|Not Any More!|
At a recent celebration of life service, I saw friends from ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. One person after another got up to share memories of the ‘departed.’ Relatives, lovers, close friends, acquaintances each shared a slice of the story. The sharings ranged from a couple words of love and tears to ’s prepared 1000 word text. Yes, funerals are often old home week. The finality of this life is inescapable in this setting, whereas most of the time we ignore it, hid from it, and deny it. It is a coping mechanism that allows us to get on with ‘the pursuit of happiness.’ The experience got me thinking about time and for us Boomers and the Rolling Stones, time is not on our side.
We’ve all heard the catch phrases about aging; ‘you’re only as old as you think’ ‘I still think of myself as young’ ‘someday I’m gonna…’. As unspoken partner to our cultural denial and fear of death, we resist aging as if there is something wrong with it. Just as we act like death is a mistake. When we think clearly the truth can’t be refuted. It's not all bad news. Recognizing and confronting aging can be liberating. When we cast the discerning eye of truth to the situation, we likely see a sign flashing If not now, when? I had a small reminder of the passage of time recently. Attending a late night concert by an old music hero from the 70s (Dan Hicks), there was a hint of marijuana in this 55+ crowd just like back in the day. I had no thought of age, until I left suffering from lower back pain. Never had that thirty years ago.
The sun shines brightly, the street in front of me is being resurfaced, and I am thinking about aging. And the end of this life. Such a sad and somber topic for a generation who virtually made a religion out of youth. Counting our years is not popular with my peers. I visited a friend from high school (we graduated 1968) and he said he doesn’t feel old. I don’t either til I look in the mirror. How to reconcile the inner self concept with the external reality? Is it necessary? Can one live in two worlds, feeling young and being ‘older?’ Dancing with the two; physical aging and inner youth maximizes this time and feeds fulfillment. Can you imagine being on your death bed and finally realizing that you missed important stuff because you thought you were still young and had plenty of time?
A recent survey from individuals on their death beds yielded powerful insight into what is really important. Staying fixated on the illusion of perpetual youth can prevent one from doing what is really important. We’ve all thought it, ‘Someday I’d like to ….’ The interviewees knew there was not much time left and all they could do was look back with bare honesty. Some of their regrets we’ve heard before; I would have spent less time at the office or I would have kept up with old friends. The comments were not surprising but they were stark in exposing deep feelings. The one that hit me the hardest was the proverbial bucket list. Things I’ve always wanted to do.
|Living the Dream in Sayulita, Mexico|
Dusting off old dreams has been a practice of mine in the last couple years. For example, when I was thirty I had a dream to play in a reggae band on a tropical island. But I put that idea on the back shelf in a psychic box called Someday. I buckled down to practical life and did a professional career, saved for retirement, and got the gold watch. Pulling that plan off the back shelf and checking it out has been a stark, in your face, wake up call that I say to everyone in their 20s and 30s. Do it now or make tangible plans to do it. If you wait til much later, sometimes the person who had that dream has changed or the world has changed. It may no longer fit. At my manifestation group the other day, a woman in her 30s said she wants to live in France for a years. My response ? Make it happen this year.