Fekadu W. Debebe |Cerritos, California| Dec 22'2017
California state University, Long Beach.
Fictional Meandering letter to my future grandchildren.
Closing my eyes and thinking more about how it will look like when I get older, I would say it will be very interesting. I think it is a blessing to reach to the last stage of the human life cycle because there are many people who didn’t make it to that stage. To my experience, aging shouldn’t be a worrying thought, rather it should be a sign of accomplishment in a long journey. It is really a best experience to dream about aging, it is like building a future model of myself or looking in to myself in virtual mirror or flying in a time machine. Now, I am imagining that I am 80 years young, but I am running out of time to finish all the works that I started when I was a teenager. Meanwhile, my grandchildren have been asking me to write about me and my life. Therefore, I will dispense the following meandering experiences to address what life has meant to me, the changes in my body over the years, and how wise I am based on my own delusions.
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To me, life has been full of ups and downs, but I have accomplished lots of achievements throughout these periods. The meaning of life is so complicated that it differs from person to person. For me, life has been pursuing education, work, leisure, and family time over the different stages of my life. I know that an old age is the time that we face the ultimate truth, death, face to face. For those of us who managed to live properly, life is so meaningful and old age means more comfortable of being ourselves. So, I don’t want to deny aging or death, rather I accept the reality of the human life cycle. In my early 20’s, I haven’t done that much to build social relationships or financial strengths. My biggest achievement during my 20’s was all about sport activities that I still hold on to it. But as I grow up physically and mentally, I started to build my socioeconomic potentials in line with my physical wellbeing’s. My late 30’s was very memorable, and I started to lay the foundation of my success story during this phase my life cycle. Oh, when I say life cycle, I mean the stages of childhood, adulthood, old age, and death. By the way, do you know which stage I like the most? The old age, because there is no stress; I have grandchildren; I have more time for the loved ones; I can participate in different voluntary activities; and I get senior discounts and benefits as well.
It was in my late 30’s that I started to build a financial strength, created saving accounts, started to save for retirement and get married. Besides, I was working for a big corporate company as an electrical engineer and I was getting a descent salary comparing to what the average Americans were making. I have been saving money for my retirement and investing money in different stock markets and working so hard. Despite the fact that some people thinks the ageing population will incur challenges for the pension systems, I have been paying taxes and saving money while I was working, and I have done my due diligence. Therefore, I don’t feel that I am incurring challenges to the pension systems. Moreover, I am living a very decent retirement life and unlike most retired Americans, I do not sit down and watch movies 48 hours a week; rather, I am traveling to different continents and volunteering as a guest instructor in different universities and colleges. In addition, I still hold on to the values of leisure and religion. I love to go to churches, not only to attend a worship service or for religious purpose but also for social interactions as well. Therefore, I would say that life was challenging but beautiful to me.
When it comes to the changes in my body over the time, I have observed that my everyday intelligence has been increasing in time, but my physical performances have been decreasing from time to time. In my early 20’s I used to run fast but now I am walking slow. I think, it is a natural phenomenon that I can totally accept it as it is. It is the result of the “wear-and-tear theory of aging.” However, in my 20’s or 30’s, I didn’t have the experiences and intelligence that I have now. My intelligence has been increasing dramatically that makes me feel mentally strong now. I know that my physical strength is depreciating through time, but I am going through a healthy old age.
How wise I am based on the current socioeconomic conditions? I would say I have been very wise. In their work, Aging Concepts and Controversies, Moody, H. and Sasser, J. said, “… an optimistic hope about aging: a long, healthy existence followed by an abrupt end of life, with no decline.” (Moody and Sasser) That is exactly what I am going through. I was able to live a healthy life, possessed PHD in my early 40’s, I have done number of valuable researches and case studies, and I have been living a beautiful life with all my grandchildren in a beautiful home by the sea in California. Don’t you think that I am so wise? Oh, most importantly, I have also saved lots money for you, my grandchildren, that you can use it to help your higher education tuitions and eat out and have fun whenever possible or enjoy early morning coffee at Starbucks every day. I know you all do not have enough time to relax therefore the money should be more than enough to all of you. I think, I have been wise, and I feel satisfied with what I have accomplished in my life. Only wise and healthy people will be happy at their final stage of their life cycle. Remember, I was the only one eating all those salads growing in our backyard. If you want to feel strong and energetic, go get those salads.
Finally, it was my pleasure to share a little bit of my life story with you, my grandchildren. I hope you will follow my footsteps to be successful in your life. Success doesn’t happen by accidents, it needs lots of sacrifices and you must work hard and take some educated risks. Then, you will be happy and healthy. Yet, you have to understand that life is a long journey with lots of ups and downs. As Picasso said it, "it takes a long time to become young,” that is why it took me 80 years to become young now. I hope I have left you all the legacy that will help you live a better life in your future. I hope that you will still remember this story even when you get older like me. Remember, the ultimate goal of my old age is nurturing and teaching you all my grandchildren.
God bless you,
Your grandpa loves you so much!