When to Begin?

“Time is tearing past us like giddy greyhounds,” says Anne Lamott, whose words are so true, especially for us senior citizens. Most of our lives are two-thirds, three-fourths, or seven-eighths over.

We don’t have a lot of time left to ponder the meaning of life, or significantly retrofit our relationships with spouses and family members, or tackle that project we always meant to do. So, let me boldly ask you:

When are you going to get it?

What the “it” refers to is up to you. For me, it’s being kinder to my body. That’s hard to post here, and I don’t want to dwell on the specifics. What I will try to do is pose questions that may create a spark to get you thinking about what you might be putting off doing, or saying, or thinking about, or changing.

Today’s post is about us. It’s not about “them” or what “they’re” going to do about it, or how “those folks over there” are going to make it better (or make it go away). It’s up to us — as individuals — to take stock. And, when is that going to happen?

When are you going to get smarter, bolder, more self-confident, less afraid, more compassionate, or just plain unwilling to let it all slip away? When are you going to recover from life in order to make the most of the rest of your life? Don’t you owe it to yourself to do your best in the final push?

I hear lots of elders complaining about being invisible as they age, but never doing anything to become more visible, like taking a stand. When did complaining become our way of life?

Businesses contemplate these questions all the time, especially in their marketing efforts:  Where are we today? Where do we want to be tomorrow, and how are we going to get there? That sort of strategic thinking isn’t so present in the typical retiree’s everyday life. Years ago I made a concerted effort to let go of deadlines like where and when, but I still regularly ask myself these important questions:  Who do I want to be? How do I want to live?

It’s good to relax — imperative, I believe — but at the risk of not getting done some things we always meant to do later, it’s a good idea to revisit these questions and see if there’s something lingering on the periphery of our consciousness. I’d really hate to look back at the end and regret that which went unfinished … to know I didn’t make the effort for something that was important to me and/or others.

Is there unfinished business? What are you going to do about it and, most importantly, when?

Hopefully my words will support and comfort you as well as give you a tiny wake-up call, a little kick in the tush to remember those giddy greyhounds, nipping at your heels, whispering as they close in: “What is that thing and when, WHEN! are you going to do something about it?

Don’t let it be a crisis that motivates you into action. Don’t let unhappiness or criticism — either self-inflicted or piled on by others — be the reason you continue to ignore that thing that will make you happy when it comes to fruition.

T.S. Elliott refers to “the still point of the turning world” in his glorious poem “Four Quartets.” I’m going to start now to make sure my issue isn’t the still point of the turning world. Will you join me?


Contact Antonia at  Antonia@TheJoyofAgingGratefully.com