She was tired. Just tired. Not depressed or upset or troubled. She was simply tired. The words that started the conversation were these, “You really can live just long enough.”
She’s 80 years old, living alone in a beautiful apartment in a retirement complex, talks about her kids and grandkids and how they visit and spend time with her. On the walls are photos of her husband and the times they spent together. She has a comfortable home, a content life, a great sense of humor and she is loved. Yet, she is tired and says she has “lived long enough”.
I’m processing through the conversation we had as she rested between physical therapy exercises. Her husband died a few years ago, her best friend died last fall and she watches neighbors come and go. She wants to pick up the phone and talk with her friends, but they’ve all passed away. She wants to play golf or travel the world as she once did, but those days are long gone. She plays cards with neighbors and gets out often with her family.
She has simply had enough of life.
As my own kids are growing and beginning to have lives of their own, as I’ve begun to hear about friends dying of things reserved for ‘older’ people and as my own body struggles to keep up with all I want to do, this conversation hits me in a though-provoking way. It makes me think of my own life and if I live to be 80 years old as she has.
What will I do with the second half of my life? How can I contribute to the lives of others? It makes me think of intergenerational friendships and how important they are. Do I spend enough time learning from those who ‘have been there’ and have so much to offer? Do I invest enough in those who have yet to walk the paths I’ve already walked? Can we really live ‘long enough’? What can I change today and how can I live every minute filling every day with significant contributions?