This year, my mom and dad both would have turned 90 on their birthdays, Mom this week and Dad in mid-October. While I could not find a single definition in numbers of years for a “ripe old age,” with both my parents having been born in 1926, I would certainly consider 90 a ripe old age. Sadly, neither of my parents lived past their 70s. But interestingly, the number of people reaching the age of 90 and above has been increasing over the last 30 years.
In 2011, the US Census reported that between 1980 and 2010, the number of people 90 and older as a percentage of the older population (age 65 and older), increased from 2.8 percent to 4.7 percent and by 2050 it is expected to reach 10 percent. While it’s nice to know we have an “official” definition for “old” (65, an age I haven’t reached yet!), it is even nicer to learn that my chances of living to be 90are projected to double between now and when I would actually turn 90.
As I have been recently working with a financial planner to project income and expenses during retirement, the idea of budgeting into our nineties to ensure my wife and I did not outlive our money seemed far-fetched. But maybe not so much now.
So what if my parents had lived to reach 90, what major life events would they have witnessed?
Well for one, they would have lived to see all of their grandchildren grow up and graduate from college and in some cases graduate school or medical school as well.
They would have been witness to many of those grandkids getting married…
…and five of those grandkids starting their own families bringing eight great-grandchildren into the world.
They would even have been able to help celebrate first birthdays with some of those great-grandkids as well.
And they would have been able to observe my wife and I celebrate our 25th, 30th, and 35th wedding anniversaries while marking their own 55th, 60th, and 65th wedding anniversaries.
But neither of my parents lived to see their 90s so all of these events they missed. However, their legacy still lives on.
They left all of their descendants with a love for a very special place, Montreat, which I have written about recently.
And what list of my parent’s legacies wouldn’t be complete without our love for “Nanny’s brownies,” lovingly prepared by our niece recently for our June family trip to Montreat.
So this year, rather than watching our parents blow out a big “90” candle on their birthday cakes, we’ll mark the actual dates reflecting on a lifetime of wonderful, loving memories.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for all of them.
Happy Birthday to you both!