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Monday, 27 June 2022

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Good one Michael. I'm about your age more or less exactly, and feel alike.

Reminds me of this TED Talk, which you may have seen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMHMOQ_054U

Hear! Hear!

Wonderful, made me really happy to read this and i am glad you are doing well. I am 56 and often think , that somehow i slipped midlife crisis. Not that there weren´t crises and depression, but thankfully i never forgot who i am, even in the most challenging moments. Sounds easy, but it isn´t. To set the focus on the bright side of life is harder than any olympus camera manual

I'm just months behind you in age, totally debt free (house has been paid off for 10 years), physically fit enough to pass my military fitness tests even after being out as long as I was in, over 22 years.

I want for nothing and look at twenty-somethings wondering how they're ever going to be in my position when they hit their 60s with the prices of everything going so high. Wouldn't trade places with them at this time; the stress would counter the extra longevity.

The only thing that bothers me and the one thing that I have long since given up on is that I know I'll die alone. I'd love to be in a relationship but I don't have another broken heart in me, so I quit trying.

Of all the things that keep a person healthy, being in a relationship is on every list of positive factors. So without that, I have to keep up with diet and exercise to counter the effect of being alone. Hey, at least I can buy new cameras and watches when ever I want.

In 1976 I met a women that I would quickly fall in love with. Then just as quickly I messed it up and I walked away. Now 45 years later the memory of her has been leaking out of that portion of the mind that locks away bad memories. And it's been freaking me out. To make matter worse I have NO photos. Do i look for her or just leave it be? I just don't know.

Well said young 'un.
It's all relative

It's gratitude, Mike. Most of us focused on what we didn't have/get when we were younger. Luck is the biggest single factor in life (how lucky we were even born, how cool is that!). Being grateful for that great, good luck is what makes us worthy of this rare gift.

At a year older, I can say it continues to be... an interesting ride. A lot of pretty negative things have happened in the past seven years, and yet one has to persevere, realize the blessings still left and just learn to carry on as best as one can. Death by a thousand cuts is not so much a form of torture as it is a fairly good description of what growing old is really like.

It's kinda nice not being (quite) as crazed as when younger; it's certainly a different world view knowing your days are numbered as opposed to living without ever giving it a serious thought. I see what's happened (health wise) to friends during the veritable minefield between 65 and 70, and it's definite thought for reflection as we rapidly approach society's last taboo... old age.

Meanwhile, ya try and make the most of what ya got left. As a photographer, I can honestly state that I really didn't start to see until I was sixty, despite trying for some forty years prior. As a human being, the progress is a bit more incremental. The best tonic, as ever- a sense of humor. Recently, after visiting my 93 year old mother at her nursing home, I heard the train pulling up to the subway stop. Instantly, I sprung into action to run up the stairs as I have countless times before. My body lurched forward from the waist up, my legs stayed put like molten lead. Never experienced that in my life- upper body, Reed Richards, lower half... Ben Grimm! Had to laugh and just be grateful that at 5pm, I had been walking since 10am.

Nice to hear, Mike. It's funny how the billiard game of life can carom you into a better place than you might otherwise have rolled on your own. I was concerned that you had been stranded in middle-of-nowhere, NY and might have floundered. But, instead, it seems you've really found a nice homeland. You've made friends and really settled into that community. Many would be envious.

Now when are you going to actually start to use that lumberyard-camera you bought last year to make some obligatory dreamy landscapes?

66 a bit over a month ago. I'm disappointed in my life, but I try to remember that in some very great ways I've been exceedingly lucky: 2 splendid daughters, wonderful, kind, and high achievers, and now one is a mom---a great new grandson and a wonderful son-in-law. A wife who stayed with me when she really shouldn't have; no big ilnesses for either of us, and at least she had a decent career. In baseball I'd be batting in the .700's.

With respect to what you read in that magazine: for me it wasn't so much "is this all there is?" moment for me, but the understanding that my personal career goals and dreams would not be achieved---a creeping understanding of a creeping extinguishment. Ah, well. Cue: September Song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUj5EX4b5Ig

I’ll soon be 70 and am both surprised and amazed. Wait, my father is 96 so... 70 isn’t amazing at all.

Good for you, Mike! That's a major accomplishment. So many people never get there.

Very nice insight into getting older. Thank you for sharing!

Hi Mike,

I feel much the same as you and think that I've figured out, for the most part, how to live with what I have. Sadly, I know quite a few people my age that haven't and keep repeating bad decisions.

Well said. Roger, 81.


I'm about 12 years ahead of you, but you've nailed many of my thoughts and realizations (maybe I'm 12 years further behind in my development).

Thank you for writing them out so well.

You're in a good place, Mike. Happy to hear it.

65½, huh? My nephews, now full grown, as boys managed to start the institution of the half birthday. They almost got what they wanted, (two birthdays a year each) but had to settle for cake, but no presents. : ]

Just a suggestion....

Good article - I really enjoyed it; it resonated with me.

I had a pretty good time from my mid-40s through to - well, about two-and-a-bit years ago. I left a job where I had got as far as I would get and was on a course to become one of those middle-managers that the brighter, younger people have to find a way around. I learned new skills, started new jobs, learned more new skills, and gained exposure to completely new work environments. I had a little wobble in my last year of work - I was ready to finish a year before I actually did - and then retired; at which time I developed the blogging I’d started earlier and (above all) I got to travel. Europe; North America; Asia - wonderful stuff.

