Reflections on Turning 70
May 24th, 2023 by Joan Maiden
Recently, I exited my sixth decade and entered my seventh. As I contemplated this transition, my expectation was that it would be rather depressing—a reminder that my time is running out. When I was young, I believed that I had all the time in the world.
As the day of my birthday approached, I was surprised to find that I had a change of attitude. This decade was a new opportunity to follow the dreams I’d been putting off until ‘someday’.No one is guaranteed ‘someday’. It is a false assumptions of youth, that there would be plenty of time.
There are trips I’ve been postponing until ‘someday’. Books I would finish writing ‘someday’. Friends I would spend more time with ‘someday’. Although the list seemed endless, I had to find a place to start. What were the most pressing items on my bucket list? The trip to Scotland I’ve always dreamed of taking? The book I started writing and put on the back burner? Losing my closest friend recently left me with regrets that I didn’t spend more time with her. I don’t want any more regrets, so I will spend time with the people who mean so much to me.
I’ve made the decision that my seventh decade is going to be a decade of achievement. I’m fortunate that I am in good health although my joints are stiffer and I have various aches and pains. I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says “If not now, then when?”. That is my theme for this decade. Am I going to act now or wait until my eighth decade when there will be even less time–if I’m fortunate enough to make it that far? There are no guarantees.
My only regret is I’ve wasted so much time waiting for ‘someday’. “If not now, then when?” It’s like we’re always told—use the good china, take the trips, hug your family and friends, and don’t save anything until someday. Even if I don’t accomplish everything I want this decade, I know that I will accomplish nothing if I don’t make the plans, reserve the trip, call my friends, and even get out the good china. It’s time to enjoy every minute of right now.