When we grow old we learn not to sweat the small stuff. Many times things that once seemed so important aren’t as important as we season over time and gain wisdom. Our children are always the most important thing in our lives, however they grow lives of their own with our roles diminishing as they rise to be family leaders too.
We often hear ourselves saying things our parents said, our grandparents said, and even our teachers said as if just conjuring up the words of those before us brings a pleasant memory of times past. Plus they were right more often than they were wrong in all their advice sayings. Sadly we see sometimes the same mistakes being made over and over again generation to generation, yet somehow in the end things as a whole are getting better.
As we lose physical strength we gain wisdom to replace the brute force we once needed. Now slowly yet too rapidly we are beginning to lose friends and family to, as Lauren Bacall once said to me in an interview, “Time, that enemy of us all.” There are dear voices lost we can only hear in our mind. Yet there are still things to do. Books to write, places to go, much love to still be shared but as the saying goes we have had more yesterdays then we have tomorrows.
Many great things are accomplished later in life and we look forward to that, but on the other hand there is no longer a forty-year plan. I remember my dad laughing about his last real estate purchase in life, a penthouse condo at Island Dunes in Jensen Beach, Florida. He was in his late 60’s and would only live to be 75. He had just sold his modest winter home in Florida and out of the blue bought the condo on the ocean for himself and mom. He said to me, “Tom, I wanted to pay cash, but they talked me into a thirty-year fixed mortgage. They made me feel like I would live long enough to pay it off!”
This story doesn’t end there. After he died on Oct. 4, 1999 my mom went down to the place and sold it. She said, “I don’t want to live alone in Florida while my family is up in New York.” She literally sold the place including closing on it within two weeks. I believe she doubled the price they bought it for. I thought she made an error. However that next summer in the year 2000, the eye of two hurricanes crossed over the property filling the building with sand up to the second floor.
We all have such stories. We all have had successes we are proud of along with a few embarrassing moments. In some cases we have had some total failures and tragedies. If we are lucky we still live each day in the basking glow of love along with the ability to give love to others. As for me so far, it’s been a good life after all.