This past year is the first year I have felt old. I’ve had plenty of aches and pains before and felt fatigue, of course, but feeling old is much more than just all that. It’s attention grabbing. It gets in your head. It’s a state of mind. I am thinking about aging and all that it encompasses much more than ever before. And it is a bit daunting, I must admit.
Don’t get me wrong. I am NOT old. Not yet, anyway. But I have one foot in the ring. I know that, too. I feel that. I have entered the playoffs. I didn’t think ‘old’ would actually register until I hit the BIG 7-0 but, at 68, I now have the feeling. A smidge early, I guess, but I am there.
Getting this far was a wild card chance given my history but I made it and I am in. I figure to get through the quarter finals (my 70’s) and maybe make the semi’s (my eighties). With luck, I’ll emerge at the end of 2038 in good enough shape to hit the finals with most of my team (body) intact. I’ll play for the championship cup (urn) in my 90’s. But I will get there – like all good athletes – one day at a time, giving 110% and relying heavily on the date that brung me.
But, geez…………doesn’t 2038 sound like a long ways off?
So, what has age got to do with it, anyway? Well, first off, we (I) am not as ‘driven’ as I was. Not in any way. Time can pass without me stressing about it much anymore. I am good with sitting. I am good with NOT getting things done. I had no idea I could be so good at that and so quickly, too, but I obviously adjust well. And I am now comfortably content with sloth. So, sue me.
And that may actually happen. I have promised a lot of people a bathroom for the guest cabin by next summer. And I intend to keep that promise. Honest. I also have to finish the greenhouse before I break all the glass and I intend to do that, too. Plus there are myriad other, minor things that have to be done not the least important of which is cobbling a working 250cc dirt bike from the two ‘parts’ bikes I picked up. My agenda is full, my expectations are high and my goals are still within grasp.
But I’d be a liar if I didn’t sense their increasing rather than decreasing distance. That greenhouse feels as far away as it did last spring. The cabin bathroom is definitely further away. I am actually a little closer to some of the lesser projects but, overall, I think I am feeling a bit stalled, I feel a bit of slippage, some sliding back….
I gotta get moving again. Mind you, winter always does this. Spring puts something back. Keep a happy thought, eh?
But – again – what has all that to do with off the grid? Well, it is weird. It really is. The older I get the more I want to do. Or, rather, wish I could. The more wonderful some things now seem. I know that I am not going to do them but I would like to. Maybe it is the freeing of the mind to dream when you know in your heart that becoming a rock star is finally not an option or becoming the prime minister is pretty much ruled out.
Alright! COMPLETELY RULED OUT!
Maybe it is being eliminated from so many contests that makes you appreciate them. I don’t know. But I do appreciate everything much more. That is for sure. Getting old is really getting much more appreciative of what life you have left.
And getting off the grid is related. Most people get off the grid by going to their cabin. They have to retire to do that. Most retirement means stepping back. Slowing down. So most of the off the grid lifestyle change is usually about slowing down. Typically.
It wasn’t for us. We retired early and when we did, we cranked it up to build the cabin. We learned and grew and developed and built and we did so with gusto. We retired but we weren’t retiring, if you know what I mean. Our going off the grid actually sped us up for a bit. It was an acceleration and intensity set amidst the beauty of nature and at a pace we pretty much determined so it was not just a rustic version of a different rat race. It was a lifestyle change. Like it was intended. But it was not slow. Not in the beginning. Not the first three or five years. But it has been slowing down since I turned 60 or 61…or even 62.
I am probably six years into the slowing. And only now acknowledging it. It is a different view from here, I can assure you. Einstein was right: time is relative to the speed of light. What he didn’t tell us was that, if you are sensitive, you can determine that at slower speeds as you get older.