“Our entire life … consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.”― Jean Anouih
My friends and I are giving each other a gift that I wish we had known enough – and been brave enough – to give earlier. We are giving the gift of honesty. Because the older we get, the more we understand that we may need help. And we want to be there for each other…not in any superficial way…but in every way that is necessary for us to survive physically, mentally, and emotionally. We can no longer afford to play nice. We must play honest.
Lately we have a lot of conversations about how to be where we are in our lives. Is it a late-life crisis? It is just like grabbing an electric fence and not letting go. The jolts of reality keep coming and coming.
In my cohort we’ve all been met with some sort of life-changing event. Loss of a loved one, a scary diagnosis, an activity-limiting ailment, or just some new dietary or physical discomfort. And our ranks are shrinking. Now we’re in the midst of a Pandemic. It causes us to look closely at our lives.
What have we accomplished? What is left to do? Have we lived our purpose? Can we let go of what was and enjoy what is and what is to come? Where is our joy? We wonder about own contribution now and in the time ahead. Many conversations in our post-retirement years have been about family and our new-found place in those families.
Adjusting to our new position is a challenge. Being a respected elder does not always atone for not being a vital force. And then there’s that shock that comes intermittently – it’s almost over! I don’t think any of us have a great fear of dying, but it is still a harsh reality to face. But face it we do. Together. Sometimes laughing, sometimes in tears, but showing up for each other in the day-to-day work of being old.
As a practicing Vedantin, I actually look forward to the end.
This appears on first glance to be very admirable and peaceful path to follow. “Vedantins believe in the harmony of all religions, the divinity of all that exists and the oneness of existence. Vedanta is based mainly on the Upanishads, or the final part of each of the Vedas (Hindu religious texts) that represent the spiritual contemplations. Vedantins don’t typically focus on traditional rituals, choosing instead to concentrate on self-discipline, meditation and connection with Spirit.”