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.
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.
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.
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.
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.