The search for the joy of aging gratefully is ever-present.
I visualize a basket, a cornucopia of sorts, overflowing with the abundance of our later years. I see all the reasons I rushed to retirement: to have ample time to write and laze in bed with a cup of coffee and a good book, to stay up late with friends or by myself, to lose track of the days of the week, and to perhaps make life a little better or a little more enjoyable for someone else.
These last few years, during COVID, war overseas, and our political and civil disturbances, my basket feels depleted. So much feels shrouded in derision and lack. Oh, there’s plenty of stuff there but it’s all negative, depressing, dystopic, or just plain yucky. In addition to the COVID, war, and political headliners, we’ve got inflation, drought, and hate in general. I look around in history for a time like this and I don’t see it. It’s been bad before but with this much stuff? Really?
Are we still in a place to age gratefully?
My unequivocal response
Despite the state of our world, can we still say loving ‘ohhs’ and ‘ahhs’ and marvel out loud at the sound of giggling babies or cats meowing their way into yet another treat? Will a brilliantly blue sky or the peachiest of peaches bring satisfaction in the days ahead? I hear friends talk of being tired … tired of being warriors. Tired of rallying self-talks to ‘keep going,’ ‘deep breath,’ and battle cries of ‘you can do this!’
Well, friends, I say yes, we still have so much to be grateful for.
Indeed, it may take some effort to scrounge around for the overflowing goodness we’re used to, but there is a ton of good stuff out there for us … for everyone. We’re still living in an abundant world of peace and love. Do not despair. We may need a mind shift away from the negative that comes at us from every angle, but we have the minds to do this work.
We’re capable to helping those who might be struggling more during this time. Elders are now expressing, “We’ll never see enough peace and joy again because problems in our world won’t get resolved during our lifetimes.” These seniors, however, will always have a choice whether to choose to let the ugliness and strife get them down and basically give up or they can ignore it all and dive into binge-watching daytime TV, or …
They can spend their energies looking for and cultivating the goodness available to them.
There are still those precious laughing babies and darling kitties. There is still nature with all its glorious aspects. And there are still the human interactions that satisfy and feed our souls.
That cup of coffee and nest of a comfy bed still exist for my pleasure. While nature may be crankier than in past decades, she still shares her brilliant days and nights providing magical wonder for my awe. Outstanding books and movies and, yes, some creative TV shows, still abound for me to seek out and devour. Each of us has our unique gifts to share.
Are you not grateful for the simpler aspects of our lives?
Are you not able to find at least one really good part of your day that comforts you?
Have you continued to provide joy and fellowship to another in need … for which they are probably grateful?
We are rich, we are bountiful, we have much to be grateful for.
Yes, we are called on to be more of a warrior these days, and I will happily choose that task if it’s required to stay in gratitude.