We’ve been determined to minimize buying new and using recycled “things” as we restore and furnish our new old house. We’ve been doing a good job of it, except for one or two items. In all the new old things we’re purchasing and in our new old house, we find that evidence of attention and good care from the time things are new allows them to age so they remain beautiful and functional. While showing the marks of a long and useful life, I can now distinguish between those items that were believed to live a long time and looked after with that in mind and those whose owners were not thinking about the long term. In our house, we find quick fixes that allowed for a surface appeal but did not shore up or repair what lies below. I’m sorting through my clothes to identify those that are well made and with some mending and care in laundering can be with me a long time.

We find that unlike city living we need a car and Calvin set his mind to find us the very best of a used one and he did. Luxurious and looking brand new on the outside, the internal working parts, and the interior have been treated with care and so Calvin believes the longevity of the car working at top performance is worth our investment. He’s taken on the project of extending its life, and it’s clear in how he maintains it. These experiences make me think much more about what living a long life means. I believe that longevity is not measured in actual years but how long, with attentive servicing, something or someone can function optimally.

If I apply this thinking to myself I’ve spent a good deal of attention to the outside, these past 6 years focusing on what I wear, working at a furious pace, and putting on a good deal of mileage. Our new old car is also 6 but because of judicious use has only 16,000 miles. Unlike the used car we just bought, I’ve not paid good attention to the tune-ups I needed inside to keep my body running well and it was not until I got sick that I could understand how much I have taken this poor body for granted. To me it’s always been a reliable vehicle for transportation and now it’s time for some very focused servicing if I want it to work well for the long road trip of life I hope to take.

There’s so much we know about what things we can do throughout our now extended lifespan to age beautifully, remain functional and vibrant for a long time just like my car and the pieces that have entered my new old home. I’ve been digging into the research and identifying practices and activities that I can incorporate into daily living that will support my desire to love, work and live the fullest and best life I can as I’m heading up the hill to 70. Interestingly, these practices can and should begin while we’re young. I found that unknowingly; I implemented some in my 20s and 30s, which is probably why I’m as feisty as I am today. The best part of what I found though is that it’s never too late to start. So no matter what your age this project is for you.

For many of us, the pandemic has forced us to reckon with how we lived our lives before and how we might want to live them now. It’s been a time of real transition. Now vaccinated, I enter March, a month I consider transitional, in the space between winter and spring. So during this month, I’m going to share what I’ve learned, how I’m applying it in everyday life so I might be ready for my next “what now” even as I do not know what that may be. As I do, I invite you to share the practices, new understandings, and the outlines of your “what now” and of course what you wear as you do them.

So I’m determined to treat my “vehicle” or my new old self as Calvin is caring for our new old car so stay tuned to see what I and other followers are doing to help us love, work, and live life with vitality no matter what your age.