Don’t Postpone Joy

It’s the Fourth of July weekend, and I’m haunted by the vintage sign observed at my village’s craft fair/ parade/ “Taste of” combo holiday event: Don’t Postpone Joy.  As an aging services professional, I am almost too aware of the brevity of the average  lifespan.  I surely don’t need extra “signs” to send telepathic messages. This was different though, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it for a few reasons:

1) The Great Recession has pretty much pirated everyone’s joy these last two years. Even if you are experiencing full employment in your household, it’s difficult to enjoy when a family member, friend, or colleague is out of work, exhausting  their savings and crushed by monthly bills they can’t pay. Bad news abounds, and joy is hard to find – let alone postpone.

2) When I received  my graduate degree in gerontology in my early 40s, it seemed like “old age” was pretty far off for me. I believed I would help others with issues related to aging.  Now, nearly fifteen years later, I am inching closer to becoming the client rather than the provider. The message on that sign really resonates with me, especially on a gorgeous summer weekend in Chicago. So much to do, so little time. Winters are harsh here, and thus, summer is celebrated every day and in every possible way; Fourth of July is almost a religious holiday in Chicago.

If you believe the mortality stats – and you should – you quickly realize that everyone who experiences 80 total summers is fortunate and has beaten the odds. POW! That’s a wake-up call, especially for this born-and-raised Chicagoan. I can almost physically feel this summer slipping by, and I feel the need to walk along Lake Michigan a whole lot more, dine alfresco (rooftop preferred) at least once a week, attend a concert in the park at Ravinia at least once during this summer, drink mojitos on our patio more . . .

I am not sure what all this actually means, but I do know one thing: life truly is too short! Even if you outsmart absolutely everyone and live to be 100, it’s not enough time.

What is your “joy?”

Happy 4th . . .

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