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  • Diana Fletcher

Who Are You Going to Be When You Grow Up?

The other day, I started to write a letter to myself to read when I reach the age of 90.

Let me explain a little about writing a letter to myself....

My parents are both ninety years old.

I have been observing them for quite awhile. I have also observed other older people including my grandmother who lived until age 95.

I am always interested in watching people and observing their actions, and often times I try to figure out why they do what they do.

As you would expect, most of the time I come to the conclusion that I have no idea why people do what they do.

One thing that comes out of this though, is that I learn stuff about myself---who and what I want to be, or who or what I DON'T want to be.

I talk to a lot of people about their caregiving situations. We are a generation in the middle. We have child care and parent care.

As my parents are both ninety, there is a good chance I will experience their longevity; hence, the idea for the letter to my future 90 year old self.

My original intention was to have different letters to read along my path as I navigate the years. However, after getting started on this one, I realized this letter is the only one I need to guide me into being the kind of person I want to be as I age.

And actually, it is not in a letter form. It is a checklist.

I want to remember either to do these things, or in some cases, to NOT do these things.

The astericks* indicate circumstances if/when handicapped in some way, or unable to drive, etc.)

I would love to hear what YOU would put on your list.

My Life List:

Do not waste time feeling sorry for yourself.

Make sure that by insisting on your independence you are not creating more work for others.

Let go of all resentments-don't waste energy on that.

Don't complain.

When people take you for errands, combine them-do not go to one place for milk, one for produce, one for blah,blah,blah---it is really a pain in the- well, you know. *

Have medications delivered by the pharmacy on a regular scheduled basis. *

When people call/visit, ask them about themselves, their families, their work and their interests.

Exercise-Hire a trainer if possible.

If you can't hear, get a hearing aid. If you cannot see, get eyes checked regularly and wear glasses. If you keep falling, get a walker or cane.

Use nice things-don't save stuff for a special time. The special time is now.

Smile. Accept and give hugs.

Get rid of old stuff. There is good old stuff & there is bad old stuff. You know the difference. Get help with this if necessary.

Stay as informed as possible on current events.

Use the computer, and do puzzles and other activities that challenge the mind.

Read. Listen to music. Dance, even if you can only wave your arms. (It's still dancing if dance is your intention.)

Do volunteer work.

Make sure you eat properly even if you don't feel like it.

Don't continually talk about the past unless someone asks you about it or you have such an exciting story that people always want to hear it. (I have got a couple of those, but even I am kind of bored with them. Imagine if you had to listen to them repeatedly!)

Find something each day to be grateful for and smile.

Write cheerful letters to people.

I figure if I make sure I follow these "rules" now, I will be happy all my life.

Please write with your comments. Let me know your thoughts and experiences in this area.


Anna Marie said "Good advice,"

Diana responded to Anna Marie; "Thank you! I love hearing from you!"


Diane Johnson-Loush said "Talk with young people to keep current on trends, technology, and how they see the world

Be open to change forever"

Diana responded to Diane Johnson-Loush; "Excellent advice! I think an important part of that would be really listening to them when they talk, too. Thanks for writing!"


best dating sites said "Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thanks!"

Diana responded to best dating sites; "One really great blog is Penelope Trunk’s blog. She is edgier than I am but excellent stuff!"


Jan said "I really like lists so I really enjoyed this article. Have you ever made lists of things to do before a certain age?"

Diana responded to Jan; "Thank you for writing! I like lists too. I have not made lists of things to do before a certain age, but I do have a sort of, “life list” in my head. I always wanted to run a marathon, and I mentally checked it off the list when I did it in 2006. I do like adding to a life resume—again, in my head. Good luck with your lists! =)"


Kit said "Wonderful advice. So many relationships would be improved if people followed these ideas!"

Diana responded to Kit; "Thank you for writing Kit!"


Gina said "Great list – finding myself in the “middle” too, watching my parents age gracefully and providing for my two children (college and high school age).

Embrace long lasting friendships – my parents have the same circle of friends from when they were marrided over 50 years ago. It’s awesome to watch these life long friends share so many milestones and experiences – some good, some sad. They do things as couples and the “girls” have their adventures and birthday celebrations and the guys get together for their weekly Tuesday night gathering."

Diana responded to Gina; "I love the idea that friends can grow old together. Also, that idea of continuing to socialize is a fantastic one! Thanks for writing!"


Cindy said "Love this article! I really liked what Diane said about keeping up by talking to young people. It is surprising to me how some people stop trying to keep up as early as their 50’s! The ideas I have to add are – throw your clothes in the wash even if you only wore them for half a day! Spray the clothes with stain remover even if you don’t see stains. Our older eyes won’t see things. Try to have something to look forward to every day. Get rid of old things that you are using — it is OK to buy new things before the old ones wear out COMPLETELY. Thanks Diana! I always enjoy your writing."

Diana responded to Cindy; "I love the idea of allowing our old selves to have new things. It’s a very comforting idea. Thanks for writing!"


Heli said "Much appreciated for the information and share! Nancy"

Diana responded to Heli; "Do you know what and who you will be? =) Thanks for writing!"


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