Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I’ve Lots to Do if the Lard’ll Spare Me

A few weeks ago, Paddy Maloney, one of the founding members of the musical group, The Chieftains, was on the CBS news show, Sunday Morning. The interviewer, half in jest, asked the seventy-three year old what he wanted to do in his next twenty-five years. But Paddy’s answer, given in that melodic lilt only the Irish can pull off, was serious.

“I’ve got lots to do if the Lard’ll spare me.”

I don’t know when I started counting down the days until my indubitable demise. I think I was in my mid forties. Until then, I was too busy with babies and marriage and putting food on the table to think about what I wanted to do with my own life apart from family. When I was forty-five, I remember thinking I was just fifteen years away from thirty, which wasn’t so bad, was it? Then I realized I was also a mere fifteen years away from sixty, which horrified me

Now at sixty-two, I wonder how many good years I have left. Like Paddy, I’ve lots still to do and so little time left to do it. I didn't know there was such a thing as a mid-late-life crisis, but I'm there. Do I keep working until I stroke out at my desk trying to save for the rainy day I may not live long enough to see, or do I commit to that dogged yet somewhat debilitated leap of faith to see where life takes me next? The older I get, the more careful I become, less amenable to taking a risk as my heart is willing but I don't quite trust the less-malleable brain or the abused body.

And what if I really don't have anything else to offer once my paycheck days are over? What if I'm relegated to what I once was without any opportunity to see what I still can be?

I guess if Paddy can still dream at seventy-three, I too can garner the courage to scan my horizon for an interesting and worthwhile future.

That's if the Lard'll spare me.

14 comments:

Celia said...

Do it. I just made 70 and thought what now, maybe 20 years left if I'm lucky. This month I'm trying to think what new to do, maybe start a new art project after more years of semi-idling there. Use my camera more, see new places even if they are only 100 miles from home. Paddy is right, time to think about today not those years that will speed by.

Stephen Hayes said...

I'm close to you in age, and just a few months ago I started something new and scary--blogging. I've never regretting taking chances on something new, but I have regretted opportunities I didn't have the courage to grasp. Life isn't a rehearsal--go for it!

Birdie said...

Even though I am only 41 my advice would be to get out there are enjoy every moment. My mom retired and was diagnosed with cancer 3 months later. I don't think anyone should wait until tomorrow to do do all the things they want to do. Maybe you don't have to make a choice between the two extremes of working and not working. I say work how much you need to enjoy life then get out there and do it. :-)

Linda Myers said...

When I started my blog two years ago I was in exactly the same place as you. That's why I was afraid I'd be a bag lady. Didn't happen. There are so many opportunities to say yes!

cile said...

Thanks for bringing this subject up, Marcia. Knowing how hard it is for off spring to even think about the passing of their parents, it is difficult to share what is ALWAYS on an aging parent's minds. It could be part of the conversation to help us appreciate what we have. I think often that I probably will not be alive to see the eyes of my Great Grandchildren and I keep these thoughts to myself for fear of upsetting my children or being accused of emotional extortion. Indeed, if the Lard'll allow it...until then I live as I can with what I can give and today I am thankful for what you give.

LC said...

What if I'm relegated to what I once was without any opportunity to see what I still can be?

Heavens, I think you have you have hit me upside the head! Which was kind of sneaky since from your title I thought this might be humorous suggestions of surviving and living well in spite of an aging metabolism that is adding pounds. I guess there is still a connection to the jump to my original conclusion in that I now must chew on whether or not the goals I set for my retirement were too simple and indicative of a severe lack of imagination, ambition or both!

Just left Marietta today and left my copy of your book with the wonderful daughter-in-law and mother of my four grands. Hope they like it and learn. I did.

And finally, I so enjoyed your commenters on this post!

Anna said...

I had a bad year last year. Work was awful, then 2 friends died of pancreatic cancer within one month of each other just before Christmas. My mother died in January and my mother in law died in March.

I retired at 55 from a job I used to love but had loathed for the last 3 years. I found part time work that invigorates me.

Being semi-retired is very enjoyable as long as I plan to structure my time and expenditures. Overall, I am much happier.

Good Luck

Olga said...

Oh, the Lard hasn't spared me a bit--sitting right there on my hips. Whoops, maybe I misread something? Oh, but it's not about the money...it's about the satisfaction from a life well lived.

MaryB said...

Love it - you express the confusion so well. Since my retirement has been so positive, you've inspired me. I just started a blog regarding the subject. Hope to post it soon.

MerCyn said...

At some point in life you should take chances and opt for change or you may never get the opportunity. I will be 62 this year, quit my full-time job two years ago. Now have new part-time career and a lot of new activities and opportunities. Go for it...

ygbsmgc said...

This one hit close to home. I find as I get older I want to do more things, but realize that there isn't much sand left in the top of the hourglass. I guess I need to prioritize and go for it before all the sand is gone.

Friko said...

Here's a mantra for you:

Age seasons me,
Gives me zest,
I am a sage in the making.

"I wonder how many good years I have left"????
Who cares, so long as they're good. And that, old girl, is entirely up to you, the Lard willing.

joared said...

Lardy me! At 62 you're just barely over half way thru life. You've got at least another 38 years. You may not move quite as fast for a few of those years, but stay curious and they'll be interesting. You never know when you may slow down, or others in your life will slow you down, so make the most of your time -- especially in the next 15 years.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I like the comment made by Stephen -- life isn't a dress rehearsal. How true that statement is! -- barbara