It is this year – 2021 – in which I will “officially” become a senior citizen. That’s right, the magic chronological age of 65 will become my status in a few months. Unlike many, I’ve never had trouble stating my age, never complained about growing older. Something from a purer place inside me always acknowledges the marking of another year gone and another year here as a badge of sorts, making me proud that I’ve somehow survived yet another revolution around the sun and am living to talk about it.
Thinking about this upcoming chronological number is, however, a bit more murky for me. Physically, I feel (most times) a few years older than what I think 65 should feel like. Mentally, I feel sharp enough in thought and intelligence to feel as though I’ve not been affected by any chronological number. Yes, occasionally, I’ve had moments where a word is “on the tip of my tongue” but I can’t grasp what the word is, but merely consider that happening as a result of having so much information stored in my brain that the dots take longer to connect until my brain finds what I want to say. Emotionally, I’m not sure how old I am. I’m still naive about a lot of things, but I’m also more cynical about a lot of things.
I had the honor and privilege of recently hearing a yet-released original composition called “Water’s Edge” by Dom LaFerlita. Dom is a 25-year old Australian man, who has been educationally investing himself it music personally and professionally for the past 10 years. He will soon be receiving his Masters in (I forget the exact title but something in music teaching). He studied classical music throughout much of his education, but has recently forayed into all different genres of music. He also had three years of vocal lessons, and his voice – especially his range – is wonderful. I consider Dom not only to be an amazing musical talent but also a dear friend.
The first time I heard “Water’s Edge”, it was played for a group of us just to get a feel of if we liked it or not. Although he’s released two albums of all original instrumental music, this was his first foray into making originals adding his voice. More recently, he provided a link where it could be listened to in it’s “unreleased” version via Soundcloud. This time, I got to listen to it without the distraction of other people, and it hit me really hard (yes, there were tears I couldn’t stop from falling!)! For whatever reason, it smacked my brain with the realization of my own mortality, and that, unless God wants me to live until I’m 130 (I don’t think that’s going to happen!), more than half of my life is over. I got stuck with not so much living with regrets for things I’d done or said, but coming to grasps with the realization that I haven’t done nearly as much good for my fellow man and Mother Earth as I would have liked to. I’ve done good – I’m not doubting myself for that – but with a little more energy, a little more commitment, I could have done more than I have. For someone who has always said that, without children to leave behind as my legacy to the world, the positive impact I have made on people is what I can leave behind as my legacy. There is a line in this song that says, “…to be the best person I can be…” and it pricks my soul. I’m physically feeling my age, as I said earlier, and I know I do not have the strength to go back and rewrite the script of all of the times I could have given more but didn’t. And yet, that same recognition of my age makes me understand that I will not have nearly the same amount of opportunities to do/say/give more. In fact, if I am 100% honest, I have to admit that I haven’t done/said/given more because I was being selfish with my energy. And that was back when I had energy, at least a lot more than I do now. Suddenly, the realization of turning 65 makes me understand that I can’t rewrite my path to this point, and I can’t do much to change my path from this point on.
When I remove myself from the lyrics of this song and just think about the composer of the song, tears still fall, though they are both happy and sad. I know that this was a song written after (and perhaps sparked by) a dark period of thought. How to I not shed tears of sadness that someone dear to me should be in pain? And yet, there is hope in this song as well, if nothing more than hope that this time is just a stumbling block to be moved from, and so there are tears of happiness that this dear person will (has) come back from that place with a better understanding.
So, all around, this song doesn’t get into just my heart, but it gets into my soul.
Back to turning 65 this year. It is my opinion that nothing about Medicare is easy!!!!! It feels like there are a thousand ‘agents’ out there vying for your business, and I swear, my TV commercials (what little I watch) are about about 5 to 1 Medicare versus any other product/service. I mean, we all know that Big Brother is tracking us on social media so it knows what ads to provide, but TV too???? Meanwhile, those of us out there who have no clue where to start probably don’t want to work with someone who cold calls you from showing interest in Medicare through any social media (I learned this the hard way when I got 19 calls within a 2-day period offering help in signing up for Medicare). It feels like a knife fight between agents to get this business – if only people fought as hard for the senior citizens for other reasons. I did watch a webinar so I do have a basic understanding of the different plans and what each covers. Plan A is hospital stuff, and it is provided at no charge (all of those Medicare taxes that were deducted from your paycheck all those years). The rest of the plans – B, C, D, G – are add-ons for any other medical needs like doctors, prescriptions, lab tests, specialists, etc. and if you opt for any of those, you get $148.50/month deducted from your Social Security and then you pick from several supplemental or Medicare advantage and there may or may not be a cost, depending upon what you choose.
Maybe once I finally break through this mire, I’ll be more relaxed about this official birth year? One can only hope!
P.S. Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. (My mentor told me that years ago!). With that in mind, I’m adding the link for anyone who wants to hear “Water’s Edge”. If you have Spotify, Apple Music, etc., you can hear all 14 of his released instrumental originals! You can also order CDs of this music through his website at: www.domlaferlita.com.au