May Day. Not the parade of workers and weapons in Communist countries. Not the pre-Christian pagan fertility festival. Today is May Day, the secular celebration of spring. I remember pictures in old high school and college yearbooks of girls dancing around a maypole, carrying baskets of flowers, and crowning the May Queen.
Spring. Flowers. Youth.
Last week, I spent time preparing for this day. I pulled creeping weeds that threatened youthful flowers in our meadow, purchased fresh strawberries, and made shortcake for Keith’s 70th birthday, which we celebrated at the Ivy Inn in Charlottesville.
When he was a young man just starting out in his career, Keith set two goals: to be fit at age fifty and to earn ten thousand dollars per year—a lot of money back then. Today he laughs at how low he set the bar. But who in their youth can see that far into the future?
Summer. Fall. Winter.
We’ve all read studies about regrets people might have toward the end of life. This list is from a 2012 article published in the Guardian.
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Two threads tie these wishes together: the fact that people often do not realize they are making choices, and they fear change.
In a related blog post published in the Huffington Post, psychologist Karl A. Pillemer asked hundreds of older Americans what they regretted, looking back at their lives. “I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life worrying,” they often said.
Worrying is a choice, too, something I do far too frequently. Keith doesn’t waste his time. When our dogs take off running after the deer or some other critters and are gone for a while, I worry and Keith says, “They’ll either come home or they won’t.” Well, yeah, but I want to worry away the “won’t.”
The only regret Keith might have from the above list is staying in touch with his old buddies. These days, he has more time to spend with friends, to reconnect, and reach out to new friends—and that’s what he often chooses to do.
Today our meadow flowers are soaking up rain. As I write this post, Keith is exercising in the basement—his new goal is to be fit at a youthful ninety. He spent the morning working on his science fiction novel, his characters springing into action on a moon circling a far planet. Check out his blog here to explore “Strange Things Done” and WONDER, which he and I believe is the antidote to aging.
Happy May Day, my WONDER-full love, and many more spent together!
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