I need a new set of things to look forward to.
Little girls everywhere make lists of the things they want in the future. Among them you might find a life partner and some babies, perhaps a career or a hair colour is thrown in there. But after the kids are made and the career is found, we look up and realize that there is nothing new on the horizon to work towards. Slightly older girls perhaps forget to make new lists.
On our first date, my husband rested his chin as he drove on an outstretched arm draped over the steering wheel. Something I’ve seen him do a thousand times since. But in that moment as I watched him driving, I saw our lives flash forward 40 years. We were 70, driving down a country road together. It wasn’t the kind of little girl’s wish that has her trying out a boy’s last name all over her grade school notebooks. It seemed to be a vision, clear as day, of two people far ahead in the future. Comfortable, happy, settled, kings and queens of the lives they had made together.
Two children and many years later, I still look forward to growing older next to my husband. We chose each other because we worked well together. We also play well together. And if God is willing, we will get the great gift of aging together.
Earlier this month I posted on the idea of mid-life crisis and the idea that it is just the realization that life is not going to get easier. Although I didn’t come right out and say I was having one – I think it is obvious there are all sorts of changes going on for us right now. Do I need a name for it? Not really. Do I think it is crisis? Not quite. Do I need to know that I’m not alone? Absolutely!
So digging a little deeper, a friend and I discovered the idea that what is really missing during these ‘later years’ is something to look forward to. We all wake up one day and realize we’re not getting any younger, our bodies aren’t capable of doing what they used to and the lives we saw for ourselves perhaps aren’t exactly as we’d hoped. But isn’t that beside the point? None of that should mean there’s no more fun ahead. It just means the set of things you had your eye on are already accomplished or took a different turn for better or worse.
So here’s a list of things I am really looking forward to. Can you tell me yours? Let’s bring this age thing on with a celebration and a new page in our grade school notebook. What kind of dreams can we chase now that we’re working with a different deck of cards?
Things to Look Forward To
1. Touring around country roads with my hubby (preferably with a canoe on the roof and a coffee in the cup holder). Perhaps on our way to visit our grown children.
2. Giggling about nothing and everything with my friend Liisa for many more decades to come. Getting to know new friends. Holding court with the old.
3. My fiftieth birthday party (I had an eighties dress-up and dance party for my fortieth and virtually materialized a time machine with all of the retro-fun that was going on).
4. Grandchildren. Will my dear children bring new life into this world or raise small people they will call their own? If so, I hope to be around to see this.
5. Finally losing that 20 pounds I’ve been meaning to lose for 25 years now. Okay, honestly? Perhaps I should start looking forward to not giving a flying goat’s turd what I weigh anymore – how about that?
6. Being able to wear unmatched, ill-fitted, brightly coloured clothes without anyone giving a hoot (including me). Apparently only crazy old ladies can do this despite my best attempts to get away with it over the last decade.
7. Being forgiven for not being able to keep track of things. Oh, it’s just old age, I’ll say.
8. Showing my daughter her beauty as she grows into a woman. In the words of Tina Fey: it is damage, not the beauty that attracts the creepy soccer coach’s eye.
9. Showing my son how to respect and show gratitude for everything a woman is. Basically find out how my husband’s mother taught him.
10. Sitting on the couch, increasingly more every year, watching great movies or doing crossword puzzles, cuddling with furry critters, eating excellent snacks.
What I look forward to the most is looking back on a life and knowing with my full heart that I lived it the very best I knew how in every moment. I raised those kids with everything I had. I gave that farm its due diligence. I was a good daughter. An excellent wife. A fine sister. A consistent friend. Even when things were hard or the road got bumpy, I want to know that I embraced it all. Why wouldn't I look into the future with the same lens?
Bring in the crazy, old lady. She and I have a lot to look forward to!
How about you? What are some of the things that you can’t wait to do with your 70 year old self?