As a baby boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
— C. S. Lewis
This C. S. Lewis quote is such a true statement and words to live by. I have achieved things after my 60th year that I imagined could never happen for me past 30. Not true. As long as you are breathing there is time to do what you want or at least pursue that dream.
I was prompted by someone asking if I had only three months to live, how would I spend them? This is a really good question. Would I change anything from the way I am spending my time now? Would I want to do more or less?
No Bucket List
Actually, I have no bucket list of places I want to see or famous people I want to meet (besides Jesus), so going somewhere or doing something for me is really not what I would spend my last days and weeks pursuing. I don’t have money for travel and even if cost were no option, I still wouldn’t spend my last months going around the world.
What I would do would be to work toward spending quality time with each of the family and friends I will be leaving behind. I’m sure it would not be about what I want but about what I want them to have from me. My time is my most valuable possession and that is what I want to give freely.
There are some in my family who are mad at me for whatever reason, however, I have no grudges or bones to pick with anyone. If they like me, great. If they hate me, I’m sorry but I have no control over that. What I do have control over is how I act toward them. I want to see each and every one, hug their necks and tell them how much I love them before I run out of time. I want to ask forgiveness for wrongs I have committed while there is time to do so. Wouldn’t you?
Make Video Messages
After spending time with my loved ones, I know I would work on video messages that would express my deepest love and blessings to each of the family closest to my heart. I know the thought of not seeing my grandchildren graduate from high school or college would weigh on me. What message would I give to each of my grandchildren when they wed? Besides a hug and kiss, what would I like for them to know? These are things I would put into special videos that I could record ahead of time and leave for them to play at a later date. My love for them and my good wishes would live beyond me in the form of video messages. It is such a little thing that would take so little time and effort but could mean so much for those I love most.
Leave Something Significant
My dear artist friend passed away a couple of years ago and I will never forget his final years. He knew he had cancer and that he wanted to leave something special for each of his children and grandchildren. He fought valiantly and at one point we thought he had been victorious against the dragon but it came back. During that time, he painted a special portrait of each of the grandchildren and his children. He even painted a couple of portraits of himself and his wife to leave for them. I tear up thinking of the special gift he left them. No one could paint like him and those portraits will be cherished heirlooms for generations to come. They were beautiful and each stroke of the brush was infused with love and well wishes. It is a loving selfless gift for posterity.
That is what I would spend my last months working on. Besides my time I want my children and grandchildren to each have a special gift of my art to take with them into the years of the future where I cannot go. I know there will come a time when I will stop and they will go on without me. I want them to have a little more than my DNA to take with them.
Art For Posterity
After work for each of my children and grandchildren, I want to spend a little time finishing pieces of art that can be sold and left for future art lovers. The keepsakes and heirlooms, I feel sure my family will not want to sell, so there should be work that I can give them for their own use: to keep or to sell as an inheritance. I have no money to leave them, no stocks, no bonds, no real estate. But I do have my talent and what can be done with it. I can leave something that proves I did more than take up space and use up air. Whether or not it sells or ever will is not really up to me. Making it and making it with as much passion and talent as I can muster is. Once I am gone, the art will probably increase in value and that is a good thought for my family’s sake.
Those things previously mentioned will be enough to keep me busy for three months, but if there is time left, I do want to finish the many projects I have on the backburner. I have been working on a series of craft books called the Paper House Models books. There are 17 in the series because I created one paper model house pattern for every state in the United States, 50 in all, and divided them up into regions. There are 3 or 4 houses per book in the regions of the Northeast States, Southern States, Midwest States, and the Western States. It has been quite a project and taken years to get this far. I hope to get those all finished and self-published.
Along with those I have been working on several children’s books that are in various stages of completion. Some are so close to finished that I only have to create the cover and put it all together. Others are still in the sketching stage, where the characters are still being fleshed out. I love them all and want to complete them but if my time were really limited I would probably concentrate on the ones already so close that they can be done right away. Then I could put my mind and effort to others and who knows, I may be able to finish one or two of those also.
Light A Fire
Typically a book from beginning to end takes between a year and two to complete. If my time were truly limited, it may light a fire under me to get more done than ever before.
What would you do if you had only three months left to live? Would you visit places you always wanted to see? Would you learn new things? Would you see museums you always meant to visit? Would you hug those you loved even if they weren’t talking to you? Would you bury the hatchet and forgive those who have wronged you or carry the bitterness to the grave? What would you do if you knew you had only three months left to do and say what you always meant to say and do?