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Sunday, October 4, 2009


"Growth in old age" says Joan Chittister, "requires the curiosity of a five-year-old and the confidence of a teenager." Change is the very essence of life. It comes whether we like it or not and it usually is not change itself that is so challenging as it is our attitude and ability to embrace it. At least it is for me and others I talk to about such things.

I suspect that the second half of life can liberate us like no other stage of life. With no child-rearing, career-building, fortune-hunting duties to occupy our time and energy the external striving is over. We don't have to prove ourselves anymore nor look for approval. Yet it continues to challenge everyday. Neither is it "a time of rampant narcissism. It is the point of life in which everything we have learned up until this point can now be put to use."

Can we embrace a life that has no titles, careers, or need to climb the social ladders of earlier life? That is the question, isn't it? We can be whatever we want to be. We are now free to do things that have value for us as individuals.

The only requirement is that we first consciously choose this new life and way of being. This is not always easy as this newness requires a commitment to change. And perhaps change in ways that we have long resisted. To be more authentic, to say what we really feel and think. To do what we really want to do we first must embrace the idea of change. This clears our view and sharpens our focus to see life with all it's glorious possibilities.

I hope we will all enjoy the journey!

1 comment:

joe_bertagnolli said...

Thank you both once again for your informed, thoughtful eloquence regarding intentional celebration of life and the aging experience. It's a pleasure to read such positive words articulating the beautiful perspective of awareness and growing, even as we grow older. In our current culture, far too much emphasis is often placed on the negative elements of loss as we age. I find that the wisdom acquired with age allows increasing opportunities for mindful appreciation of all aspects of life- big or small, pleasurable or challenging. In order to savor life fully as age unfolds, we must indeed greet all the inevitable surprises with the wonder and openness inherent in our childhood selves. I am posting a link to a sweet story of two elders who never lost their openness, and thus found a precious surprise bringing them together in peace and happiness.