Thoughts on Aging and Stuff

My youngest child, my baby boy, is entering the last exam week of his college career.  My middle child turned 30 this week, which means that more than half of my children have  entered “real adulthood,” and today my oldest grandchild is turning 14 making him eligible to take driver’s education in just six short months. If you combine these events with the fact that our total number of grandchildren is passing into the double-digit zone this summer, you will understand why aging has been on my mind lately.  I am SO old!

Add all of this to the fact that it is May.  May, for teachers, parents, and grandparents tends to make December look like a leisurely walk through the proverbial park.  If you are a teacher, parent, AND grandparent, well,…I’ll just let you imagine.  Because of this, I currently have about twelve hours worth of grading in my briefcase and a great deal of planning to do as well.  Getting anything done at school is impossible this time of year.  So, of course, here I sit writing a blog post.  I feel the need to process.  I’m tired.

Last week we had a meeting about our retirement program.  Retirement…such a lovely word, really, but completely out of reach for me.  At the moment my retirement account contains less than I make in a year.  If you know anything about teachers’ salaries, you will know that this is bad–very bad.  I feel broke.

Feeling broke and tired I am used to.  I raised five children in a parsonage after all.  It’s the “old thing” to which I am trying to adjust.  At the aforementioned meeting, I sat across from our biology teacher.  As we were filling out necessary paper work, she mentioned an article she had recently read asserting that children born today can expect to live to be 120 years old.  We chatted a bit about what that would do to the whole concept of retirement.  Sixty-five would only be middle age.  Will there even be jobs available for young people who graduate from college at the comparatively infantile age of twenty-one?

While I have a hard time imagining that this is actually going to happen, it has been interesting to think about.  How different might the lives of my grandchildren be when they reach my ripe old age of 57?  As I thought about this, I began to realize that things have already  changed drastically.  I well remember my own grandmothers in their 50’s and 60’s.  They wore house dresses, support hose, and orthopedic shoes; and both of them, after raising their families, were working at the local hospital–one as an EKG tech and the other in food services.  We would often go and pick them up from work when we went for a visit so that they didn’t have to ride the bus home. A big trip for them was to Pittsburgh. I do not own, and doubt if I could purchase, a house dress.  I wear compression socks and running shoes, went back to teaching in my early 40’s and took my family with me. I drive myself back and forth to work in my lovely little Honda. Most years, I get to go on the senior trip to Italy. Times have changed and life is still good.

There are some pretty awful things going on in the world right now, but when I look back on my own childhood, at what my grandmothers were seeing on the evening news–race riots, anti-war demonstrations, assassinations, political scandals, and the threat of thermonuclear war, I realize that all times are full of trouble.  The bottom line is that Jesus knows, He loves, cares for, and watches over us.  He is always good.  He will care for me as I age, take care of my needs, watch over my children and grandkids. He is with me to the finish–and beyond.  Life is actually pretty good,..AND it’s Saturday! It’s time for my weekly long run!  Ciao!

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