Passage of time challenges us all
Wade MacLauchlan may have raised a few eyebrows when he revealed his No. 1 challenge in a recent year-end interview with this newspaper.
In the premier’s eyes his greatest challenge is not education or health care, nor is it electoral reform, the environment or even the economy.
It’s time, or more precisely, the passage of time. He said, “… time passes and, frankly, that continues to be the thing that, I won’t say surprises me, but certainly challenges me.”
Perhaps that’s why, in the same interview, MacLauchlan said he intends to run for a second term in 2019.
I have to admit I was among those who figured since he will be nearly retirement age at the end of his first term he’d end his political career right there. In retrospect, I’m not sure why. Some political careers are just getting underway at 65. Hilary Clinton, for example, is aggressively campaigning for one of the most demanding jobs on the planet – president of the United States – and she’s 69. Her chief rival for the Democratic ticket, Sen. Bernie Sanders, is 74.
And former Island premier Walter Shaw was nearly 70 when he first entered politics in 1957. He went on to lead the Conservatives to victories in 1959 and 1962 before being ousted by Alex Campbell and his Liberal team in 1966. He was 78. He retired from politics at age 82.
Although he’ll be retirement age when the next federal election rolls around in 2019, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair still has designs on the prime minister’s office. During a tough interview on CTV’s Question Period this week, Mulcair was asked if he plans to step down as leader, especially since he would be once again be up against the youthful Justin Trudeau and a new, presumably younger leader of the Conservatives. Mulcair said he doesn’t sense age will be an issue in the next election. He vowed to continue to work “tirelessly and non-stop” to confirm his leadership and then to become PM in 2019.
Perhaps because I’m heading into the late-50s myself, I admire these men and women who show – despite their advancing years – that age really is just a number. And I suspect many other Islanders plan to work well beyond retirement age. That’s partly due to the province’s changing demographic – there are quite simply more seniors here than ever before.
In fact, in 1971 the median age in P.E.I. was 25. By 2015, as more and more Baby Boomers entered their senior years, it had skyrocketed to 43.7. Within the next 15 years, the median age is projected to be 46.7.
With the growing cohort of seniors it’s no surprise that many of them, like MacLauchlan, have work plans post-65. For some, unfortunately, it will be necessity – inadequate pensions or accumulated debt – and not choice that will drive their decision to remain in the workforce.
Regardless of our circumstance, time becomes an evergreater challenge as each year passes. It’s often been said we must make the most of every day because, as one of my favourite authors suggests in the following excerpt, time flies:
“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss
Happy New Year!