Enjoy this segment of your life

Life is very poignant. But, on the other hand, life also can be fascinating and fun.
It’s up to us to choose!
Part of what makes life so poignant is all the change we have to endure by the time we are “this side of 60” or “this side of 80.”
It’s very hard sometimes to give up the past, but we must. Otherwise, we’re always grieving for what we’ve left behind instead of living in the present.
But if we can learn to see our lives in sequential segments–each phase building on the previous phase–then we can enjoy the now.
When my mother was only 42, her mother died suddenly. It was very hard for my mother to let go, and she was jealous of friends who still had their mothers.
Then, she told me about how her mother had grieved her mother.
So early on, I resolved to stop the cycle. I said to myself, I’m going to enjoy my mother while she’s here and not miss her when she’s gone.
It was easier said than done, but that conscious decision helped me move on when the time came.
The same principle applies with lesser things.
When our children were young, we loved tenting. But when they were in junior high and high school, we owned a camping trailer and took an extensive East Coast trip to look up our roots.
We visited the important historical sites of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Then we went to eastern Pennsylvania to look up the roots of our Mennonite heritage and see where my husband’s ancestors lived in the early 1700s.
From there, we visited upstate New York where I grew up and where my ancestors are buried.
What a trip! But that was the last time we travelled in our camper. Later, we stayed in motels and now fly to our destinations.
Our memories make us nostalgic. But life goes on, and unless we let go of the previous phase, we cannot welcome the new.
All this musing began because I was thinking about my lifetime speaking career.
As a very young woman, I told flannelgraph children’s stories. Then in college, I took second place in an oratorical contest with a speech titled “Tomorrow,” which had a theme similar to this column!
That was followed by programs of humorous readings. And much later, illustrated speeches about “Sex Roles in the Comics”–based on my thesis when I graduated with a Master’s degree in communications at age 53.
Then came my final round of speeches on “Successful Aging.”
I often asked audiences, “How many of you want to live to 100?”
I was shocked how few people said “Yes.” For many, the answer was a flat out “No!” Others had all kinds of stipulations – if I have good health, all my mental faculties and friends.
That’s a given! Who, at any age, wants to live without those things?
I, for one, always have known I wanted to live as long as possible and have a fun life like my grandmother, who always lived in the present.
How about you? Before you answer, though, remember this segment of life is the part you have left and resolve to make the most of every second!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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