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“Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

For the most part I try to ignore that fact that I’m 66. I can’t believe that life has passed so quickly and even seems to be speeding up. Nevertheless, I respect my age, and eat even more healthfully, get all regular physical examinations, and do yoga regularly to keep my joints in good condition. I also listen to my body: when it says stop, I do. I try to avoid “dangerous” situations like working on ladders, that might end in a broken part. I’ve learned from observing others older than me, that serious injury or illness can take a greater toll the older one gets.

I loved the movie “The Bucket List”, and I’ve begun to make one myself including those things first that take more energy and physical stamina. I can’t count the times in my life I’ve said, “one year we have to go to Spain… or Italy… or one of those cool European river cruises. Now is the time — can’t put it off much longer!

We’re also getting serious (I think it’s real this time) about selling “the family home” largely because of the work our one acre demands. Actually I’m looking forward to that — there just two of us in a large house, bigger than we need — and it would be fun to think like a couple again, and get something we want.

Retirement is about starting new patterns of life, about doing things you’ve always thought about trying, and being adventurous, too. The more older people challenge themselves mentally, keep trying to learn new things, and keep active physically, the better the quality of life they can live.

Watching the new generation of our family grow is also very rewarding. We’re active grandparents and enjoy spending time with the grandkids, but enjoy the freedom of not being tied to the daily care of children anymore. We miss having the activity of children around, and when we go on vacation, we’re keenly aware of how much fun family vacations used to be when there were six of us together.

I like the freedom of being my age: I don’t have to worry about a lot of things that used  bother me. I’m content with being me and still looking forward to the future.