Age is not an outrage. It's the one and only thing that we all know we are guaranteed to experience in our lifetimes. This 19th century poem by William Wordsworth reminds us that we can see stars only in the evening, though the stars are in the sky during the daylight. In the same way, we can appreciate some things only in our older years, and miss out on the knowledge of certain things when we are young:
"Age is opportunity
than youth itself,
though in another dress.
As the evening twilight
The sky is filled
with stars invisible by day.
Wordsworth's view of aging is in sharp contrast with that of Dylan Thomas :
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
What kind of a sadist was Dylan Thomas, anyway, to torture his poor old dad on that man's deathbed in such a horrible way? When I sat by my own dying father's bedside, I told him he was loved. I told him he did a wonderful job with his life. I told him that he could die happy. I hope my children do that for me.
I think the better of the two strategies is to make friends with aging and death, to find and appreciate the beauty in it, to see the opportunities there. It's a mistake to regard aging as a failure or malfunction. We should recognize it as the culmination of our work. Many of my clients are finding new ways to do that all the time. I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment box below, or send me an email via the Contact Page on this website.