Here’s my conundrum of the week. As many of you who have been reading my posts over the past year and a half know, my parents moved to be near me when they were 80 and 76. It truly was a blessing to have “adult” time with them to get to know them as people, rather than as my parents. We were lucky to have a number of really healthy years before they became more dependent on my help. During those years I’d ask my mom a lot of questions about her life at whatever age/stage I was in, and she’d answer truthfully. She’s been gone more than three years, yet I think about her quite often. Each day, as I mature, I recognize new perspectives about what she taught me. I miss her love, wisdom, and — truth be told — her making me crazy.
I referenced having more free time in my last post. I’m in a new life stage: peri-retirement. [Note: I was so proud of making that term up as I was writing. Then I googled it. Oh well.] According to Investopedia, peri-retirement is:
“A term for the period of time leading up to actual retirement. Peri-retirement is marked by the planning phase of retirement, in which an individual determines his or her financial readiness.”
Well, actually, I think peri-retirement is about a lot more than just financial readiness planning.
I’d like to ask my Mom about it. I wonder what her emotional reaction to peri-retirement was, if she had one. Did she understand the concept of “slowing down” around age 60? Did she slow down? Did she start to think then about where she and my Dad would retire? Or, did it happen earlier or later than 60? Did she want to continue to work, or was she glad not to have to?
I honestly never remember my mom complaining about aging, or bad diagnoses (2 separate cancers in her lifetime), or not being able to do what she once did. The only references I can remember her making were not about her state, but rather her marveling aloud on occasion about my physical and emotional strength.
I actively understood at the time just how lucky I was to be able to ask Mom questions about life stages she had experienced (and survived). What I realized this past weekend is, some of the questions I’d love to hear her answers to, hadn’t yet occurred to me.
Here I am in peri-retirement but I actively want to work! I like contributing, solving problems, and being productive. Honestly, it makes me feel good. I’d like to know what questions my Mom would ask me at this stage, and how, based on her own experiences, she would counsel me to proceed.
So for those of you who are lucky enough to still have your Mom or Dad around as a resource, just go ahead and ask those random or important questions you’d value their opinions or past experience on. Maybe even try to look ahead to what you think you’d like to know in the future. Perhaps ask, “what’s the most important thing you learned when you were in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, etc.?” Keep learning and growing yourself, and keep learning from your Mom (and Dad) for as long as you can. You really will miss it when you no longer have the opportunity!
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