Friday, 06 December 2013
Journal Entry: The Next Step in My Old Age
All we know for sure is that life is short. Or, more likely, it's only old people who know that.
When I was young, in my 20s and contemplating my future, to be 70 someday felt like an eternity, even two eternities - so far off that there was no reason to wonder about it.
But from where I am now at 72, I can close my eyes and feel 20 as near in my mind's eye as yesterday. I have grown old enough now to “grok” that life doesn't last very long.
Yet I am not so old – nor sickly – that death feels close by as I expect it to feel in ten or 15 years should I be given that much time (or will I be as wrong about that as I was at 20 about the nature of longevity)?
And unlike the callow youth I was half a century ago, so cavalierly certain there would be so much time for everything that I didn't need a plan, now I want to consider the best possible way to use the rest of my life.
I don't mean anything as simple as a bucket list of destinations, events or experiences. If there are to be any of those, they should grow naturally out of what I am working to decide now.
The question – a question, anyway – is this: on what information or knowledge or notions or convictions should I base my choices? There are only two or three things, in addition to the brevity of life, I know for sure:
• Yielding to the truth of what lies at the end of everyone's life journey gives me the freedom to live as fully and intensely as I want.
• Even as death closes in, there is no reason life cannot be made pleasurable and productive.
• We are each of us on our own which is the reason we must take care of one another.
• If I live longer than another year or two, I will need to revise these choices as life pulls me in directions I am still too young to imagine.
This is as far as I've gotten. Interim goals elude me for now but I know that when the last of my days are nigh (I would consider it a blessing to be aware), I want to believe I have done the best I could manage, and be comfortable knowing it is time to go.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Thomas Moore: Never the Hero