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.
Now in our seventies, the life journeys of my wife and I are mainly in the rearview mirror. However, looking ahead on what remains of our journey together, we had planned to spend this upcoming summer helping with our grandchildren; babysitting, teaching them silly games, drawing, reading books, and having the enjoyment of watching them grow and develop. We had also planned to spend time with our daughter who lives in the Columbia Valley in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, an area of the country we really enjoy and want to explore more. We were 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. I 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 reappears in the fall as is being forecast and more lockdowns are initiated, then maybe I will.
Which brings me to my personal life journey. 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.
What do the remains of my life journey have in store for me should I live that long?
My life journey to date has been quite straight forward. 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.
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 did not exist. Sure, the sperm was there. And so was the egg. Both in two different people, However, until they met each other and conceived, generally through the act of sexual intercourse, we did not exist. Then suddenly we did. I think that incident alone is an amazing fact of life. From that singular point, we began to exist as an entity. We began our life’s journey. Then, around nine months later we were born. Generally speaking, we were born with a mother and a father who for the first year of our life were the foremost people in our existence. Around the age of one, we began becoming mobile.
We learned to crawl and explore and then learned to walk. By year two, we began figuring things out and were extraordinarily curious. We became aware there were other people around us other than our mom and dad; our mom and dad’s family friends, maybe four grandparents, some aunts, and uncles, and maybe some cousins.
Also around the age of two, we began 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 began creating meaningful sentences. We began communicating. We were 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 our grandkids for now and 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 a new wave due to arrive in the northern hemisphere fall of 2020. 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.
Post Image Credit: mcneilifestories.com