Brenda’s Blog – January 12, 2021
“Fred, I am turning 80 and I want you to tell me what I need to be thinking about.”
Dad was completing his 80s as his friend Ed Yates asked that question. Their friendship of at least 50 years consisted of common interests, relationships, faith, and eagerness to learn. Neither stopped searching until their last breath – literally. Ed and Gloria were the last non-family members to visit with Dad before he began his transition to heaven. As 2020 was closing Ed completed his assignment and went home to Jesus.
His question serves as a prod for me, as well. What did Dad say?
1) Make longer plans. If you start operating short-term you are giving yourself permission to die. He and Mom bought carpeting in their 80s with a 25 year warranty. Don’t shortcut your goals.
2) Be clear about your uniqueness and be a taskmaster managing the use of your gifts. Don’t allow other people to spend your time or energy because both are diminishing resources.
3) Invest your time, don’t spend it. Choose carefully so that you receive dividends, not pile up debts.
4) Leaving a legacy, not an estate is a better aim.
5) Work to create a relationship with kids where they love you, but don’t need you. Don’t establish a golden chain that ties them to you through financial support that they can’t sustain independently.
6) Be grateful. When the time comes be “delightfully dependent,” not a miserable old man.
7) Don’t make a junkyard of your old age by making foolish decisions. Guard your heart and mind.
8) Mature spiritually. Getting old doesn’t automatically make you spiritual. In fact, illness and incapacity can war against spiritual peace. Deliberately grow in grace and being “useful to the Master.”
There were more, but these bear an indelible mark.
I think of those coming behind me who are stepping into the next decade. Wouldn’t it be good for us who are farther along to construct answers in case they ask: what do I need for my 50s, 60s 70s?