“They say that as you get older you gradually lose your mind. What they don’t tell is you probably won’t miss it very much.” – – unknown
I turned sixty-three years old today. Long gone are the days when people would look at me and say “Gee, you look like you’re in your thirties.” I’ve watched technology grow by leaps and bounds and struggled to keep up with it. I’ve learned more and more deeply that “honest politician” is an oxymoron. And I’ve come to believe that even if we destroy the earth, Keith Richards will still be floating around somewhere.
I’ve heard it said many times including by my friend Dave, “Growing old ain’t for sissies.” Indeed. There are pros and cons to life as an aging human being. I don’t recover as quickly as I used to when I go for a long run. I don’t even run as frequently lately due to injuries becoming more frequent. The list goes on, but so does the one for the pros of getting older. I feel a wisdom that after so many years of life feels immovable. Like it can only be added to. And as I told my chiropractor the other day, If there was any one thing I could go back and change it would be to somehow grasp the deepening sense of gratitude and peace that accompanies me much sooner. It appears that as the form of my body is diminishing, the content is growing younger and more full.
One can go into the self-help sections of book stores and see scores of books titles about “being here now” until the nausea becomes too much. It’s been that way for years. If you ask me the actual experience of doing the same is beyond words. “Being” has always looked to me like a directive: be in god. Add a comma. Human, be in God. The phrase doesn’t say to seek or to look “out there” anywhere. “Out there” is the manifestation of thought. Maybe pre-scripted. It will pass, good, bad or indifferent. What I looked for so many years has been in the last place I would think to find it. The “journey” has no distance. All of this is so much more pleasant to muse on than my body falling apart, or how I’ll eventually die. And the best part is that its real.
I’ll kid no one – if I get a hang nail I want to call 9-1-1. Physical pain is no friend of mine. I still remember the look of intense pain on my mom’s face after she died. Its become quite obvious to me that some gateways to leaving the earth are accompanied by reams of hurt unless the person is medicated heavily. On the other side of that lies the attention of my curiosity. Bypass the pain and I might have left years ago. (Now, I’m just musing – don’t call the white coats on me.) What lies beyond is the perpetual carrot on a stick.
I was chatting via skype with a co-worker of mine yesterday and at one point she said “Thirty-one years of sobriety – I’m so proud of you!” My response was “aw shucks, it was nothin.'” I had to explain to her that I’m rather proud of the milestone I hit just a few weeks ago and I was just kidding. I went on to finish part of my answer with “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life no matter what I’ve accomplished or not accomplished.” If the statement was true I would have left off the last part. I am not my accomplishments, yet there is certainly nothing wrong with having goals. At age sixty-three I haven’t even gotten started on the writing career I would love to have. I’ve spent hours fantasizing about cranking out a pair of articles a week for a newspaper or magazine. Like many I still think of financial security. I have no aspirations to be a millionaire but if money fell out of the sky I sure wouldn’t turn it down. I’m talking more about having fulfillment in a world of form in which my physical self begs to do something meaningful and that I enjoy. That I’m in-joy doing. I’m so grateful to know now that choosing joy can be moment to moment. That’s a lot of responsibility. And I get to pick the vehicle.
Every now and then I go in for a few therapy sessions to get my batteries charged, so to speak. During one of my last visits a few months ago, the gentleman I was seeing said “Maybe its time to start thinking about your legacy.” I had to look up the word just now. So many of the definitions are tied up in money or what I consider misuse of the word “will.” If I’m to have any concern about legacy, it would be to confirm that I’m affecting lives for the better. In the movie “Bucket List” there is a scene in which Morgan Freeman (Geez, he’s everywhere. Even in this article) asks Jack Nicholson rhetorically if he’s brought joy into the world of others. Nicholson’s character is stuck for an answer. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s bringing it to Freeman’s character right at that moment.
Aging is getting me closer to my ultimate goal. One Course In Miracles lesson states “My only goal today is God.” It doesn’t matter what “God” means to anyone or what word is used. When I first got sober I frequently saw a guy at meetings who said he was an atheist. In my memory he’s one of the more spiritually developed people I’ve ever met. Perception of a higher being is up to the individual. What I’m saying is that we all carry a capacity for whatever that is to us, and its our choice whether or not we focus on it and bring it out in the world. Want to change the world? You already are. Your life affects mine. Mine affects yours. We are bringing each other back home. I’m a year closer to my end, and yet a year closer to my Beginning. Thank you for the lift.