Get on the Bus!

My grandmother, Margaret, lived with us for the last six years of her life, taking her final breath at age ninety-five. Those six years were interesting because we had two teenagers in the house (think of the generational gap between someone seventeen and ninety-two). I was teaching school and Tom worked full time, too. We were active in the community, church, and school, not to mention maintaining our sanity with the ninety plus ancieno in the house (thank you, Ms. New Mexico reader for that term!) and she added to our busy-ness. She had the I-love-to-travel-gene and her favorite saying was: “There's a bus leaving tomorrow, I might as well be on it,” and off she’d go on the Greyhound bus to California or Nebraska or Florida to visit family. I inherited her travel gene, although I don’t ride buses, and now my pubescent granddaughter has the same gene saying I haven’t been to Tanzania, Grandma, can I go with you? Was I going to Tanzania? As far as I know, there are no buses headed there, but I’ll keep looking.

As I see it, Grandma’s travel gene has more to do with attitude than actual bus rides. I see us ancienos with two attitudes toward retirement and aging. 1. Retirement is like graduation, putting everything behind us. Been there, done that, and I’m not doing more. I already paid my dues. Or 2. Retirement is a commencement, a beginning, an invitation to try everything you haven’t. It could be service to others or climbing Mt. Everest (not for me, though, I’m a cruiser, pining to see Tanzania). For me, retirement was a commencement, and I began to write and compose blogs and books and enjoy challenging my imagination. Looking at retirement as graduation or commencement is a choice that every retiree must make.

Health restrictions bite us in the buttinski harder than they do our youngers, but the Greyhound still travels through the depot, calling to us, urging us to get going. It’s leaving the station soon, and the day after tomorrow might be too late!

Everyone who knew Grandma Margaret loved her. She was honest and kind, but above that, she had the attitude that each day was a gift, something to be unwrapped and cherished and she had her eye out for the Greyhound sign. “There’s a bus leaving tomorrow, I might as well be on it.”