55 Years Old and How Everything Has Changed

Growing up, I did not think about what it would be like at 55 years old. The only time 55 years old was mentioned was in the context of retirement.

As we turn the calendar to 2020, I will turn my chronological calendar to 55.

Over the last few months, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what 55 feels like, what I have learned with this time on earth and what’s ahead.

That’s a good place to start. What’s ahead.

I am not sure when, but at some time in the last few years I started to think of the finish line more and more.   I have watched my dad and in laws pass, and my Mom’s health decline rapidly as she approaches 80.

I don’t remember thinking about my remaining years as much when I was 30 or into my 40’s.  But I do now.

  • How do I want the remaining years to go?
  • How long will I be able to do the things I like?  What do I like?
  • How long will I maintain a full-time work schedule?
  • How is my physical self? 
  • Is it declining? 
  • What do I want to do?
  • Who do I want to spend my time with?
  • How do I want to feel?

I don’t have the answers to all the above questions.

I find it interesting that this line of thinking and questioning in entering my thoughts.  I think it is positive.  For me, it represents a sense of mindfulness.  These questions represent not taking life’s events for granted.  It represents a sense of scripting out what I can and being proactive today, tomorrow, next week, month and year. 

Have you found that much of our adult lives are being reactive?

Reactive to family and work demands. Reactive to what needs to be done on a daily basis.  I think that is normal as we raise a family and try to establish ourselves professionally that we feel we are responding to life’s events rather than planning them out.  We don’t take as much time for ourselves and guide our events as much as we probably should.

I do find, in the last few years, that I don’t take much for granted.  Relationships, time, finances, health. I think that is good thing.

When I was younger, in my 30’s, 20’s and teenage years, I thought 55 years old was old. It was a beyond comprehension really.  When my Dad was 55, I was 28.  At 28, I was in the process of buying my first house and leaving school teaching for the world of sales and business.  My mind was not focused on how my dad viewed his life at 55, or much beyond building a foundation for myself and my spouse.

Even into my 40’s, I continued to focus on providing for my family and doing what needed to be done to strike a work life balance.

I think it was the passing of my family members that triggered the sense of vulnerability that comes as we age.   I was close to my Dad and in laws.  It hit me hard.  It took me a long time to recover, and not sure I have completely.  That was 3-4 years ago.

What does this mean?

I have come to the conclusion that I must work on myself daily.

Keep myself healthy, strong, positive and vibrant.  That process alone is one of the things I enjoy the most. Kind of like an athlete preparing for competition.  Except my competition is life.

I am a huge believer in being our own health and well being advocates. I think it is our responsibility to navigate what we can control around our environment and our mood.

I have received the reminders about how life is short, and how every day is a gift.  I don’t take that for granted.

For that, I feel blessed. 

55 years old today is not what it was 25 years ago.  It can be the age of retirement, but it is not for me at this point.  The workplace has changed so much. It feels like we have control over who we work with and what we do. That is empowering.

My spouse is starting a new career at 53.   I am going back to doing more and more coaching. I am starting to write more.

Years ago, I feel mid 50’s represented a time to wind down.

I don’t feel that way. I feel I am just getting started! 

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