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Story Archives: On turning 65: Get back up and finish the race
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|On turning 65: Get back up and finish the race|
I weighed in at nine pounds six ounces. I was a pretty big baby, but I did not grow much for the next 13 years. I stood four feet ten inches and weighed a whopping 92 pounds in the eighth grade. And yes, I was one of the starting halfbacks on the Lee Jr. High football team.
In March of 1958 the biggest trauma of my life happened. My father died. The reality that life was no longer "Father Knows Best", but more like today's televised reality shows. Real life had arrived. Life changed for all of us.
Trauma is a part of life. It does seem that some lives are more traumatized than others, but the worst things that you can do is to start comparing your life with others. As President John F. Kennedy once stated, "Who said life was fair?"
I do not know why we make such a big deal out of turning 65. I guess it is because 65 is the retirement age for many people in the United States. Does this mean that we are no longer valuable? The worst thing that we can do to ourselves is to conform to what this country expects of us at 65.
About the time we are getting a little sense and learning how to use some of our life knowledge, the government waves the white flag and we are to give up our daily routines. Now I can not complain because I stopped at age 62. I waited a long time to be able to do what I wanted to do every day. Retirement has been good to me. Aging has not.
What is it about age 65? What is the ingredient in our minds that throws a glitch in the system? The glitch of health problems. Two days before I was to retire I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. How did my body know? How many people have you known that had health problems soon after retirement? Other than prostate cancer, diabetes, skeletal problems, back surgery and immaculate degenerative disease, I am doing fine. If I went to all the doctors that I was supposed to see, I would have an appointment every day with some physician.
What is good about turning 65? I guess the main advantage is that I am still breathing. But what can I do at this magic age? I thought to myself the other day that I would spend most of my time with my grandchildren. Not a bad choice.
I think I have lived as if I am going to live to be 95. I have wasted so much of my time. No one knows how much time there is left in his life unless he has been given a death sentence by some terminal disease. I have found out that no matter what is going on, live each day as if it is the first day of the rest of your life.
If I measured my accomplishments during these 65 years, I have failed much more than I have succeeded. I will never be accused of not trying to give it my best, even when my best was not very good.
But at this time in my life, I am reminded of the poem, "The Race." It has not made any difference how many times that I have fallen; I have always gotten back up to finish the race. I am not finished yet. In fact, I fell down again yesterday, and the day before, but I got back up. That is my goal: to get back up and finish the race.
Robert Charles Payne is an inspirational writer who lives in West Monroe. He can be contacted by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.