New beginnings in the mature years

By Elaine Procida

Copyright 2005

New Beginnings, an interesting subject. As I look back on my life, I certainly can see a number of "new beginnings." One of the most profound would have to be when I was in my mid-30's and I finally came to accept myself as a deaf person. This is not something that came easy. It came only after my deteriorating physical and mental health forced me to make some changes in my life.

Another new beginning that I can think of is when I first became involved in organizations for people with hearing loss. I was around 40 years old when I found the first of these organizations and discovered the joy and satisfaction of being a part of something that I could identify with, and to be with people who shared my life and concerns.

March. 27 2003, was another New Beginning. This was the date when I received my Cochlear Implant. For the first time in my life, I found I could join in most activities for hearing people and do well. And not have to worry about my squealing hearing aids.

Now, as I approach my 65th birthday, I am facing another New Beginning. I admit I have been dragging my feet, hoping to delay the event. I have been thinking of it as something not very desirable. But then, maybe that is the problem: Why do we have to face getting older as something we want to hide from?

I am in good health and able to take care of myself. Since I am no longer working, I have time to pursue things that could give my life more meaning. I think it is safe to say that most people, who reach retirement age today, have enough resources to live comfortably.

So what do we need to feel fulfilled in our mature years? The last thing I want is to spend my time in boring volunteer work or mindless activities. I want to give something to the world but it has to be something that gives me a sense of personal satisfaction. Something that makes use of the talents and knowledge that it took me a lifetime to achieve. I feel I have a lot to offer. I want to look at life's third period as a time of renewal and meaning, not a retreat from purposeful living.

I refuse to look at age 65 as the beginning of an end; But instead, to look at it as a New Beginning.


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