we age.

My husband’s passion is to know more about virtually any topic he hears just a smidgen about.  He is the most curious person I have ever met.  His curiosity, in fact, is what attracted me to him some forty years ago.  He also has a remarkable capacity for remembering all that he has read or watched.  He simply never tires of wanting to know more.  His enthusiasm for the ordinary makes it seem extraordinary when he retells “their story.”  And people are eager for his stories.  I have observed this throughout our marriage.  Our eagerness to know more feeds his desire, I think.

Because some of you are on the precipice of entering this final stage right along with me, the choices you may need to make about many elements of your life are only now passing through your mind.  Some of these choices relate to changes in housing.  Some will relate to changing locations, even.  I actually know hundreds of couples and singles who have moved to a new part of the country for the final stage of life.  For some that move was financial.  For others it had to do with health or weather or the movement of children or friends.  And for a few, it was the basic drive for a new adventure.  The good news is that we/they can always “move back home” again.  No decision has to be made forever.

Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean leading a quieter life.  However, it may be slower in certain respects.  I know, at 75, I don’t have the energy I had at 60.  I observed this first-hand just a week ago when my niece, who is 60, was visiting with her husband.  Taking a morning walk together made it obvious that I no longer power-walked at her speed.  The rest of the week she walked before I got up.  I had to laugh.  This was me a few years ago when I walked with my older sisters.

She and I went shopping and I experienced another example of the age difference.  She bought me an e-cloth, a new method for washing windows, as a hostess gift.  When we got home, I was ready to rest awhile.  She, on the other hand, excitedly, washed every window in my house, both inside and out, screens too, without even breathing hard.  Almost without stopping to eat.  I was nearly exhausted just watching her.  Her joy at offering this as an additional gift to me was all the sustenance she needed.

Did I do that at 60?  It’s doubtful.  I never liked housework, but I do know I burned the candle at both ends very successfully for many years, a feat that’s thankfully behind me now.  That section “of my chart” has been completed.  Thanks be to God.

 

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