What is it like to grow old

What is it like to grow old?

Aging is an oft-discussed topic. On the one hand, society lauds the wisdom of the elderly, and other the other, it vilifies the process. Most of us have a curious relationship with existence and our place in it. What is one to do? When we gain consciousness at 20 or so, we are confronted with the process of time. I will become 30, 40, 50, etc. What will this mean? Each generation has its own approach. 

I grew up in a time that praised youth over age. “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” (1) Life is short — enjoy it! I was born in 1956, right at the tail end of the Baby Boomer Generation. (2) Our parents were mostly military veterans or married to military veterans who had endured the Depression and a violent war. Many of the retired soldiers came home altered and not at all happy. That said, there was an overall mood that hard work would make you rich. There was very little time for joy. 

The average young person saw their embittered parents and consciously or unconsciously decided to “opt-out” of society before anything got too serious or excessively pernicious. They were going to have as much fun as possible and leave before the ossified nature of old age set in. So, they took their pleasure and attempted to change the world into a kinder gentler place.  

This, unfortunately, was not possible because the Vietnam War (3) was creating the same societal trauma that their parents had experienced. In time, the Boomers joined “the establishment” and embraced the movement that accepted getting physically older as a time of pain, suffering, and, ultimately, death. (4) 

I propose a different approach to aging. I simply do not identify as ancient. I do not identify as old, or middle-aged, or as young. I further do not identify as white, or black, or yellow, or brown, or combinations therein. Finally, I do not identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual, transsexual, or gender fluid. I simply identify as a person — as a human being. This nature is pure and age-less.  

Now, it would be naive to claim that my essence is not subject to a mortal life cycle because it is. I will physically die one day. I do believe, however, that God has a bigger purpose for all of us. But, this is not the point. It is how I live, not how I will meet my demise on Earth.  

If a person wants to live a purposeful and fulfilling life, it is necessary to dispose of the externally-generated trappings of the self and set about developing the inner “beautiful me” and uncovering my God-given mission. This is not easy and requires a lifetime of introspection and work. So, what is it like to grow old? I don’t know. I am only worried about what is it like to live. As John Lennon (5) cautions us: Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. 

A closing thought: One of the biggest conundrums we all face, I believe, is our relationship with the passing years. This is an enormous mystery. All around me, my environment changes. Creatures and other humans are born and they die, and yet I, seemingly, go on. This causes a form of trauma — and eventually, fear — in many people. To avoid this, we adopt a form of escapism that holds up bodily youth as an attempt to stop the vicissitudes of time. This is most certainly not unique to our epoch. The Greeks were fighting the same demons 2,500 years ago. The only answer to a peaceful co-existence with myself has to be in the realization that I am a necessary being and have an important job to fulfill while I am still alive, whatever this may be.  

To sum up: This week, we discussed what it is like to grow and what this means to each of us.  

To be noted: From Oscar Wilde (6) — Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.  

Just for fun: 

For reflection: 

This week, on your energetic walk, please feel and enjoy your body. 

Every day look for something magical and beautiful. 

Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great! 

Quote: Well-being is associated with a positive mind. This is true at any age, regardless of your physical condition. 

Footnotes: 

1) “Don’t Trust Anyone Over the Age of 30”

2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers 

3) The Vietnam War Explained In 25 Minutes | Vietnam War Documentarych?v=7tNTh6KlXXU 

4) Baby Boomers Approach 65 – Glumly

5) IMAGINE. (Ultimate Mix, 2020) – John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band (with the Flux Fiddlers) HDww.youtube.com/watch?v=YkgkThdzX-8 

6) Oscar Wilde documentary

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