The golden years...Decision making...

A chicken and her chicks.
"Sightings on the Beach in Bali"

The flowing river winding to the sea on a sunny morning.
It may appear as if our daily lives consist entirely of lazy admiration of our exquisite surroundings and idle contemplation for the future. However, its much more complex than it seems. 

The wheels are always turning while the fingers fly across the keyboards, not only in preparing each post which usually takes the first half of each day, but also in considering what is yet to come.

A pig, pink and dirty, we found while on a walk.
Its not only the consideration of our future bookings; arranging flights, visas, overnight hotel stays between flights, baggage restrictions, transportation, cruises, cruise fares and itineraries it's in ensuring we have a good idea of what we'd like the future to hold beyond our furthest planned booking.

In reality, its a lot of work, in which long stretches of idle play may leave us with a need to "get crackin."  Oh, don't get me wrong, we don't mind the work commensurate with planning for the future. 

Long road we walked.
In fact, we enjoy most of it.  At the end of any stretch of "work" lies the prize...a stay in a new location, the onset of a new adventure and the extension of our desire to experience as much of the world as we choose.

No doubt, this first and only second stay in Bali was the exception.  We had two months to fill between the recent Mekong River Cruise and the upcoming 33 night cruise circumventing Australia beginning in a paltry 25 days.  Why not return to this glorious location when it was relatively easy to fly to Bali and the price was right in the off-season? 

Sure, there's the 8 to 10 hours on the harrowing round trip drive from Denpasar to the villa and back.  Although, we could have easily spent a similar amount of time between and on flights to other locations had we chosen to do so.

Locals use motorbikes for hauling whatever they can attach.
Nor does this mean we'll never make a return trip to a favorite location.  We may, sometime down the road.  Its not as if we're making a reality TV show whereby its required to visit so many countries in so many weeks, months or years. 

We're blessed with the sublime joy of doing this exactly as we choose.  That's a twist.  So much of our old lives was predicated by a preconceived expectation of what we "should be doing" as opposed to the current "want to be doing."  How refreshing is that, albeit ultimately rather self serving?

Who's to say we can't engage in a lifestyle befitting our personal goals and dreams to achieve the ultimate sense of freedom and exploration.  Over the years we've often heard comments about how a senior shouldn't watch so much TV, sit quietly alone in their home, spend time online, or go to the casino three times a week. 

The scary path to the buffaloes Tom encountered.
After spending a lifetime raising a family, working for a living, taking care of others, us old timers can do whatever it takes to make us happy, as long as its legal and doesn't impose upon others. 

Doesn't warning healthy seniors about poor diet, a few too many cocktails (of course, not driving afterward) and a few too many doughnuts, fall on deaf ears.  Didn't we earn the right to make our own choices?  Besides at 70, 80 or 90 years old, is a dietary change really going to impact the quality of their lives when taking away certain foods they desire only causes emotional distress?  Doesn't that stress in itself have a negative impact on life?

Sure, I've chosen a dietary path that aids greatly in my health.  But no one made me do it.  Alone, I made the decision and its served me well.  On the other hand, Tom has recently come to accept that food is better-than-medicine and continually eating starches, sugars and carbs has a deleterious effect on his health.  Its a personal choice.

Homes in the area are often built with more durable cement blocks.
Certainly there are those of ill health and less mental clarity that may require the guidance from family and professionals.  But, the majority of us are capable of making our own decisions on how we'd like to spend our "golden years."

Doesn't that expression imply what it says, "golden years," not dark and dreary decision-less decades of feeling pushed into doing what others perceive we should be doing in our old age?

How easy it was to tell our aging parents what they should have been doing.  Looking back now with the knowledge we've gleaned from these past years of traveling the world with an ultimate sense of freedom, we may have felt differently about how we tried to manage the lives of our own aging parents. 

A partially built, never finished, cement block structure.
No doubt our intentions were based on love and concern.  Perhaps we could have offered greater opportunities for them to become more involved in the decision making process instead of, at times, pushing a little bit too hard.

We don't get a do-over.  Ours are gone now.  Perhaps, for baby boomers caring for senior parents there's some possible insight and, also for our own (yours and ours) adult children as they watch us age, at times worrying about that which we choose to do:  Is it dangerous?  Are we putting ourselves at risk? Should we seeing doctors more often?  Taking more or less medications? Having more or less surgeries? Traveling less?  Taking less risks?

Its an imperfect world, especially during this period as we observe so much crumbling around us, often fearful of what the future holds.  All we can control and manage is the sphere surrounding our lives. 

A tiny business office of some sort in the neighborhood.
Every chance we have to grasp a bit of happiness, to garner a smidgen of joy, to engage in a hearty belly laugh or to revel in a moment of peace and contemplation is entirely up to us.

May your day bring you all of the above!

Photo from one year ago today, October 6, 2015:
Viewing spot for guests at Namale Resort in Fiji, owned by motivational speaker Tony Robbins, at the edge of this unusual rock formation.  For more photos, please click here.


Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad said...

I've been thinking about some similar things recently, but from the perspective of the child/grandchild. My husband and I have been wanting to emigrate for a while, but concerns for family members have held us back. It's been hard to fight against feelings of selfishness but I've come to realise that me being happy makes my family happy. I'd be devastated if one of my family members didn't do something they really wanted to do just for me, so why don't I extend the same grace to myself? With all that said, we're now eyeing up emigration in the not too distant future. It's all under wraps at the moment but we've decided that this is our one life and this is what we'd like to do with it!

Jessica said...

Rachel, its not an easy decision to leave your loved ones to embark on a life fulfilling journey. When thinking hard about this, there's a point where its not about selfishness, since the intent is not to hurt those you love. In reality, its not about them. Its about you and your husband fulfilling your dreams of a special life together and you said it well, "I'd be devastated if one of my family members didn't do something they really wanted to do just for me, so why don't I extend the same grace to myself?" We all deserve to find our own happiness and those who truly love us can only wish joy for our lives, whatever our chosen path.

Its wonderful hearing from you again. Please let us know what you decide to do.

Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

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