“Old age isn’t for sissy’s,” my Mom always said.
And at 87 with Alzheimer’s she should know, though she started telling me this long ago.
I look at my life. I don’t own much. I don’t have much. But I have my health, a sense of ease and peace with who and how I am. I cannot claim a lot of regret. Grief and I are good friends, but so are joy and I.
I have been visiting my 87 year old parents this week. I feel nothing but compassion for the elderly.
The body stops working as well as it did. The mind is not as keen. Yet, our needs for love and hope remain stronger than ever before. Some say we get tougher. I find at 54 my skin is thicker maybe but my feelings are stronger, deeper and I am more sensitive than when I was younger.
I expect more of others and I expect less.
On the one hand I believe in the basic goodness of people and on the other hand I find most of us are self-centered, self-absorbed and self-serving.
As we should be…
So this week surrounded by friendly faces many of whom are my parent’s age and older, I find a sense of relief that life can be full and happy with age. And I find a deep sense of respect for anyone who manages to live into old age.
In age, we look back on what we have done and live for the day—the next horizon has heaven in view, that works for you. In age we tend to be able to do less though we have more to give. In age we find meaning in what has been and our hope lives in not dying alone, and being able to still go out and join in the community, wherever we are.
Now this is my limited perspective at 54. My parents are elderly. I have taught seniors yoga and know the awareness they have can be diminished but also know with much self-care a keen mind goes a long way and an agile body allows us to keep doing what we want.
I do believe we do our best, whatever that is. Blessings never stop. Life keeps us working. Challenges keep coming.
I think I will live a very long life.
I have no kids, no retirement, no money and now, no partner. But I never give up and won’t ever throw in the towel on my goals to live a fulfilled life until I find the light that comes with the final exhale.
To be able to love all our elders is a duty we could all embrace.
We all grow old. Let’s show heart and compassion for seniors. Realize much of the time they feel invisible because many don’t see them or acknowledge their individuality. See each one.
Because ultimately that is what we all want: to be seen.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons