My oldest son sent me a list of humorous sayings about growing old. “I’m retired-I was tired yesterday and I am tired again today.” “I’m not old, I’m chronologically gifted.” Or my personal favorite: “I’m so old I don’t buy green bananas anymore.”High school students were challenged to dress as senior adults. Of course, they came to school in hospital gowns, on walkers, and in wheelchairs. Unfortunately, for some senior adults with failing health that is the reality. For many with relatively good health the post retirement years can be the best years of all. I like to call those of us who fit that category: Semi-Seniors.
With more people than ever living to see their 90th birthday, what do we do with the extra 25 years we have been given post retirement? Some may choose a new hobby or volunteer activity. Others decide to take a risk and embark on a second career. At age 65, my late bloomer husband, Charles, and I formed our company, Consulting Aviation Services. He patented two inventions to change the flying characteristics of aircraft and during the past ten years, we have been testing those devices in wind tunnels and on various airplanes. Before the summer is over, we will travel to California to visit the Mojave Desert for an Air Force flight test and back to Maryland for more wind tunnel testing. I often ask myself what else could we be doing with these later years of our lives?
Aerospace engineering is Charles life’s work. His story of success and failure and perseverance in spite of challenging circumstances and motivated by his faith in God needs to be told. My interest in writing and his life’s work are about to merge as I start writing his memoir with the working title “Reaching for the Sky.” I will start the first draft of his book in a nice cool hotel room while he is hard at work in the desert heat at the Air Force base. His story will be a good companion to my memoir, “Born Three Times.”Oliver Wendall Holmes is attributed with the quote: “Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us.” It is a balancing act to grow old gracefully, but not fall into the stereotypes that others—even our own children—ascribe to us. It is much more difficult to challenge ourselves to take bold steps to make the last years of our lives the most interesting and meaningful of all.