Growing Older: Reader Essay by Jeannette McCarthy

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2017

W2017_GrowingOlderJeanetteMcCarthy_Inline300 To quote one songwriter, “Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long.” At 71 I have more miles behind me than in front of me. But that is not a bad thought, because I have found that I now make more confident decisions. When the road needs to be under construction as a result of my or other family members’ health challenges, I am much better able to adapt. Why? Because with age comes the wisdom of knowing you need to proceed with caution, since there could be a curve ahead.

The curves cannot be predicted. It may be the need for you to take on extra responsibility to care for an aging parent or spouse or unexpected financial challenges. You may develop chronic health issues that need daily attention or your retirement dreams may need to be put on the back burner for longer than you wish. These types of challenges test your speed limits in life. Do you proceed with caution or go full speed ahead into unchartered territory? Your speed will not be determined by your body’s odometer but by your heart’s comfort level with what lies ahead.

With age, our intuition becomes a very powerful tool. I have found that there are three ways to go through any of life’s journeys: around them, over them, and through them. I have always chosen going directly through by being adaptable and keeping my eye on the end goal.

So, yes, life is an aging highway that can be fulfilling, challenging, changing, and exciting. Enjoy the ride!

- Jeanette McCarthy (A.L.A. ’74), Eden Prairie

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