Safer Routes

Senior Living

There is something uniquely thrilling about closing your eyes, jumping into a new venture and not knowing exactly what the landing is going to feel like. As children, it was what we longed for. But as adults, we often take safer routes. Perhaps, we have more to lose. Dylan Thomas’ poem prompts us not to be safe. He wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light …”

We put our capricious nature on hold while we wait for a signal, the invitation or the exact right moment before we take a step, because, as for now, we are taking care of the bills and the children are still young. We are right to be cautious, but we often believe both our children and ourselves/spouse are much more fragile than we truly are. But humanity is actually quite hardy.

I fritter my brainpower on everyday problems because it feels like the safe solution, and I feel like a master of the universe because I know how to solve it. I rationalize, “I don’t have space left for things that really matter to me,” the ideas that need time and wonder to come to fruition. Worrying about small things and growing numb with distractions and feeling spent is a norm in the workaday loop. Life could pass us by while we wait for security. But we need a mission at every age, and it can be as simple as helping people. Obsess not about emails, social media, office gossip or what others think; instead, obsess with not going gently into this good day, this good night and this good life.

Margaret Wachholz is the campus marketing director at Woodbury Senior Living. In her column, she shares observations and wisdom about aging and senior living in Woodbury. Find more at