Life Is a Pinball Machine

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

Photo credit ncole458 on VisualHunt CC BYA pinball machine is an apt metaphor for life. From our birth, we are propelled down a jagged, unpredictable path strewn with obstacles. When we hit one, it bounces us in a different direction until we meet up with a new impediment. From there, we are pushed along yet another route and on and on.  As we weave our way along, we encounter experiences which we would not have had but for the random jumping between points.

Think of various examples in your life and how they occurred. So often, they were simply a shot in the dark–you were just at the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the wrong time. Had arbitrary, proceeding events not occurred to put you there, you would not have encountered those particular circumstances.

Such an unplanned stumbling from one destination to the next is what constitutes life.  Ponder this for a moment: what events led to your attending the school you did, making the friendships you have, settling on living in a particular city, obtaining your job, meeting your partner, and everything else in your life?  

Toward the end of college, I signed up for interviews with a host of recruiters who had come to the campus seeking potential employees.  When I graduated, I accepted a job as a probation officer simply because that was the first one offered to me.  I didn’t even know what a probation officer did.  I remained at that career for thirty-seven years.  Many of my closest friends were co-workers I met there.

After I retired, I mentioned to a friend that I was bored and directionless.  She told me about a local school with classes for seniors.  I perused the Schedule of Classes and mistakenly signed up for an acting class, thinking it was just a play discussion course.  Never having acted in my life, I was hooked that first day after reading a scene with another class member.  That experience changed my life, and I went on to become a professional actress as a senior.

So, life is simply a crapshoot. We make our way along, careening and readjusting as we go, hoping that it will turn out well. The only fleeting control we have is what we do with the situation once we land at any given spot.  Be flexible and prepared to deal with whatever the pinball machine of life hands you.


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Photo credit: ncole458 on VisualHunt / CC BY

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, successful aging

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