Back in 2014, I wrote a piece called “Letter to Myself at 16” for the Sun Lakes Splash. I began to get a lot of comments about it from my friends and neighbors. It was basically a letter from my current age at the time (59) to my much younger self.
The catalyst for it was the release of a book at the time called Dear Me which basically had celebrities of the day doing much the same. If I were to break down my own “letter,” about 75% was in a serious vein, and the other 25% my weak attempt at topical humor.
This week, I opened the New York Times Book Review to find an essay by author Ann Napolitano where she describes that starting at the age of 14, she wrote a letter to her future self to be opened 10 years in the future. Then at 24 she wrote a letter to her 34-year-old self and so on. The differences in what she wanted for herself and her worries for her future at those 10-year intervals are both cute and telling with a gradual acceptance of what she predicted and wanted to where her life is today as she got older.
Obviously, I’m a little late to that letter-writing party, but this boomer who is approaching another benchmark age of 65 (anybody know of a good Medicare supplement plan?) wondered what he would write to his older self.
I’m not going to push the envelope, so I’ll stay within her guidelines and address it to my (hopefully) 75-year-old self. Just the thought of typing that gives me pause, but here goes.
Whatever grand plans I had for my future and what it would bring has boiled down to one overwhelming thing… good health.
Oh, I’m not being fatalistic or dealing with a life-threatening medical issue (been there, done that in our past), but I am being realistic. Too many of my same-age peers have passed on or are dealing with chronic health problems that, while maybe not life threatening, have certainly affected their quality of life, no small thing.
After your own dances with the Grim Reaper, your health at this point is actually pretty stable, but you do have some things that already bear watching at 65, and it sometimes scares me to wonder how you, my 75-year-old self, will be coping with them. I mean, I try to exercise every day now, but I hope you can still do that when we’re at the age when you will open this letter.
I’m not trying to be a downer. Retirement has been wonderful. You have traveled all over, enjoyed yourself, and I feel we certainly relished life. I hope that in the time between writing this letter and when you open it that we will have added more life experiences.
In this interim, I promise to you, my older self, that I’ll do all I can do in my power so that when we have our 75th birthday, we’ll be of sound mind and an age-appropriate body.
See you then (fingers crossed), Brian
Brian Curry is a long-time Long Island Advance columnist and a three-time winner of the New York Press Association’s “Column of the Year.” You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.