A Life Traveled Thus Far

After my friend Jean over at her Snoring Dog blog posted an exceptional post on the subject of “older and not necessarily wiser” I felt an urge, not to disagree, but to offer another perspective that carries I think a modicum of truth for many who have been hanging around for a while, that is when they’re not actually acting out Jean’s image of some elders.

More and more everyday I seem to become aware, reluctantly, of how age is taking its natural course with my body, mentally and physically.  Thought retention capabilities have diminished considerably.   Points of interests or why I even walked from one location in the house to the other a lot of times have to be forced to the forefront from whatever cerebral cortex crevice they fell in to.   They no longer come in measurements of milliseconds like a synaptic transmission but in more piecemeal style as if trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together.

I have at least developed some sympathy for our 15-year old Schnauzer-mix from this since he too doesn’t seem to know where he is most of the time.  I’m concerned that he’s on his last leg.  He is in the winter of his life while I can at least feel that I am currently lingering in late Autumn, the season of life just before even greater bodily functions take their toll on internal organs and a chassis that have sustained me for over six decades now.

My 15-year old Schnauzer mix has seen better days and perhaps is on his last leg, as we all eventually find ourselves faced with.

As I look about too I see images in nature that reflect how I feel to some degree.  Like the trees that are losing their leaves, the thinness of my greying pate becomes more apparent as I comb through it each day.

The thinning branches of a my front yard Post Oak in autumn

And though standing and walking upright once I work out the kinks in my joints after rising each morning, this piece of firewood, set to be consumed in my chimenea later, reflects a posture that I can identify with.  It will undergo the process I have chosen after I breathe my last – cremation.

Like the curve in this piece of firewood our bodies become susceptible to such deformities as we age.

 

I do enjoy the fall season and even though it has come late this year, the changing colors of the broad-leaf trees stimulate the visual senses with their transformations.  The  maple leaves are especially colorful and are turning a bright red, which compares to my rough, ruddy red complexion that has become more enhanced with time.

  

The red hues of autumn

But there still remains a part of me that is perhaps more alive now than at any other time in my near 64 years.   My sense of who I am and what role I play in the big scheme of things seems more acute and there’s a wisdom that generates a fire in my soul unlike any time in my youth.

Like the flames in my chimenea there also exists a fire in my aging soul regarding life’s lessons

I worry less about the small stuff that takes up too much room in younger people’s lives, based on what gets posted on the social media they are wired to.  I’m more at peace at the prospect of what will transpire for me upon death, convinced as I am now that if there is an after life, it will be nothing like the fantasies that religious fundamentalists have contrived over the ages.  I’m more inclined to value Steven Covey’s view that “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey,”  though I must confess, it is the corporeal life that I am most familiar with.

If I could live it all over I would do some things different but that is only possible if we know how our lives will turn out in the first place.  So why waste time wishing for the impossible.  I’ve survived this long in good part from my wits and avoidances as well as luck and birthright.  I’ve made some sacrifices but probably fewer of them than I have acted on self-interests.  Not necessarily a bad thing but surely as a reflex rather than as an adherence to an ideological mindset.

Perhaps I have been the most fulfilled when I have come out of hard times and suffering to learn that what I thought would be my undoing only broadened my vision for my life, giving me greater control of the externals that are forced on all of us like raising kids, holding down a job you’re not especially fond of or avoiding conflicts and conforming to norms that you had no part in forming.

It all seems so topsy-turvy to me how time will diminish the physical aspects of our humanity while enhancing characteristics and giving us mental tools that would have come in handy at the beginning of life’s journey rather than at the end.  So here’s hoping that it’s not all a cruel joke by the gods and that there is a continuance of our journey that transcends the limitations of this world.

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9 responses to “A Life Traveled Thus Far

  1. My achy 57 year old self appreciates this lovely post today! Like you, I find that I am gradually becoming less combative and more accepting, even as my joints and muscles (not to mention the brain) begin to show their age.
    Thanks!

    • Yes, the peace that comes from knowing that you needn’t worry about things that used to concern you so much is such a great relief, allowing more time as we age to enjoy and appreciate the real things in life that we too often overlooked before.

  2. Perhaps a fair amount of us older folks have more wise moments than we did when we were younger. Once in a while, we’ll betray our years and do something foolish. But, for me, when I do, it’s not nearly as serious or long-lasting in its repercussions. I have what I have through years of experience in failure and I know I wouldn’t be this person today without those. I own them – I can’t celebrate all of them – yet.

    Wonderful post about a life’s journey. You have so much to teach others and I do hope you’re sharing your wisdom.

    I adore your dog. I know her remaining years will be filled with love.

    • You’re right of course Jean. It is the education we get from our trials and errors that allow us now to move more confidently in our journey. Stupid doesn’t disappear completely but it is more removed I think than during our impetuous youth and accepting our f— ups rather than denying them feels more settling as we mature.

  3. Wow…that was heavy-duty! I’m feeling a lot of the same things at age 65. But also feel very much alive and creative. I’m finding that at this stage of life, life is what you make it.

  4. I do intend to have a long talk with God about all the things he got wrong. It’s clear that life is wasted on the young. Being ageless, he musta not got that one. Aleve is my new best friend. Keeps me motoring.

    • “I do intend to have a long talk with God about all the things he got wrong.”

      Well you may have trouble getting to him/her to ask questions with everybody laying prostrate before him repeating hosannahs over and over again, according to the book of Revelations at least. :-)

  5. “My sense of who I am and what role I play in the big scheme of things seems more acute and there’s a wisdom that generates a fire in my soul unlike any time in my youth”

    Brilliantly put! Brilliantly true!

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