"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, July 5, 2012

On Growing Old

The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life. (Muhammad Ali)

We grow neither better nor worse as we grow old, but more like ourselves. (May Lamberton Becker)

You know you're old when you've lost all your marvels. (Merry Browne)

My birthday is right around the corner, ... Yep, every July it comes up to remind me that life indeed does have a beginning and an ending. July 10 causes me to survey my life and wonder... how I got to be this age. Seems like yesterday I was a young adult with the world at my fingertips and now, alas, I'm viewing my productive years as getting shorter. 

If all goes well, God willing I should have another good 25-35 years left, but we all know there are no guarantees. I'm maybe a bit more aware of this than most because 23 years ago I lost my health to CFS after a bout with mono and have never fully recovered my energy level. I've learned to adjust and live a full life despite the limitations but it's a constant reminder that we are all vulnerable.

Life is a gift. Every day holds precious moments never to be repeated again. Birthdays give us the opportunity to take stock of our lives and our goals and address them. While there is something to be said for long term gratification, if we are not careful the years can get away from us.

Recently I read a book called "The Four Desires" by Rod Stryker. It was chock full of ideas for finding out what you really want out of life; what matters to you. One of his exercises was to project yourself into the future at the end of a long full life. What did that life look like? What do you want people to say about you? What goals did you accomplish? How did you change your world for the better? What would you be most proud of doing? 

Some people are able to look back at their lives with gratitude and completeness. As they enter the next phase of eternity, they go knowing that their lives were everything they were supposed to be. There is a deep peace in their hearts.

In contrast, how sad for those who go to their death with regrets and pain about relationships gone sour or squandering their resources and abilities.

Since we don't really know when our end will come, today would be a good day to get into your "fullness" mode. Is there a trip that you promised your husband or wife you would take with them? Don't wait, do it. Are your kids waiting for something from you? Do it now, they will soon be grown and out of the house. Do you want to go back to school and get that degree? Make that phone call. Do you need a life change such as moving to a different state or pursuing a different career? Start the ball rolling.

Let's make a promise to ourselves and each other that we will start to make the most out of every day, every hour and every minute of our lives. Your birthday is just around the corner too! Wouldn't it be great to reach another year and say "I lived this year to the fullest and I am completely content with where I'm at right now". It's your call.  Take that first step today... it's good for the soul!

No comments:

Post a Comment