What Are You Doing With The Rest Of Your Life?
This question reminded me of the song. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?
I think prior to November 2019, the title question would have been easily answered by most people around the world to varying degrees. Now, with the first truly global pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak wreaking havoc in most countries around the world, life’s journeys for many people have changed dramatically.
The life journeys of my wife and I are mainly in the rearview mirror as we are now in our seventies, but fate willing, we may still have more of a road to travel. We had planned to spend much of 2020 with our two sons, helping with their home and garden chores and spending time with the grandchildren by babysitting, teaching them silly games, drawing, reading books, and having the enjoyment of watching them grow and develop. Covid put an end to much of that.
We had also planned to spend time with our daughter who lives in the Columbia Valley foothills of the Rocky Mountains, an area of the country we really enjoy and want to explore more. We were also making tentative plans for some overseas travel to connect with family and friends and also visit a few countries still on our bucket list and perhaps, take a trip or two across the country. Locally; enjoy some music festivals and concerts, take in a few football games and tennis matches, and spend idle time at the beach, reading and contemplating. Basically, enjoying each other’s company with long walks and some hiking. Covid struck much of those plans down.
I personally had plans to work on a couple of books I have been writing on and off, more off than on. Will I get them written? If the COVID virus variants appear in the spring as is being forecast and vaccination rollout is slower than promised, maybe I will.
This brings me to my personal life journey so far. Having lived for over three-quarters of a century and having outlived a number of friends, I am beginning to ponder what next experiences and opportunities my life journey will be offering — and how much longer I have here. My family genetics are quite good. My mother lived to the grand old age of 98 with no indication of dementia or Alzheimers. My maternal grandmother lived to age 97. There is longevity on both my mother’s and father’s side with a few exceptions caused by accidents, war, and diseases for which there was no treatment at the time. From examining my family tree, which is documented back thirteen generations, and using this online calculator, it seems I could live to my mid-90s.
My journey to date has been quite straightforward. After completing high school, I learned a trade, left home, traveled, had a number of adventures, some good some bad, settled in Canada, met a lovely lady, got married, bought a house, help raise three great kids, traveled as a family extensively, started and ran several businesses and am now semi-retired with three healthy adults children, two great daughters-in-law, and two lovely grandkids and a third on the way.
Now being a grandparent, I have been pondering on the following: We are born. We live. We die. In between the born and die event, is our life.
This got me thinking about the creation process we all go through. Around nine months before birth, we do not exist. Sure, the sperm is there. And so is the egg. Both in two different people, however, until they met each other and carry out the act of sexual intercourse, we do not exist. Then suddenly we do. I think that incident alone is an amazing fact of life. From that singular point, we began to exist as an entity. We begin our life’s journey. Then, around nine months later we are born. Generally speaking, we are born with a mother and a father who for the first year of our life are the foremost people in our existence. Around the age of one, we begin becoming mobile.
We learn to crawl and explore and then learn to walk. By year two, we begin figuring things out and are extraordinarily curious. We become aware there are other people around us other than our mom and dad; family friends, maybe four grandparents, some aunts, and uncles, and maybe some cousins.
Also around the age of two, we begin realizing we have fingers and toes. We have a tongue. We began making sounds and putting some words together. By around 30 months, give, or take we began to string words together and begin creating meaningful sentences. We begin communicating. We are on our way.
The above I have garnered from watching my first grandson from the day he was born. Every day is a learning experience for him and from watching him and his unbridled enthusiasm for this new world he has entered, it is a learning experience for me as well, all part of my life’s journey.
Where to now? The new reality created by COVID 19 has caused my wife and I to place all plans for the remaining part of life’s journey on hold. We are unable to visit two our grandkids for now and in the foreseeable future. Being in the age group “at-risk”, we have to be very careful of who we “bubble” with when the date arrives permitting us to conjoin bubbles. Forget about air travel. If anyone thought that post 9/11 air travel security was a pain in the whatsit, wait until the various governments get through with risk mitigation with the COVID virus hanging around, possibly with new variants arriving in 2021 and beyond. Cruises? Not a chance. One epidemiologist made the comment: “Cruise ships are floating Petrie dishes”.
This paradigm shift we are now experiencing has altered the future for millions if not billions of people around the globe. Planned life journeys have now had to be accommodated by the world’s new reality. How will you handle this new reality? If you are young or old, how do you see your life journey evolving? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Do you think nature is giving humans a nudge in the ribs? Are humans venturing down a one-way road?
The above are just a few questions I have. You will have more I am sure. Obviously, if you are a “senior”, your questions will be different from a young person beginning a career or a family. Whatever the case, the life journey for most people now will have changed forever.
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My direct email is firstname.lastname@example.org