Estate planning is an exercise in preparing your assets for distribution at the time of your death, but it has nothing to do with any immediate expectation of passing on. As we get older we start to consider end-of-life issues and it is important to be pragmatic and keep your head out of the sand. But in a very real sense you started heading toward eventual death on the day that you were born. When you are seventy it is likely that you will have no better insight into the exact date of your death than you did when you were seventeen. Elder law attorneys frequently mention the fact that people are living longer than ever. When you wake up on your 65th birthday you may well have 20 or 30 years ahead of you, and a lot can be accomplished during that time!
Intellectually the possibilities are endless in terms of the visual arts, creative writing, music, inventing, engaging in new business ventures, and building on your education. But you can undertake physical challenges as well, and as you set goals for yourself and train toward them you are stoking the fires of good health.
If you have your doubts, look no further than the case of Bill Burke of Costa Mesa, California. On March 23rd of 2009 he became the oldest American to reach the summit of Mount Everest at 67 years of age. This in itself is incredible on the surface, but the back story of true grit is where the real inspiration lies. In 2007 Burke made it to within 100 yards of the peak, but he decided to head back down. He was concerned that the effort that it would take to make it those last 300 feet would leave him unable to make it back to the bottom. He tried again in 2008 but didn’t get as far after experiencing an episode of pulmonary edema.
You might think that this would have been enough to convince him that a man of his age just couldn’t do it. But if he thought that way, he wouldn’t be able to look you in the eye today and say “I climbed Mount Everest.” Such an extreme endeavor may not be one of your goals, but surely you have your own personal Everest that you always wanted to climb.
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