by Anna Brentwood
April 12, 2022
Ever run across memes or viral videos of those simple and positive affirmations?
“Live each day to the fullest”
Easier said than done, right? Who, in this peri-covid world, could deny that life has not become infinitely more challenging? No matter how devil-may-care you might be, flexible, organized, successful, how you arrange, plot and plan, how young or smart you are, no matter how much you think you are in control, you are not.
Yoga, hiking, spin classes and fortified vitamins (I’m talking to you 1,000,000 mg of vitamin D and platinum mega-pack 6000 daily), science and medicine might help us look, move and feel better on the outside, work longer, smarter and live longer lives, but whether you love technology or hate it, the truth is, the world as you knew it, the stable datums you grew up with, that our parents and grandparents were raised with, that we raised our kids with, no longer are. And, we are taxed, both literally and figuratively.
Forty might be the new thirty; fifty the new forty; sixty the new fifty and so on; but let me tell you this, it was much more fun growing up in the sixties than being in my sixties.
I don’t care what my eighty-year-old ex-hippie aunt and sixty-five-year-old cousin with thick spectacles, who goes to bed by eight thirty pm, mean when they say they don’t think of themselves as old. When your activities are limited by your body grumbling louder than Keith Moon of THE WHO drumming, and more years of life are behind you than in front of you, you ARE old. Being old in a time when the whole world is changing and not always for the better (bitcoin and what the heck are NFT’s), no matter how many down-dogs you do, or plant-based foods you eat, life is taxing. Not all sparkles and rainbows (though my nine-year-old granddaughter might disagree).
Not to be a total Debbie Downer. There are fantastic things about getting older too—being alive, senior discounts or as our local market says, ‘wisdom discounts’, and the wisdom and pride that comes with the lives, careers and relationships we have built.
Most of us strive to be more and better and are receptive to certain change.
Some have great gifts and all have some potential for greatness.
Many are advanced in their thinking and knowledge of spirit.
Most need to believe in something greater than themselves to thrive.
When we are young, we think we have forever and act accordingly.
Only through illness, hardship, or age do we realize how little control we actually do have and how short a lifespan can be.
Loss, struggle and change challenge all of us throughout our lives.
Hard lessons all—.
By now, many of us have learned physical bodies hurt as they age.
That loss is cumulative.
That we can process it but it never goes away.
That everything valued can be taken.
Everyone loved can be lost.
Everything achieved, no matter how heralded can be forgotten.
Individual lives and achievements can become a side note in a distant, distorted story and we get old too soon and wise too late.
All that said, I assume we each have acquired enough wisdom to know we have to take the bitter with the sweet in life. While I believe we are here as spiritual beings to learn, the most taxing things in life for me are the things that I cannot control like constant change and the way time speeds up the older we get.
I take comfort in the special people and animals I do have in my life, my work and my writing, which helps me process all my experiences and thoughts. I encourage everyone to find something they love to do and to do it as much as possible.
Keeping busy helps and so does remembering…
There is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
Whatever you are doing, do it with the confidence of a four-year-old in a batman t-shirt.
Be like a raven.
Collect shiny things, hop happily down the street, and for no apparent reason, scream loudly when you see your friends.
And look for the beauty in all things.
Writer Franz Kafka believed anyone who saw the beauty would never grow old.
Who knows, I don’t quite believe that, but maybe he’s right?
Anna Brentwood writes historical fiction. She is inspired to write about interesting characters whose lives take them on journeys we can all enjoy and perhaps learn something along the way. This former suburban Philly and California wife, mother, doting nany of three lives in one of Oregon’s wild, enchanted forests in a log home that includes a sassy collection of Flapper memorabilia, her ex-Navy Seal hubby, a menagerie of creatures that once included wolves, coyotes and a hawk. Currently they harbor two very pampered French bulldogs, one ornery parrot and outside a variety of birds, squirrels and chipmunks.