Bill says we need things pulling us toward life, into life, toward tomorrow. I know for me, that’s true. It may be more important as we grow “older”, simply because we have all been taught to believe in decline and death. We have been taught to fear, even think in dread anticipation, a day when something will be “less than par” and to expect the worst. And the more we see this around us, or even just in our own minds, the more references we have for it…and the more references we have, the more likely it is to become a belief.
Yet, I simply can’t be the only person who grew up with references for people growing older and stronger, older and wiser, older and happier. I believe a lot of our problem is purely how we interpret what we see.
For example, in my early 30‘s no one would have suggested that it was “old age” that caused me to spend nearly a week in bed after each all-day outing two or three hours driving or riding. No one even suspected that it was “normal and natural” to be that tired and achy. Yet, when my 70 year old husband goes out and has a great day shopping, riding around and enjoying the scenery, he sometimes feels tired the next day and goes back to bed. He’s not at par, his thoughts not so clear…he needs rest. And the general consensus is that “it’s normal and natural” because of his “age”. If he buys into that, what will be the result?
Maybe it has a little to do with what Bill said? In my 30‘s, I had very little drawing me toward “tomorrow”. At least, I felt I had no guarantees that a happy time would occur. Back then, I was surrounded by negative people who bickered amongst themselves, argued, nay-sayed every project I put on the drawing board and whined about everything from their health and finances to the way the neighbors lived. I always felt better in the evenings…when my children were home from school…children who were full of the excitement of life, play and “what’s next?”. Then something “big” would come along, like visiting a friend in Nashville, and I felt better…until after I got home. Would life have been different if I had budgeted for a visit every month? Would life have been happier if I removed all the negative elements and replaced them with positive ones?
And maybe it’s “normal and natural” at any age to feel tired and/or “under the weather” after you have a great day, then come home and realize there’s not a lot going on. Or if you feel there are not enough resources to create something good. And isn’t it a sad thing when all we can manage to do is sit, look around and think about good times past and how the acquisition of money to have more good times is taking away the time we must have for those good times? When we reach “a certain age” we begin to be left out at times by well-meaning people who simply cannot see what’s right before their eyes – that our vitality has not lessened, our knowledge and experience are valuable, and our sense of humor (if we have one) is quicker, more intense and more twisted than anything they have yet experienced.
I wonder how much of our own thinking and expectation contributes to our individual down-fall? If Smiling Joe comes home from a great day and expects to spend the next day alone because his favorite hang-out has shut down their morning hours and his new bride works nights and has to sleep late, then leave for work, instead of enjoying companionship, leaf-raking and laughter, might that be the cause of needing to go back to bed? (Especially since the need for more rest doesn’t happen every time he goes out!) And if I have a wonderful day, riding twelve hours on the bike with him to Kentucky and back, could it affect me physically if I come home and feel down because we don’t have any real plans for our next ride?
If it turns out to be true that the body “gives out”, I cannot help but wonder just how much of that is solely due to media, culture and rejection/isolation from the lively group we were once part of? Each thought and feeling we have creates a chemistry and an energy. Every belief we have is based purely on thoughts and feelings, and we created those beliefs solely on interpretation of references. How much of our own “planning for old age and decline” is merely sensible and how much is creating that decline?
Yes, I strongly believe Bill is right – we need good things drawing us toward tomorrow, the future, into life and the living of it!