Bobbi Fisher, Age 77
I’m old. Not in the physical ways of a person age 77, but I’m old in years, and that very fact guides the sense of meaning that I feel and experience in my life. Put succinctly, more and more my age is becoming the filter through which I lead my life. Now that I’ve said that, let me go on to say that I continue to live fully.
I’ve had a rich life. Wonderful parents, great husband for 54 years, two children, four grandchildren. My teaching career was rewarding; I published six books for teachers describing my experiences as a kindergarten and first grade teacher. When I retired I earned a divinity degree and became the spiritual care counselor for a local hospice.
I ask myself if now I am really retired. Well, yes and no. Yes, in that I have more free and unscheduled time to satisfy my longing for silence, solitude and simplicity, which I blog about in www.acottagebythesea.net and more time to attend to my spiritual life, which I blog about in www.aprayerdiary.net. I have more time to spend with family and friends, to help at my church, to read for pleasure, to travel, and to write.
No, I am not retired because, as I just described, I still have purpose. For most of my life this quest for meaning was unconscious, but as my 80th birthday looms just two years away, I notice I am more conscious of, and at times less certain of, what I am doing here on the planet. And yet, I know that with purpose I am able to accept physical changes, acknowledge new ways of being and doing, and embrace my ending as it comes ever more vividly into view.
As a person who looks to the future, I’ve had to adjust my purpose to fit the limited number of years ahead of me. My mom lived to be 101 years of age. I was 71. A few years before she died, we talked about what she could do to be helpful now that she was limited physically.
“Well,” she told me, “I can always smile at people.”
She filled her life with meaning right up to the end.
Thanks, Mom. As I wrote in “Very Grateful: The Story of My Hundred Year Old Mother And Me,” I, too, am very grateful.