Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 516(302) Time to Go

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

I've entitled  this episode, Time to Go.

We saw Bob Dylan in concert just a few years ago. Luckily he was paired with Mark Knopfler of Dire Straights fame. Bob Dylan's performance was sad to see. I'm not sure if he just had a bad night or he just didn't care, or if he has just lost it. He was a hero of my generation for so many years. His lyrics captured the emotions and thoughts of the sixities. He could write the lyrics and slide them out in such a natural, unpolished way. I don't think anyone ever call him slick. He is an American icon and now a Nobel Prize winner. But his time as performer seemed past if that show was an honest representation of ability. Mark Knopfler still has a great band and is still banging out great music. He saved the day.

Time is a universal leveler. Age has a way with all of us. We have our day in the sun and then it is over. We learn as children that we had best prepare for the future. That is what school and good parenting are all about. We try to prepared for all that life may throw at us. If we are lucky we will grow old and time will take it's toll.

However, no matter our preparation it is hard to let go. I remember seeing one of my  childhood star performers playing basketball in a small high school gym one cold winter night in Anchorage. Cazzie Russell was one of college basketball greats of the fifties and sixties out of the University of Michigan and then the New York Knicks. Then time took it's toll. He aged but he didn't stop playing. He was cut from the pros. He joined a small traveling team that played local teams across the country. When he came to Alaska the spring in his step was gone; no more bounce; no more speed. And no applause when he took the court. It was sad to see. The fans didn't recognize his name.

I recall reading a piece about the great Green Bay middle line-backer, Ray Nitschke the last time he took the field. He was put in for one series of plays late in a game that was already won or lost. No one applauded when he went into the game and no one applauded when he came out. It had to hurt. He had stayed too long.

I've seen teachers that stayed too long in the classroom. They drift along in a world of their own. Their minds are stuffed with information they would like to share with their students but they just can't seem to make the connection. They are dedicated but lost.

This is not a pleasant subject. We would like to stay active, vigorous and competent but it just doesn't happen. There are a few individuals that last a little longer than others at their post. They manage. But for the most part it would behoove us to prepare for a graceful exit. We don't need to leave at the top of our game but it might  be nice to move on before we become an embarrassment to ourselves and others.

Hanging up the keys to the car is another example of knowing when to hold them and when to fold them. We can't drive before a certain age because we are not yet deemed able and responsible enough. It is obvious that the same could be said on the the other end.

Living in the midst of a car culture this becomes very problematic for many. We see the car as a necessity. Of course, we all know that the it is not. Oh, I know, we can easily make a case that we need the car more than others for one reason or another. But let the car sit for a few days or a few weeks and see what happens? Life takes a turn. We take a bus, a cab, a bike, or catch a ride with someone just a bit younger. Life doesn't have to end because we quit driving a car.

I tell the story in another podcast of a woman whose life was enhanced when she gave up driving. She found people lining up to give her a ride. She spent time having lunch with new friends who volunteered to help. She found her children much more comfortable about their mother's needs being met. They didn't worry about her killing herself or someone else. Which reminds me of an untimely death that occurred just up the street from where I now sit. An older driver mistook the accelerator for the brake and killed a newly retired man at the corner. Ran right over him when he had the light and was in a crosswalk. I can see the spot from where I now sit. Better to give up the license early rather than too late.

Some of us make aging difficult by refusing to accept it. It is just as silly as when we are on the other end and irritate people by refusing to "grow up".

Bob Dylan had it right years ago when he penned the line .....

"Your  old road is

Rapidly agin'

Pease get out o the new one

If you can't lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin'

This is Retirement Talk.

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