Last week I sent the article link titled The Tail End to my siblings. I read this article years ago and wanted to revisit it. Once I read it, I wanted my long-distance siblings to read it and absorb the message as well.
The ‘tail end’ is used often enough to explain the end of something; a concert, a speech, a football game, a movie. I’ve heard it and used it many times. However, I never applied it to me.
The tail end of my life? I never really put me and my lifespan into the equation. What began as an novel idea has turned into an “in your face” fact. Four years has passed since Tim Urban wrote and published this in 2015 and since then many things have happened in my world. I am retired, I have a 2-year old granddaughter, my grandson is ten years old, my brother has died and so many other happy and sad life events have occurred. I am in the third of my life and more aware of my dear wonderful friend called ‘Time.’
I read the article and then reached for the phone to make a call to my friend, I texted my sister and sent a card to my aunt. I checked the airlines to see when I can visit my son and his family. I’ve jotted down a note to contact Sharon to set up a monthly date to connect. She and I have been friends since 1979 and we live 35 miles from each other. I last saw her in June. If I’m lucky I see her twice yearly and that’s not good enough. We don’t have the excuse of huge time commitments, airlines, hotels, car rentals, etc because we live down the highway from each other. What it takes is to put a date on the calendar and honor it. I have other friends who need to be on my calendar more often as well. I can make that happen.
I am happy to say my siblings find time to connect with me via video chat. We are able to have 5 of us chatting at the same time. It’s like being at the dinner table again. The topic is more about our grandchildren and their antics rather than us and our issues.
When our brother died two years ago, he found a way to bring us together even tighter than we were before. Hearing a song that he loved, a phrase he used to say, attending his daughter’s wedding and so many other memories keep us touching base. He is the fourth sibling that I’ve lost but he was the most special in so many ways. We were two years apart in age and our children were best friends growing up. His death took so much from us and in a way, left fertile ground for us to grow closer.
Being able to live in the same place as the people I love is a thing of beauty (there I am again, checking real estate options near my granddaughter…) and means I will get to spend much more time in the presence of those I love. However, living in the same area as my family and friends means nothing if I don’t reach out and connect with them. Sometimes it takes work to stay in touch but it’s so worth it.
I keep asking myself, what really matters?
You may have figured out that family means a lot to me. The ages 0-5 are the ones I adore the most. Children in this age range are innocent, inventive, wild and free at heart. Then they go to school and learn how to draw ‘in the lines’ and learn to spell correctly and become more regimented. But prior to attending school, they are genuine.
Friends matter too. And yet, I have to make sure I make those calls and stay in touch. It’s so easy to let time slip away without making the effort.
Eliminate the crap. Life is too short, time is elusive and we can only do so much. Right?
Spending time with people who I do not love, doing something that doesn’t bring me happiness and knowing that time is finite is the kick I need to focus on what I love above all else.
For me, in my tail end of life I plan to put another visit on my calendar to see my granddaughter. I can interact more readily with my grandson each day too.
My siblings will continue to see me on video as we connect in a way that was never possible a decade ago.
My local friends will benefit the most as I focus on setting up one-on-one time with them. I know they are busy and have families and all that jazz but they need me too. So, it’s time to pull out my calendar and make some calls.
Check out these links!
Waitbutwhy.com: The Tail End by Tim Urban
Death 101: Homework Assignment
Empty Bowl becomes a Friendship Bowl
A sense of optimism about humanity
People will never forget how you made them feel
6 thoughts on “The tail end of life: Why wait?”
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Wow, Marge. Your thoughts are right on. I love everything you said here. Every. Single. Sentence. Thank you.
Nice that you have found a niche in your retirement and keep things postive. Well done.
Thank you. I love this article and it makes me realize (once again) how precious our connections are and how limited.
Thanks Donna. You are my new hero! I’m so proud of you for taking such a huge year away and getting totally out of your comfort zone. Rock On, my friend!