From The Baby Boomers and Generation X to The Millenniums, it seems hip these days to classify ourselves as falling into one of these age categories.
Each is characterized by certain social trends and cultural motifs.
Fair enough, I guess.
But the overriding question for me is: Does anyone really enjoy growing old? Or are we still seduced by the marketing moguls who want to sell us everything from Dr. Oz anti-aging pills, to canned oxygen boosters to stall the ticking clock?
At 51 years young, I’m not even sure that I’m qualified to comment on this. But here goes:
The other day a youngster from the “millennial generation” (trite I know) asked me, “If you could pause your aging at a certain age and just stay that age always, what age would you choose?”
I was stumped for a few seconds, and then responded: “Could you check back with me in 40 years? I think I need to do a little more living before I can answer that!” And secondly, I internally pondered, to hypothetically pause our aging at a certain age, is to perhaps negate the ever-expanding horizons of maturation and spiritual growth that attend every milestone along the way.
Let’s reflect on this.
My parents got married in their early to mid 40s. Consequently, for the most part, I grew up around older relatives. In fact my four grandparents had all passed by the time I was born. And this was, for me, a missing link in my early childhood. All the other kids my age seemed to have grandparents, and this was a relationship I would never know.
That said, in many regards, my parents’ older siblings became my grandparents. I learned to love and respect them for all their ancient, quirky ways. The words, wisdom, stories and artifacts they shared from their generation enriched my evolving sensibility as I spent time in their company.
There is a lot to be said for inter-generational relationships. They meant something when I was a kid; I’m not so sure they mean as much to kids these days. 21st century gadgetry and over-extended schedules, would seem to curtail the quality time kids could spend with grandparents.
And that’s a shame.
If we are honest with ourselves, I think we would all agree that every stage of, and relationship in, life holds lessons to be learned, wisdom to be garnered and emotional maturity to benefit from.
So why wish—hypothetically or otherwise—to forego such valuable life experiences?
As they age, our bodies become a treasure trove of somatic wisdom; every wrinkle, ache and pain, reveals something of the frailty of the human condition—our vulnerability, susceptibility and ephemeral natures.
And, as spiritual beings in physical shells that we’ll outgrow, I believe it is important that we find our peace with that—that we learn to love the innate dignity, elegance and beauty of the aging body, rather than botoxing, drugging and coercing it into youthful submission.
In terms of spiritual growth and the elevation of human consciousness, it would seem to me, from the ragged state of moral chaos our world is in at this time, that (individually, collectively and culturally) we have a heck of a lot of growing still to do!
And for most souls, this will take many, many lifetimes. So chill on the stalling of the aging process! Until we reach the status of “old soul” and no longer need to reincarnate for the completion of life lessons, we may as well make the most of every experience and epiphany our lifetimes grace us with.
For those who reach the end of a long life, their journey and life experiences culminate in a new time of humility, acceptance and wonder. This is a time to humbly accept the care of others, and the letting go of physical vitality once enjoyed. It is a time to enjoy the passing on of wisdom and spiritual fruitfulness, born of a life fully lived, savored and experienced. It is a time of wonder and transition as we open to the spiritual journey ahead.
So no, I’m not one who wants to cheat, stall or deride the aging process. The journey is too rich and I’m having too much fun along the way!
I hope you are too.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Gerard Murphy
Editor: Travis May