“… old age is a place we have never been. We may see it up close as our parents age, but we will never know what it’s like until we’re there.”
The quote comes from a piece I just read, a post by Paul Staley at the KQED Perspectives site. Staley describes a conversation that he had with his father about dying (and living). Contemplating the end of life –mulling over the cycle of life — is one of the most interesting aspects of life as an adult child. The more I pitch in to assist my parents, the more I find myself considering the fragility of our lives, realizing that I am not really that much younger than my parents. I’ve never felt as close to the aging period of my life as I do right now, despite the fact that I have some distance to travel before I get there.
Somehow, as people get older, they learn to deal with it, and it will be interesting to observe myself as I learn to do just that, figuring out, I hope, how to live well.
These “conversations on dying” serve as a bridge to the recent issue of AARP – The Magazine (September /October, 2011, p46).
Marilyn Milloy interviews Michelle Obama and Jill Biden about their support of military families. In the process they are asked questions concerning their choices as professional women, moms, stand-ins for their politically involved spouses. Michelle responded that she had experienced her share of sacrifices and changes, all necessary to get important things done. But she said, “…when this is done, there’s still a whole other season of my wants and needs…”
Suddenly I realized that we seniors are in that other season right now.” Few expect any specific role from us, other than just Being, and we may do just that: play, sleep, exercise, socialize – and if we wish we may focus on the needs of others. We have the time, the wisdom and knowledge to do just that!