Great Expectations

I am often asked how I am able to maintain my energy and productivity at the age of 94.

It’s simple. I ignore how old I am. I don’t think about it, and so it’s not a problem for me. I’m not in denial. I just understand the awesome power of the brain. Although researchers are still examining its complexity and potential, I’ll tell you this for certain — its power can support your spirit and agelessness. But if you use it to believe the culture’s destructive message that when you reach a certain age you’re finished, I’m here to tell you it’s a lie.

Here is the truth. Your creativity doesn’t care how old you are. Get in touch with your imagination. Explore and discover what interests you. It could be writing about your life for your children and grandchildren. You can knit or garden or sew or take painting lessons, piano lessons — anything that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning, anything that intrigues and stimulates you.

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My creativity is there for me every time I need it, and I am grateful for that, but not surprised. I expect it to be there. And, expectations are a huge part of staying active, healthy and productive. A person without expectations is a person without hope. And, that’s no way to live. In fact, when you stop hoping you start dying.

Yes, I have the usual aches and pains that most people my age have.

I wake up anyway.

I work out anyway.

I write everyday anyway.

I’m lucky. I have good genes, but I realize that my life is more than that. For one thing, I surround myself with people who are not naysayers. They are “can-do” people who don’t discourage me from living my life the way I chose. When my writing career took off, all of those people encouraged me to do more. I’ve written four novels, a memoir, a collection of essays and a book about how to help failing college kids. I contribute to this publication and a couple of others. I’m busier than ever and I am thankful for that.

Tomorrow morning, I plan to wake up, get my first cup of coffee, go down the hall to my writing room and create something from nothing, something I will be proud of, something I will publish someday. It’s what I dreamed of.