When my friend, Elaine, was soon going to turn 90, she gave me all her books on bridge as a gift. I was in my early 50’s at the time. When I told her that I almost never play cards, she talked at length about the importance of planning now for later.
Elaine has broken barriers and led a fascinating life, from running a modeling school to helping in the development of the original IBM office computers. She is sharp and passionate and on top of world events. She performed as a tap dancer until relatively recently. And she has made countless friends playing bridge.
While all of her volunteer and leisure activities have kept her moving and interested later in life, she needed to give many of them up as her body changed. Bridge faithfully carried her through the later years and gave her a way to socialize, keep dates on the calendar, and keep her mentally sharp.
I still have not taken up bridge, but Elaine's urging got me thinking about how I want to plan and live my third chapter. It's fabulous how our generation pursues passions for broad, active pursuits like skiing, walking the El Camino de Santiago in Spain or a beach in the tropics, playing soccer, going to the gym, or golfing on all the great courses. What comes after that?
Variety and Balance
We are invited to be intentional in our planning to incorporate the versatility and variety in our lives that will help us adapt to a change in health, should we need it. It doesn't have to be done out of a hand-wringing, pessimistic 'what if?' place. And it certainly is not an invitation to be less active simply because of our age! We all hope that we won't need to radically slow down as life goes on, but the fact is that will be true for over half of us. What would be a satisfying fallback for you?
Our bodies and minds love balance. As we are planning ahead, our natures lead us to living out of our natural preferences. We will tend toward either mostly active or quiet pursuits, extroverted or introverted activities, working with our hands and bodies or working with our minds. Committing to a balance of activities that let us explore the opposite of our inclinations is actually helpful for the brain. Additionally, we will more often find a deeper growth edge doing things we don't normally do.
Questions for Reflection:
Ruth Tongen helps people plan and live meaningful, fun and healthier retirements.