The Bible states that three score and 10 years are the measure of a man's life. My own father never reached that benchmark. I had trepidations when I reached his 58 years. When I passed 70, I did a re-evaluation of my thoughts and actions.
1) Reaching the age of collecting Social Security is a great comfort. All those years of paying into the system, makes it all the more wonderful receiving back a monthly check of my own money. Of course, it is retaxed which is something that is hard to understand.
2) Usually, now at family reunions or other social events, I am the oldest person in the room. I can no longer go to my parents or an uncle when family questions arise. I am now the patriarch! And how did that happen?
3) The pressure to "make a success" of my life has faded. The burning desire to succeed financially and socially has been eased. "A day at a time" is the new philosophy.
4) Now that I am a grandfather, I survey my family and I am quite proud. "Where did all those lovely grandchildren come from? Life starts anew with the new generation. Diapers, soccer practice, bar and bat mitzvahs keep the process moving along. However, when they come to visit and the house is hectic, one knows when they all return home, it will again be peaceful and quiet.
5) I was in the synagogue at Noah Fliegelman's amazing and heartwarming bar mitzvah, when I was greeted by a stranger. He said, "Stan, don't you remember me? I said, "no." He continued, "We used to play tennis together every Friday night about 12 years ago." I looked at him again - still no recognition. I then offered my lame excuse "I am over 70, you have to forgive me. I'm elderly." We both laughed and shook hands. Whew!
6) I was playing tennis with a foursome of gentlemen in their early 60s. A tune that was popular during World War II popped into my head. I could not remember who sang it. It was a song called There Will be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover. It was sung beautifully by an English woman, but her name eluded me. I asked the guys in my tennis game, but they all were just born during the war. Fortunately, playing next to us was a foursome of 80-year-olds. I called one elderly, white-haired gent over and I sang a few bars.
Immediately he said, Vera Lynn.
These are the advantages of being over 70!