We remember our sea captain cousin once saying, “While we are making plans, life happens”. We don’t know if he was remembering an old John Lennon song or was paraphrasing an old Reader’s Digest article from the 50’s. What we do know is that just about ever time our family starts to make plans something unexpected seems to come along.
We know when we were young we made very few plans. We allowed life to just happen. One day we are a high school graduate from a New England school and the next day we are attending a university in southwestern United States, and before you knew it we are teaching in Alberta. None of this was planned it was just where life took us. As we grew older we began to make some plans for our future, but, one day we meet a young lady and life took over and our plans disappeared in her eyes.
Over the years we made a lot of plans, but then life would happen and suddenly there was a daughter and a son where once there was only us. Then before you knew it there were grandchildren and we were retired.
We do know that we need to plan ahead for the future, even now as a retired old codger we still make plans. The one thing we have learned however is that no matter what plans you have in mind life will somehow get involved and the trick is to be able to adapt your plans to the realities of life.
One of the new realities of life is that we “old” folk are becoming a much larger part of society and that as our numbers increase we are causing some major changes in society.
The first major change is that we are living longer than previous generations. When we were young the average life expectancy was about 67 years. That was only two years beyond when our Old Age Security kicked in. Today the average is over 80 years and increasing. Little wonder the government is raising the age for OAS to 67 before benefits will begin.
Teenagers are having a difficult time finding part time work. Its not because there aren’t any jobs, but because more and more of the jobs are being filled by senior citizens who have found part time work enjoyable and helps to fill in a possible shortage in income. Employees, like Walmart, take pride in hiring seniors. They have found us to be flexible in the hours we will work and to be dependable workers.
We remember a few years ago when our mother was 91 years old, her saying, “Tom, I’m getting old!” We would reply, “No, you are old, it’s me that’s getting old!” We would laugh and then get on with our day. Well Mom has been gone for the past three years and she never really did get old. Even as dementia took more of her away from us, she still wanted to know what day it was and what was the latest news and she had plans for every day. So kept on making plans and don’t worry about the plans life has for you. There isn’t much you can do about it but let it happen.