I turn 80 today, and I recall doubting I would ever be able to say that. Now the date arrives, I’m still here, and it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.
Like you, I know our population as a whole is living longer. Individually, then, I arrive at another decade marker and realize I’ve just been carried along on humanity’s life stream and here we are.
So now what? Ninety?
My life’s pace has slowed enough that I’m either blessed – or cursed – with the time to contemplate questions such as that.
So often, we think of aging in terms of deterioration, of what we’re losing in terms of health, for example, or, comfort. Or just in the struggle to keep up with such a rapidly changing world. Do I want another 10 years of all that?
But we also can think of aging in terms of what we’re gaining with added time.
My wife and I lost a son at a far-too-young an age. We have also gained six grandchildren at what at times seemed a far-too-young an age for us. Now, at 80, we could feasibly acquire a great-grandchild. Wow, how great might that be?
Abruptly, we also have gained another span of time with old friends and all that comes along with that.
And ever so often, along comes yet another new friend, and our interests and knowledge expand through that relationship. Why would we want to deny ourselves that acquisition?
So, let’s blow out the candles and go for another 10!
Stealing a line from Monty Python, “Now for something completely different,” I was surprised and pleased to receive quick responses to my inaugural column. You blog readers seem more inclined to weigh in on topics than those talking back to newspaper columnists or radio commentators. Thanks, so much, and I’ll consider regularly all that you have to say.
Cliff Rowe is a retired journalist and journalism professor. (He practiced both in a time before journalists and what they produced were considered “enemies of the people.”) He and his family have lived in the Shorewood area of White Center (then Burien) since 1969 when they returned to the Northwest after seven years in the Chicago area. There, following graduate school, he wrote and edited with the Chicago Sun-Times and with Paddock Publications in the Chicago suburbs. On moving here, he was with The Seattle Times for 11 years before turning to teaching journalism at Pacific Lutheran University for 35 years, retiring in 2015.