I remember my father telling me different times to do things while I still could. That always made sense to me. Most of my career was spent working in long-term care. I saw elderly people that could no longer care for themselves independently, never mind be able to do all the physical things they used to do. On a more personal level, I watched my parents do less as they aged.
One time, when my father was in his 80’s, he told me something slightly different. He said to do things while I still wanted to. I didn’t really understand what he meant. I was in my 40’s at the time and I couldn’t imagine ever not wanting to do the things that I wanted to do.
Fast forward about 20 years, and I’m beginning to understand what he meant. There are things that I always liked doing, or wanted to do, that just don’t seem that important now.
Some things, like hobbies or certain genres of books, don’t interest me that much anymore. It’s not that I’ve necessarily “out-grown” them, but maybe just moved on from them, or lost interest, or replaced them with new interests. I think that is probably normal.
There are other things, though, that I can imagine at some point might not be worth the effort, or the stress, of doing. Those things I feel I need to do now while I still want to, because I won’t if it reaches the point when it’s no longer worth the effort.
For me, a good example is travel. I have always loved to travel and have always wanted to travel to new places and have new experiences. My husband and I have done quite a bit of travel, although the pandemic put quite a dent in our plans. I still want to travel, but I don’t have the same level of desire. If something happened and I couldn’t travel, it wouldn’t bother me as much as it would have a decade ago.
I think part of that might be related to the pandemic. I found that I could be a hermit if I had to. Social distancing was not an issue for me. Home became a sanctuary. I think I appreciated staying at home more than I did before.
I think part of it, too, is getting older. I question more whether the stress of doing something, like travel, is worth it. So far the answer has been that yes, it is worth it. But I can see that the time might come when the answer is no, it’s not worth the stress.
My plan is to continue to do as much travel as I can, while I can and while I still want to. Because once I can’t, or don’t want to, then I won’t. And I think part of me would regret not having the experiences that I could have had.
What about you? Are there things you want to do? I’d recommend finding a way to do them as soon as possible. You never know how soon you might not be able to or might not want to.
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