Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Golden Years

Have you ever thought ahead about those Golden Years people talk about? I believe most people consider the years once you hit age 60 to be the start of those Golden Years. I ways figured that when I reached the age to retire I would be able to enjoy those years, not having to work, or worry about finances, and doing some things that are fun and enjoyable.

One thing that I heard continually repeated while I was at the hospital with my father recently, and also in the surgeon's office was the remark about those "Golden Years". Too often the question was asked, "What happened to those golden years?" Most people said it jokingly, but I could tell from the many comments, and the sadness in some of their eyes, that many were also questioning it and wondering why they had so many health issues to contend with, now that they are older. They really were wondering why someone referred to this time in their lives as the golden years.

For people struggling with numerous health issues, it seems that these years are not so golden for them. Worry about their health, losing their vision, dealing with the loss of a spouse, and wondering how they will be able to manage on their own were just a few of the concerns people had. Many people were not financially carefree as they had hoped, and not able to enjoy this time in their lives for so many reasons. Some were still living on their own, and trying to remain independent, while others were dependent upon their children and families.

I can certainly understand their concerns when I see so many of the things they are struggling with. When your health is failing, when things seem to constantly be going wrong, when you can no longer do the things you used to be able to do. People do start to question what is happening in their lives. Is it any wonder? They are facing disabilities they never even thought they would have to worry about.

I am still in my 50's, and I wonder myself what sort of life I have to look forward to in my 'golden years' as I struggle already with the pain of fibromyalgia, and arthritis, and degeneration of disks in my back & neck, and the loss of cartilage in my knees and other areas, along with many other problems. My health is already a problem. While I am so far able to still do most things, I am struggling with the ability to do certain things. My pain and ability to do things seems to get worse instead of better.

I think about my family background as well. My mom was pretty crippled up with arthritis for many years. She had her back fused, her hips replaced, suffered with diabetic, heart problems and cancer. It was her heart that turned out to be the hardest on her.

My father has a family history of strokes, glaucoma, and cancer. He has actually done pretty well until the past few years when his kidneys failed and he had to go for dialysis, and now most recently the eye surgery.

I wonder who decided to call those retirement years golden years? I'm sure there must be some people out there who are actually enjoying those years, and getting out and traveling with no financial concerns or other concerns. I think that's amazing and wonderful for them. For the rest of the senior population, I am still wondering and questioning what I have heard many of them saying.


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