April 16

The best part of the art
of living is to know how to
grow old gracefully.

Eric Hoffer


Today's Meditation:

Aging isn't something that we all like to consider or discuss.  But we all do it, every day of our lives.  Not all of us grow old, but while we are alive, we're aging day be day.  And I think that the lack of discussing it leads, in a lot of ways, to us having more difficulty in accepting the fact that we're growing old, and leads to many people not being able to grow old gracefully, as Eric puts it.

We're all familiar with those people who are quite old, but who insist on wearing clothes that are made for people much, much younger than they.  And we know the people who are in their 60's but who insist on using the vernacular of young people of their day.  And at the risk of sounding judgmental--and judgment isn't the goal at all--these tendencies almost always make the older people look somewhat silly, if not downright ridiculous.  These people are unable and/or unwilling to accept the fact that they're growing older, so they try to demonstrate to others that they aren't growing older--that they're still young and cool--and they're taking all the possible grace out of their situation and replacing it with awkwardness and unrealistic actions.

One of the things that I know for sure is that young people like knowing older people who are comfortable with themselves, who aren't trying to be something they're not.  These people--the ones who are growing old gracefully--give them a sense of balance, someone to look up to, something to aspire to as they age themselves.  For this reason alone, it's important that we give them exactly what they need:  a role model in the art of aging.

This doesn't mean, of course, that we have to "resign" ourselves to growing old.  There's tons of fun to be had in the world no matter how old we are.  In our older years things can be even more fun when we've learned true appreciation.  We shouldn't limit ourselves as to what we can do or how we do it, but we definitely should keep an eye towards growing old gracefully, with dignity, peace of mind and heart, a lot of fun, and acceptance of who we are and just how we fit into the world.

Questions to consider:

Some people are unable to grow old gracefully because they're bitter and angry at the world.  What might they do to make their worlds more pleasant?

Why do some people have so much trouble accepting the fact that they're growing old?

How can we be sure that we are growing old gracefully?  What are some of the most important indications?

For further thought:

How can anyone be anything but their age?  The trick is to love your age.  Love it when you're young and strong and foolish.  Love it when you're old and wise.  Love it in the middle when the challenges come and you can solve some of them, maybe most of them.  If you love your age, you'll never go around wishing you were some other age.

Miss Lucy (qtd. by Arthur Gordon)


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