A boomer’s well-spent time during the pandemic

Here at BoomerCafé we have asked readers to write stories— your own stories about how you’ve dealt with the pandemic… and now, how you are handling the new year so far. We are moved by what we got back from Glenn Bunker of Anchorage. In some small way, he might have made the world a better place.

COVID is making me impatient.

It is going on eight years since I retired at 55. My retirement has been a renaissance, with sufficient financial resources, a loving spouse with whom I share a life and love, and the time to focus on the important things in life. These are truly my golden years, the most fulfilling period of my life.

Glenn with his wife at Arches National Park, Utah.

However, I know this moment is fleeting. My wife and I still have our health. We still have the energy to carry supplies up the hill from the lake’s edge at our remote cabin. Or to hike twelve miles through Utah’s Arches National Park.

It won’t last, I know that. I can almost hear the clock ticking. Trips that were planned have been canceled. We are sequestered at home. Trying to do the right thing for our community and ourselves.

Arches National Park

These are hard times for huggers. We are missing the intimate closeness with friends and family. So, I have taken this time to reconnect with important people in my past through email. One person I went looking for on the internet was my sixth grade teacher. He was hugely impactful, probably changing the trajectory of my life.

For several decades I had thought about trying to find him, just to thank him and tell him how important he had been. Now, I was finally doing it. But what I found was his obituary. He died ten years ago. I learned from this a lesson something that I have probably always known, and the lesson crystallized into a gem of truth: There are few things in this life more important than letting those you care about, know it. For my teacher, all I could do was write a heartfelt tribute and post it to his obituary page. It would have been much more powerful to speak those words to him while he was still alive.

Glenn Bunker

This is how I have used my precious time in quarantine. I still hear the clock ticking, but I have taken time reach out to those I care about. I have told them, some for the first time, with unguarded honesty, how I feel about them. Sometimes in language so emotionally raw that it might have embarrassed the former me.

The responses I received in return tell me that it was the right thing to do. I think it made a small difference in their lives. I feel a sense of relief to share my feelings before it is too late. Maybe it helped make the world a slightly better place, I would like to think so. When I finally emerge on the other side of this pandemic, my time will not have been wasted.

5 Comments

  1. Important life lessons too often overlooked. Thank you for bringing them to our awareness in a thoughtful, heartfelt manner.

  2. Thanks for writing. I also looked up two of my favorite professors from grad school. Unfortunately both were gone, but reading about their great professional history made me proud of having associated with them. As you point out, time flees too fast to stay in contact with those important people. Let’s just keep it up.

  3. “These are hard times for huggers.” I agree, Glenn. It sounds like you are a caring person who has found time and opportunity to send out caring vibes in many ways. You’ve inspired me to do the same.

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