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Keep on keeping on

When I turned 65 and qualified for social security and Medicare, it felt as depressing as the day I turned 30. To a 20-something, hitting the big 3-0 meant you were over the hill. аBut 65? I felt positively ancient. It was even more jarring when my financial planner asked me how much longer I planned to work.а I hadn’t given it much thought. Truth is, I had no end date in mind. But for the sake of argument … and financial planning … I said, “Seventy?”

Note the question mark. There were a bunch of conflicting feelings knocking around in me as I pondered her question. Retirement? Who thought up that idea anyway? It brought up images of queuing for five o’clock senior specials and weekly bingo. I wasn’t ready for that.а On the other hand, if I’d had the magic $1 million in retirement stashed away, the idea of not having to work would have been enticing. Imagine being able to chuck it all and do something else like … аWell, I hadn’t given that much thought either, as I saw myself working for the foreseeable future just to maintain the level of independence that was, and still is, so important to me. So, when will I stop working? Not going to happen, unless I win the Powerball. Of course, I need to buy tickets first.

When I hit 75, my financial planner raised that same old question again.а “Not yet,” I said, fingers crossed behind my back.

Now, here I am at the 77-year mark and realizing I’m mere years away from 80. аDamn. It’s really not that far off. And I still have no answer. The best one I can come up with is that as long as my brain and body hold out, and clients are still willing, I’ll just keep on keeping on.

Speaking of brain and body.

Do I need to tell you that I sometimes have to search for the occasional word that used to pop out of my brain on demand? аFor a writer, this can be frustrating and disconcerting. That’s why I love the online Thesaurus. Let me not get into forgetting where I put the car keys, or why I’m standing in front of the open refrigerator.

Wisdom is also supposed to come with age and experience, but these days it’s becoming a challenge to be discerning and not easily snookered with the onslaught of scams, alternative facts and fake news that proliferate by the minute. For oldsters, it’s important to keep your brain in working order by staying sharp and engaged. It’s also a form of self-protection. Seniors too often fall victim to increasingly sophisticated scam artists, whether it’s someone trying to rip you off through phone or online cons, or politicians trying to take away your social security and Medicare. Some of us are fighting back. And we’re not so narrowly focused that we can’t get pissed off about political actions that are threatening to disenfranchise so many vulnerable people in the wider community. I’m too disheartened to list them here. You know what they are. Just remember, old folks vote, and we’re not stupid.

Now onto the body.

I’m doing my best to be a well maintained vintage car and not an old wreck ready for the scrap yard. This body doesn’t have all the latest enhancements of computer controlled, self-driving and –parking, collision-avoiding cars like the Tesla.а (I test drove my neighbor’s Tesla and yes, it’s “awesome.”) So it’s up to me to follow a good maintenance program for the body I have. I gave up on heavy-duty weight training and hard-core aerobics a long time ago, and now get my fix with tai chi, chi gung and yoga. I’m managing to keep my joints fairly well oiled, my limbs and body pretty flexible, and my muscles in acceptably good shape. Of course, stuff wears out. There’s the annoyance of having to yell, “I can’t hear you!” to the person in the next room.а I hate to say it, but hearing aids may be in my future.

On balance, and considering my age, the brain and body are doing just fine, thank you very much. So, forget retirement. I’ll just keep on keeping on until I stop. Or drop.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday to me!

а

Keep on keeping on.

Is there another option?

Can’t imagine one.

ай Maya Leland 2014