David, it could be said it's outrageous that you were up posting at 6:58 this sleepy Saturday morning! ;) I've been reflecting on life's course and the different measures applied as we observe ourselves and each other. As we age, various expectations arise culturally, philosophically, or within unique family systems. In my therapist practice, I notice my patients of various ages judging themselves and others based on criteria they've gathered somewhere in their arrays of life experience. I find myself analyzing in search of where they got it! A client will share their view on a loved ones religious practice as silly for their age. Or they will explain that at their age, they now know political pursuits are a waste of time. Or one may dismiss falling in love as merely youthful folly. And I wonder, is spirituality something one owns in youth as a gift from family, or a complex and unpredictable development one discovers in elder years? Do they attribute the wisdom of political cynicism to youth or age because of their personally disappointing experience? Do they think it's naive to believe in romantic love at their age because someone convinced them of the futility of it? Everyone is different! Each of these examples can also be applied in the opposite! And yet it's dangerously easy to blindly fall into the trap that "At my age, I've learned how things really are. I know how I should be, and how others should be." I've learned to be wary when I hear myself or others expressing this. And I smile when my sixteen year-old imparts his learned wisdom to me regarding spiritual philosophy, politics, or relationships. I remember! We know it all at sixteen! Wait, we figure it out at thirty! No, wisdom is achieved in our forties.. Oh, now I understand everything that's truly important becomes clear after retirement. Right?If anything is true, it's that we must not let life's passing time and any age we get to experience to fetter our minds or courage to explore. I'm with you. Authenticity! Even when it's "outrageous"!
Joe, thank you for your thought provoking post. In this culture we seem to have this ingrained in us that we must be a certain way. "Just act your age!" is a common response to people who act differently than the expectation. And yet, when asked what is means to 'Act your age!" no one seems to be able to answer. This may be the biggest hurdle for individuals who want to continue to develop emotionally and spiritually in the second half. If it is true that we are never more different than we are in the current moment, why not celebrate, explore and even honor those delicious differences?
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