What It Means To Be 85.
As I turn 85 today, I recognize that many friends and acquaintances have passed away. It’s not easy, but you get used to these losses at this age.
Physically, I recognize that I can't do everything that I used to. Sometimes, I don’t know my limits until I’ve surpassed them. I used to hike 7 miles uphill pretty easily pre-Covid, but now I better eat my Wheaties if I’m going to climb 3 or 4 miles.
Mentally, I recognize that I am not as sharp as I used to be and can't remember names and nouns as well as in the past. If I see you at MEA (I love coming to the Baja campus), don’t take it personally if I don’t remember your name.
Financially, I have no problems as I have saved and planned for the future, yet I see some who have not saved for their retirement who have huge problems. This may become a bigger issue as we live longer. I feel lucky.
But what’s most important is that I am at peace with myself, as I know that I have lived a very complete life and left the world with strong descendants who will make it a better place for all. Chip cites Erik Erikson’s statement that “I am what survives me” and I think that’s a great way to describe one’s legacy.
Halfway through my 80s with my wife Fran also turning 85 in four months, I think we could summarize this decade of our lives as follows: you physically and mentally decline, but your spirit and passion continues and is as curious as ever. So your spirit takes over and keeps you asking questions and seeking answers. This is what brings us “joy of life.”
Steve Conley is Chip’s dad and has been to MEA multiple times and loves discovering the Baja backroads with Chip. He turns 85 today!