Contemporary Retirement by Alane Cunningham

While I am normally an optimistic person, I must admit that recent new events of the world are depressing me. Am I alone in these feelings?

Maybe it was the political dysfunction, maybe it was the endless coverage of the 911 anniversary, or the gloomy economic picture for so many in our country, or maybe it was just that the days are getting shorter as we enter fall. And why is it these events seem to be particularly depressing to older Americans who have experienced bad times in the past?

Whatever it was, I was trying to feel upbeat and couldn’t quite make it. It was then that I turned on the Today Show as I was getting ready for work (and yes, even retirees must sometimes work if they are lucky enough to find a job) and caught an interview with Roger Ebert.

Sometimes it just takes a moment to bring you back to the realization that there is much to be thankful for. During the interview, Roger Ebert was telling how lucky he is. And he was telling this via a voice simulator. Roger Ebert, the movie reviewer, can no longer talk. In 2002 he got thyroid cancer that progressed to his salivary glands. Radiation treatments and surgical complications took away his ability to speak and his face is now horribly disfigured.

However, here is a man that has stated he is ‘grateful for the gift of intelligence, for life, wonder and laughter’. He also feels his job is to bring joy into the world.

And he did. At that moment, I realized I don’t want to waste one moment of life and I wish I could tell him his mission was accomplished. No matter what events we will face in the next year, I hope I can face them knowing that life on this earth is an incredible gift and something to be enjoyed and treasured every day.

 

About Alane Cunningham

Alane is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. She retired from the University of Michigan after 27 years. She currently lives in Florida in a small beachside community with her husband. She navigates retirement with human nature observations realizing everyone must find their own way to happiness through this passage of life.

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