Growing Old is for the Old

Goals and Dreams

Without looking in the mirror, how old do you think you are? Ignoring my knees and reflection, I’m pretty sure I’m still in my 30’s. Pretty sad when your kids are older than you. 60 is the new 35 and I have a lot of living to do. My achy knees are merely a reminder that I better get moving. My story is far from finished and I have many chapters to write.

“I shall die very young … maybe seventy, maybe eighty, maybe ninety. But I shall be very young.” ~ Jeanne Moreau

How do you convince the sedentary over 55 crowd that exploring the world will make them grow young? Perhaps my mother’s example will help. Betty is chronologically 94. Having just completed her second tour of the Yukon, she has advised me we now need to plan a trip to Forres, one of Scotland’s oldest small towns, where she can revisit the birthplace of my oldest brother over 60 years ago during the war. Having Google Earthed the destination, it appears both hotel and hospital are just as well preserved as my mother. Death is way too busy picking off the old and isn’t concerned with Betty.

The earth is our gift and we should explore every corner during our time on it. So many surprises await, secrets to discover, people to laugh with, architecture and art yet to be seen and studied, and animals who would be delighted to meet you on their turf.

Do you settle each year for that timeshare in Palm Springs, the condo in Hawaii or PEI cottage rental? I know it’s easier. You don’t have to be concerned about where to buy necessities that you may need, getting lost, converting currency and of course those exorbitant travel insurance premiums. To sum it up, you avoid the dreaded, “What ifs…”

Do you surround yourself with people who destroy your vision with comments like, “You can’t do that. You’re too old.” or “That sounds like it would cost too much.” Most certainly the speaker of those words is telling you that they are afraid to do what you dare to do. Either that or they don’t want you spending their inheritance.

It’s time to write the book of you. What gets your heart beating? You can do anything!

Let your imagination be your guide! Sail on an elegant ship with a symphony, jazz or big band with gentlemen of a certain age provided to dance with the ladies | visit the gardens and landscapes that inspired Monet | tour the St Petersburg museum that houses the private collection of Faberge Eggs |travel aboard the Orient Express as if you were in the company of Hercule Poirot | witness the great migration from a hot air balloon | tee off at St Andrews | sail a masted ship in the Mediterranean |marvel at the polar bears from mere feet away | attend Spain’s Holy Week | share tea with your favourite author | wander the world’s greatest libraries | sail the waters of Chesapeake Bay | pay your respects to Dean Martin graveside |cruise the Nile |I could (and lucky for you) won’t go on.

Tell me, are you excited about tomorrow? Are you feeling the joy of planning your next adventure into the unknown? Is your story finished? Most of us still have places or things that are waiting patiently on dusty Bucket Lists. So I’m here to tell you, “What are you waiting for?”

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” Diane Ackerman (poet, naturalist and author of the bestselling book, The Zookeeper’s Wife)

No excuses. If you can climb into a Zodiac with the help of three able-bodied assistants, you can explore the polar regions. If you are not too proud to be carried by four strong gentlemen on a handheld litter, you can visit the gorillas of Rwanda. Or if you can step down from a train to be greeted by your guides, you can travel Europe.

This 100-year-old got a one week trip to Manitoba, including five nights in Churchill with NATURAL HABITAT ADVENTURES – photo courtesy Winnipeg Free Press

Dust off that Bucket List and go for it. You are NEVER too old. There is always a way, there are options and I hope you fulfill your dreams. Tell those naysayers to get out of the way and spend their inheritance.

Fear is a waste of time. I am a great believer in Fate. It will take me when and where it chooses. Until then, it will have to chase me as I intend to run very fast.

My mother is no fool and she knows she cannot travel everywhere. So she concentrates on where she can go. That’s the magic ticket. Betty is a very smart woman and has had a profound influence on my life. She once told me, “Wendy, you can clean your house but it will just get dirty again. Forget it and go do something exciting.” My kids can thank me for their healthy immune systems.



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