I have a confession: I hear the clock.
I just turned 67. I feel fine, just got a clean bill of health in my annual checkup. I’m mentally alert and a whole lot wiser than I’ve ever been before.
But now I hear the steady tick-tick-tick I never noticed until quite recently.
The older I get the more excited I become by the life all around me. After fifty years of chasing career goals I’m close enough to the finish line now that I’m free of constant pressure to keep moving. I can sit down and look back with satisfaction. I can glance ahead with few wants and no expectations.
I enjoy my work more than ever because I’m not trying to go someplace else.
We’re always told to live in the present but you can’t get there until you get there.
Now I really do smell the coffee and the roses. I’m learning to let go of the nonsense and enjoy what’s left.
CarolAnn and I share the little things in our lives with more joy than ever. I’m embarrassed to admit I find myself paying the kind of detailed attention to our dogs that I should have paid to our kids when they were little. I tried, I really did, but there was always the background hum of things that needed to be achieved away from home. Now that’s finally gone.
I wish my boys could be boys again. They’d have more of me than I gave them 30 years ago. Still, they love me and they get it. I just didn’t know any better. I was being who I had to be at the time.
“Regret is just a memory written on my brow, and there’s nothing I can do about it now.” – Song written by Beth Nielsen Chapman, sung by Willie Nelson
But now there’s that damned clock. It doesn’t bother me because I fear death, it bothers me because I have so much I want to do yet and I sort of kick myself for not getting up to speed before now.
I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, what difference would it make? Each achievement would have simply brought a new idea. I’ll never finish as long as I can find things to excite me. I get that and I’m grateful.
None of us know how much time is left on the clock. When it stops we’ll be right in the middle of something important. So, here’s what I think:
At 67 achieving goals is less important than having them.