Yes, here we go again. This is a time of change.
Autumn is behind us and winter is here..with beautiful snowfalls and temperatures plummeting, prompting the temptation to hibernate. A whole year is ending as a new one begins, giving reflective souls an opportunity to review the past and re-envision the future. In addition, at the rate of 10,000 a day the Boomer generation arrives at a new age stage of 60, 65, or 70, surfacing the daunting questions about next chapter choices.
And then, there’s just what happens in a moment…
My 83-year-old friend, took a fall and injured his back. ‘Compression fracture,” the doctor said. “Three weeks of taking it VERY, VERY, easy.”
It’s clearly painful, and clearly temporary.
That being true, it’s still easy to ignore the surrounding emotional machinations around what might actually represent a deeper version of change from one expectation of aging to a more visceral experience of the reality of it.
–“I’ve never been really injured or sick, and now I really hurt. I’m perhaps now really an old man.”
–“I’ve always taken care of others, and now someone has to take care of me. I don’t like it, particularly as it potentially foretells my future.”
–“If I can’t take care of myself and can’t take care of others, am I now worthless and useless?”
And I, as his friend, who shouldered some of the care taking to a greater or lesser degree, have to also ask myself…”How am I set up to be taken care of in case of my own event? After all, at 78, I live gripping onto the very edge of physical independence with my condition of MS and scoliosis. Am I honoring the reality of my own decline with my life style choices?” For those of us aging consciously, in the moment of loss, whether it be permanent or temporary , we enter a new stage of how we live our life and assess our living. How do we deal with what may be a very significant transition in our lives?
–We find ourselves appropriately sad and angry about the impact of this event and what it suggests to us.
–We are newly aware of moving towards a real change in our life, with both the blessings and the distresses.
–And, it is becoming clear that our future “independence” once a source of great pride, is no longer realistic and has to shift to a cognizance of a community network in which “interdependence” is the hallmark.
Do we give ourselves permission to grieve our losses? Do we dare to accept our new reality, and love ourselves living it? What choices does it present to us? Where are the places we can talk about it?
I was laughing the other day having counted up my memberships in five supportive conversation groups for the over 55s. Today, I became deeply aware of why I have been inclined to both create these opportunities myself, and, join similarly enriching conversations led by others. In those circles, we get to engage in all of these important questions, and learn from each other while doing so. We attempt to explore the uncertainties of the terrain ahead and know we are not alone.
MY QUESTIONS FOR YOU:
—-In this reflective and transitionary space between the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, what major and minor changes have you experienced over the past 12 months?
—-How have you invited, and honored, and told the truth about the emotional journey that accompanies them?
—-How will you now review your vision about what it looks like for you to live fully, age gracefully, and die well?
—-What are the new choices you’ll make in order to bring those wishes to pass?
We might as well get used to saying “hello” to change after change in our lives. And, we better get used to honoring the all kinds of emotions that naturally accompany each and every one of them.