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By Beckye Randall
Talk of the Town 

The realities of aging

 


My husband turned 65 on Sunday. Medicare age. How did that happen?

It seems like just a few years ago that he was loading up his backpack for a five-day hiking adventure with our son. Climbing around, sure-footed, on our steep roof as he nailed on the shingles. Donning that hideous pale blue leisure suit for a night of dancing.

Of course we all age. I’ve been adding the years right alongside him, although I haven’t hit that 65-year milestone yet. But it’s looming in the not-too-distant future.

I always assumed that by the time we hit this ripe old age, our lives would be pretty much in the “slowdown” phase. Settled. Comfortable.

Like many other Baby Boomers, we’re coming to grips with the reality of the economy. In the aftermath of the financial meltdown that’s being called the Great Recession, many of us are faced with more working years, less leisure time, hard choices about retirement and jobs and housing.

According to the AARP, most Boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—plan to continue working past retirement age, with a majority indicating they’ll “work until they drop.” The retirement lifestyle of our parents and grandparents seems to be vanishing from mainstream American culture.

Of course, the other side of that coin is that we are, on the whole, more active and healthier than those earlier generations. At the age of 65, my grandmother was practically bed-ridden and my grandfather relied on a walker to get around. They needed help with everyday activities—cleaning the house, laundry, cooking. On my husband’s 65th birthday, he mowed our acre of lawn, weed-whacked the encroaching vegetation and helped spread gravel at a neighborhood work party. Not bad for an old man.

We’ll have many more birthdays to celebrate, and eventually he and I will settle into some form of retirement. Maybe it will be less comfortable than we had hoped, but as we’ve grown older, we’ve also learned to adjust to life’s realities.

As the saying goes, growing older is tough…but it sure beats the altern

 

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