Perhaps the most precious aspect of this day is that there is (as of yet) no claim on it. No rush to work, no appointments, not one thing due. I woke up slowly, made coffee, fed the animals, and sat down to read and listen to the morning news… leisurely. Luscious. Retirement, real retirement, beckons.
Clear to me is that with each dance around the sun, I appreciate quiet more. I cherish unstructured days and the luxury of rest. Unmistakably I am slowing down. Yesterday at breakfast with friends, I discovered that I can now (legit) order from the seniors’ menu. No joke.
So I feel a bit of a hypocrite as I pray for Justice Ginsberg’s health and stamina. She is 84, managing pancreatic cancer, and still daring to show up every day to be a voice of reason and justice in a world gone mad. Similarly Justice Anthony Kennedy was widely rumored to be retiring this year and the likes of actor Carl Reiner (in his 90s) decided to weigh in with an OpEd in the NYT pleading for Kennedy to hang on a while longer. Kennedy is only 81 and Reiner points out that he has years of good life ahead. Maybe so.
Oddly the news these days is filled with images of old white men leading this nation. Old is in, like, really old. Young in this administration is my age. Honestly I think this is kind of dangerous. Not only is there a time warp, the painful truth is that not only do our step slow, so too do our minds. While Ginsberg and Kennedy had enough going on to lose a few brain cells and still think circles around many a youngster, let’s face it – retirement is, for most of us, a good thing for both the recipient and the wider community.
What is also true about those of us who’ve been around the sun a few times is that we sometimes have less to lose by being honest and/or we are in positions in which we can finally speak our minds. With the vantage of perspective (if not wisdom) we actually do bring something unique and worthy to the table. And maybe some of that is also important in these perilous times.
Personally I believe that the keys to the kingdom should remain with younger peeps, but I recognize that the graciousness of this summer off-time is appropriately only temporary. In this critical time we must have all hands on deck, each tending to the next right thing in front of us. If we take it one step at a time, we can do this. At least for one more season.