A loud, urgent knocking came from our front door. My wife, Brown Eyes, certain our house was on fire hustled to respond. There was a fire of sorts, but it wasn’t a house or even ours. It was Brad and Brenda Fitzapiti from around the corner here in Palm Heights (elevation 14’).
Red faced, Brad said to me “I just talked to Sarah Caldwell. She says she came to talk with you about Interdependence and she left feeling so much more hopeful for herself. Whatever you poured her, I want a cup of that. I’m really afraid and I’m tired of it. I want the new bright life I anticipated when I retired.”
“After being retired for a year – at age 66 becoming a gourmet cook, taking up gardening and painting – I can’t get over the feeling I’m not doing enough to reinvent myself. I’m not bored but I’m not happy either. My father wouldn’t understand this at all. I think I’m more adaptable than he ever was. Am I nuts?”
Brown Eyes asked us what we’d like to drink. “Brad will take anything you’ve got that doesn’t have caffeine or alcohol,” Brenda responded, “I’ll take a cup of coffee and George wants his usual tea with lots of milk, please.” We sat in the family room.
Brad resumed, “My new bright life should have automatically arrived with our furniture when we moved here. I said goodbye to my old life already. I’m not used to feeling vaguely afraid and I don’t like it at all. Ok, I’m feeling relieved that I’ve gotten it out and want it to be your turn now.”
His breathing returned to a more normal pace. “No. It’s not George’s turn," Brenda interjected. “It’s mine! I love you. I want you to be happy. It won’t happen just because you keep yourself busy. Most of all I don’t want to be your new best friend and constant companion. I need a little space.”
“There is a pervasive myth out there,” I began, “that goes like this: The most successful among us between 50 and Elderly have totally reinvented themselves and are, in essence, different and fully renewed people with no doubts and total fulfillment. If you’ll look it up you’ll find Reinvention means: to invent again or anew, esp. without knowing that the invention already exists.”
“Who among us arrived here with no biography, expectations, or anxieties? Total Reinvention is another case of Baloney Language in which our thinking is fenced in by outdated words that don’t work for us any more Between 50 and Elderly AND we haven’t created the necessary new replacement language that will work for us. Other examples of outdated words are Retirement, Identity tied to chronological age, Elderly, and Aging.”
(To Be Continued...)
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Talk to you soon, George