Saturday, September 3, 2016

15 Realities That Come With Getting Old

I almost titled this post "15 Realties That Come With Aging," but realized "aging" is a minced word. What we're talking about here is what nobody -- at least nobody in contemporary America -- ever wants to talk about: getting old.

We have lots of ways to circumvent the topic. We become cougars, or long-distance runners, or the most interesting man in the world, or wise women and wise women and (blessedly) wise women.

But what about old men and women ? Nobody seems to want to be "old." We get oldER, or we "age," "get on in years," and become "not as young as we used to be." And yet, with a lot of luck, we'll get beyond all of those and, quite simply, get old.

Sayings like: "Age is just a number" or "You're only as old as you feel" are the wisdom of the "New Age majority." But when you "get old" you know this stage of life is different. After all, everybody has been a child, a teenager, a twenty-something, or middle-aged. After that, we use other ways to describe our point in the generational time-line. But somewhere along the way, some of us are lucky enough to get old. Here's what that lucky group might tell you.

Fifteen realities await those who "get old."

1. Easily discern, but can't tolerate posturing, bravado, shallowness.

2. Highly sensitive to energies, both negative and positive.

3. Realize that contemporary society repudiates wisdom of experience.

4. Accept that we will be dismissed by society based on age alone.

5. Acutely aware that, like it or not, we are captive in our physical bodies.

6. See the futility of the "forever young movement."

7. Know that, as we age, few people see us and even fewer understand us.

8. Struggle with a growing sense of physical vulnerability.

9. Face a growing sense of "losing," including many we have known longest and best.

10. Understand that, as we move to death, younger adults seek greater distance from us.

11. Bent to pondering WHY people are mean, destructive, evil, prejudiced, intolerant.

12. Increasingly value the natural: animals, plants, nature, the unvarnished.

13. Believe that we have learned a great deal about life on earth, and yet almost nothing about the universe.

14. Experience a deepening sensitivity to children, including what they notice, see, and feel.

15. Embrace a growing certainty that organized religion has nothing whatsoever to do with truth and is, in fact, an impediment to man's ability to live a loving life.

Finally, I share the following quote with you, along with many other exquisite poems that say so much about being old.

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made.
 -- ROBERT BROWNING, "Rabbi ben Ezra"

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