The publisher’s personal adventure in aging | PostIndependent.com

The publisher’s personal adventure in aging

Michael Bennett
Mike Bennett
Staff Photo |

Aging is a journey we begin when we take our first breath. It is an adventure that no map or GPS can help us navigate precisely, because of many unexpected detours along the way.

The Post Independent along with our partners will host Adventures in Aging on March 5 to help provide some guidance no matter where you are in your life journey. The event will be at the Third Street Center in Carbondale. We have roughly 20 seats remaining. I’d suggest reserving your spot now by reaching out to Angelyn Frankenberg, angye@postindependent.com or 970-384-9102.

At this event you will learn about a variety of subjects including nutrition, estate planning, and tips to keep both your mind and body fit.

As someone who will turn 64 this year, I wish I had given thought to all of these topics when I was in my early 20s. While I suspect most of our attendees will be over 50, the under-50 crowd will gain knowledge that if put into practice while you are young will improve your odds of having a happier and healthier later stage of your life.

Aging brings both positives and negatives. I came to Colorado to the Vail Daily 20 years ago. At 43, I was in my prime, yet the 63-year-old me could hike circles around the 43-year-old me. It just goes to show you that there are things you can still do to improve your life at any age. My friend and colleague Wayne Griffin started running marathons shortly before the age of 60. He has given me inspiration to at least start running again to see if I can finish a race of 26.2 miles.

I did not have expectations of failing eyesight back then. If I realized 30 years ago that a healthier diet would have lowered my risk of potentially going blind would I have made that adjustment? You bet.

I watch how my daughter and her partner are raising my twin grandbabies with pride. They are not quite 6 months of age but are learning early the importance of a good diet, exercise and mental development. And based on their smiles and progress, they seem to be developing and adjusting to this world nicely.

I am trying to do my part for them by investing a few bucks a month in a savings account for them. Math is funny, but starting a small savings account early in life and adding just a little monthly will provide a surprisingly strong nest egg by the time a child becomes an adult. Your child may enjoy that expensive toy for a few weeks, but having a decent savings account later in life to help with college costs or other life needs will have greater value.

And if you are a young worker, finding a way now to put 10 percent of your earnings away will pay rich dividends later in life and real tax savings now.

Personally, the greatest surprise aging has brought has been a change in my values and energy.

Physically, I’ve worked myself up to a point that I can comfortably hike a challenging 15 miles. But the stress and strains of being a publisher, an advertising manager and a community volunteer has become almost unbearably exhausting. Over the last eight years or so I have been wondering what was wrong with me. After all, my work is not physical but rather mental, though it requires many intense hours.

While wondering why I am having challenges one of my friends looked at me and said, “Have you no idea of what all you do in a week? Don’t you realize that you are getting older and we just can’t do everything we could do even 10 years ago?”

My high energy and passion at work has always been my greatest strength. I guess I just don’t have the juice I used to have. And that bothers me. As I look around at my peer group of publishers I’ve also noticed that there are very few that are my age — I guess I’m like the Peyton Manning of publishers.

The world has changed. Years ago a publisher was able to ease into retirement. Like all professions today, easing is nearly impossible, as the fallout from the Great Recession requires smaller labor forces. I do not mind the workload, much of which I force upon myself.

But I realize I have to begin letting go a bit. I can no longer participate in as many nonprofit organizations. I can no longer take on as many hands-on responsibilities at work.

While I start most of my days in the office by 7:30 a.m., I realize it isn’t healthy for me to stay until 6 p.m. This is hard; I grew up in a time when the boss opened the office in the morning and locked it up at night.

I have not been able to commit to a weekly column, so rather than stress about it, I will write one column that will appear on the last Wednesday of each month. That frees up spots for more guest opinions. Email Editor Randy Essex at ressex@postindependent.com.

OK, I admit I am a workaholic. That must change as I age. I hope to be able to work for as long as I am able, but I now seek greater balance in my life. In recent years I am finding even greater joy spending more quality time with my children and grandchildren.

As the old saying goes, “wisdom is wasted on the old.” Much of that wisdom comes from years of experience. If you are young, attending “Adventures in Aging” will be one step in gaining that wisdom at an earlier age.

Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent.


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