LIVING THE LIFE I LOVE Dear Lucy: I just celebrated my 60th birthday. I think I am doing great for a 60-year-old woman. But when I act happy about it, I have friends who start talking about how old we are getting, how we can soon get our Social Security checks and stop working. They talk about all their aches and pains. I just don't think 60 is all that old anymore. What do you think? – SIXTY AND LOVING IT
Dear Sixty: Well for starters, any day above ground is a good day. Above ground means I still have an opportunity to make a difference, if only in my way of thinking. Sounds like you are a person who loves life no matter how old you may be. I am definitely with you on that.
In the United States, the average lifespan today is calculated at 78 years. For women, it is 80, for men 75. Now, I choose not to be a statistic and have declared that I shall live until I die. For me, dying means when I stop finding reasons to be joyful, grateful and useful. That means I don't listen to other folks' opinions about age unless they resonate with my own.
I have chosen not to opt in to SSI until age sixty-six to avoid the penalty of continuing to make money. I paid into the benefit and I intend to collect it. But I also know that it was never intended to provide a living wage upon retirement. It is just a supplement. I want to collect it and still be productive and rewarded for what I do as a worker.
It takes 60 years to be 60 and along with that comes a great deal of wisdom, knowledge and experience. I am very proud of all of this and so should anyone else who gets here. As a female, according to statistics, I could live another twenty years. My hindsight is twenty/twenty and I intend to use it to create the next 20 years or more doing what I finally know how to do. I finally know how to live with certainty and respect for my own wonderful self. And so do you! Don't let anybody take that away.
My mother used to describe what she called "po' mouthing." She would say stay away from folk who poor mouth. What does po' mouthing look like? It is speaking from a position of poverty. It's talking about what you don't have instead of what you do have. When we moan and groan all the time about aches and pains, no money, no friends, nobody taking care of us and all the poverty of spirit issues in our lives, we just bring in more of the same.
My mother also used to say people called her a "glad mouth." She would say that the best way to get the po' mouthers off the phone or out of your face was to be a glad mouther. She would make a habit of talking about the things that she was happy and grateful about. This way, she always had more to be happy and grateful for.
So, rock on my senior sisters and brothers. There is so much left for us to do in and for all of the lives we are blessed to touch...now until the day we die.
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)