I’ve found the last couple of years or so very hard - the pandemic has stopped me from doing the things I loved most. Even the blogging - it was a cruise blog, and of course cruising just stopped, world-wide. Above all, I’ve become very cautious, almost fearful. When Covid hit I was outraged at the thought that I was at high risk - I had always considered myself fit, healthy and strong. But the evidence of the increased danger that the virus presents to older people (I was 70 in early 2020) is incontrovertible. Worst of all, over the course of the pandemic I have accepted the messages, internalised them, and I’m finding it difficult to recover my confidence and optimism. All too often, all I can see are the things that might go wrong, and I convince myself that they will. Last winter was especially hard. Hopefully I’ll get back to a good place soon.

Mike

It's good to know that your mind is still active and thinking and capable of reflection.
What's life without a few worries? A friend once said that if a problem can be solved with money, then it's not really a problem.
Another friend said that one has not learned to live until one is ready to face mortality.

Dan K.

As an overseas observer of your countrymen, I've thought about many of you who live by hate. And the three Cs.

If every imagined difference were somehow resolved, there are still so many who can't adapt to change. So they blame others for them feeling like failing in life.

Which leads to the 3 Cs. Who has guns in your country? Cops. Criminals. And Cowards.

Where do your haters get all that energy to hate? It's a beautiful day outside. Can't we all just love each other instead?

I've got ten years on you, Mike (I'm 75) and I'm experiencing the same things you mention. I'm beginning to notice that my mind is not as sharp, yet my ability to recall names, facts and figures is as good as ever. I think. Provided I'm relaxed. I've long noticed that as soon as I'm under the slightest stress, talking to a doctor, for example, suddenly my mind goes blank. Once I'm out in the waiting room again, the names come back to me.

Like you, I count my lucky stars that my life is easy. I don't have age related diseases such as arthritis or vision or spinal problems (not a lot, anyway). I have no debts, not even credit cards, and I have the age pension. I don't need to worry about bills and I have enough to buy small luxuries (eg model trains).

My big regret is the loss of physical ability. I tire easily and can't walk far. I can't swim in the ocean any more, a big loss.

I can't contemplate travel any more either, so photography is off the table.

The final curtain is even closer for me too. It's strange how we can contemplate death with equanimity. I don't fear it, all I worry about is not leaving a burden to my siblings and friends. I'm trying very hard to document everything they need to know, and trying to de-clutter so they don't have to. It's not easy.

Finally, like you, I thought I had finally found my life partner, but after six years, she decided she just wants a peaceful life, so that's that. Off into the sunset.

Life's a bitch, then you die. So they say.

I start to learn quantum field theory in the last few weeks. I do not say I got all the maths and physics. But it is a great experience. I think when you are 60+ and the end is near, you are happy to know just that some of the thing you do not get (or know) you can still have one more go.

Last year it is meditation which for some reason I refuse to learn … but it is good.

Be like a child as a wise man has said. I think that lead to happiness. And guess that is why even though obi-wan is not that good as a tv series and a 10 year old kid help a lot. Even it is 50 year old green puppet it also helped.

Be like a child.

Good for you! Sounds like a nice retirement plan.

I'm still in the 'Is this all there is?' phase at 50. Which is weird enough considering I have just about accepted I'm over 30...

Thank you! Perfect. Just what I needed to read now. About a decade behind you BTW.

Hi Mike, thanks for the insights, and the comments it generated.

At about 20 years younger, I’m running up to all this. Noting that I started a family later than typical, about 6 years ago, so that lends a different perspective. And yet, my parents were of a similar age when they had children.

As my mum says, to keep at it as you age you need the 3 M’s: mobility, money and marbles (as in, brains).

And thanks to Jerry for the comment that it is gratitude - I was getting the sense of that from your blog, just not the word. Ahhh, so that’s why gratitude is important :~)

I might even have to add some books to the reading list.

Well, I’m 85 and not particularly thrilled by that fact.

The condensed version: the best years were between 44 and 65, when I had enough work to live a great life, with lots of free time - benefit of the calendar business - at the end of which period I had the first of two heart attacks, the second one a couple of years later. From 65 to 71 was still pretty good, and then my wife died. (We began our story in school: she 15 and I 17.)

After I lost her, I went back to photography and it covered the cracks in my life right up until a few months ago, when I realised that photography had genuinely meant a lot when it was my career, but had become a crutch, and nothing but a substitute. I had already been thinking of myself as one of those toys that continue to function when knocked over, still going through the motions whilst lying on their side…

The pandemic has hardly affected me, other than that I finally gave up the restaurant life and now make my own meals, with no desire to return to the former routine.

If there’s some kind of moral/attitude about aging, for me, it has been encapsulated by the lines from Jep Gambarella in the Italian film La Grande Bellezza: “The most important thing I discovered a few days after turning 65 is that I can’t waste time doing things I don’t want to do.”

Death: as long as there’s no pain, no mess for family to have to clean up, I see it as the last chance of finding my wife again. If she’s not there on the other side, then I will never know, so it doesn't matter.

It’s a lucky man who can figure life out before it’s over.

I've been reading your words since the eighties. I always assumed you were older than me, but now I find your half a year younger. Oh well...

I'm right behind you, as usual, celebrating 65.5 in late July. One birthday on Uranus (84 earth years plus a bit) has always been my goal, anything more is a gift. For that matter, so is today - guess I'd better go open it!

[You're a little ahead of me actually...my half birthday is Aug. 27. --Mike]

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