Ages and Stages

Two big milestones are coming up in my family. My mother is turning 70 and my father is retiring. Both are fun loving, healthy people who embrace life to its fullest, although both are a little wary of these milestones.

My mother isn’t one to be defined by her age, but she also doesn’t particularly like to be confronted by it. It’s not surprising, since 70 sounds much older than she appears or acts or feels.  So no, she doesn’t like the sound of this birthday, but we will celebrate it, nevertheless. Because life is worth celebrating, a lesson I happened to learn from my parents.

Which brings me to my father. To a large extent, his profession, psychology, has defined who he is. Closing his practice, even if he has no plans to sit still, seems entirely foreign to him. He’s excited to have the chance to do new and different things, yet he’s just not sure what his life will be like or how his days or weeks or months will be structured. That’s a scary feeling. As a psychologist, he could give you great advice on how to handle and enjoy this transitional moment in your life. Whether he can advise himself is another question.

So will we celebrate the retirement? I hope so, because my parents also taught me that achievement is worth celebrating.

No one is going to feel bad for a healthy, happy couple celebrating birthdays and retirement, nor should they. Nevertheless, it’s an emotional time for my parents and I’m glad they have each other to lean on as they figure out how the next chapter in their lives should play out. They’re lucky. And they know it.

The chance to have one person who understands you and is there for you, in good times and bad but most important, during all the in-between times, makes going on that next blind date worth it, don’t you think?

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