In my previous post, I shared with my readers the poem: “Growing Old,” written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. As I read it, I was reminded that we move through different developmental stages while walking down the road of life. Our goals and what we choose to focus our energies upon change from one developmental stage to another if we are growing as mature human beings. Our thoughts, feelings, and fears change as well.
As I grew older, I became aware that friendships and good relationships with others increased in importance, and a sense of family and belonging was necessary for survival. It mattered more, in the long run, than being rich, having adventures, being successful in what I attempted, or having a lot of status. These things are often lost along the way. As we age, loving, being loved, and being protected matter. We cherish the memories we form from such experiences, the human touch from those that care for us, and the resources, information, and feelings of belonging we get from being connected with others.
I am in my seventies and have encountered many losses along the way. My income has decreased, my status in society has dropped, my health has deteriorated, and I can no longer do the job I loved because of health problems. I have struggled to make sense of a Country I love becoming a place I no longer recognize or respect. I have lost faith and trust in Her. My former ideals have taken a beating. Yet, I still fight for what She once stood for.
Even though life has brought losses, it also has brought blessings and wonderful connections. I have friends, contacts with family, and supportive people in my life. I have shelter, water, and food to eat. My mind still works, and I have people who encourage me to grow emotionally and spiritually. They have taught me valuable skills, and I am in the process of changing.
Growing older, I am less preoccupied with dying and more focused on living in the here and now. I appreciate others more and say “I love you” to those who matter, because I may not get another chance later. I am more attuned to what is just, what is true, and what is morally good in life rather than following the crowd. My need for silence and solitude grows with every year that passes, and i have less desire to interact with technology and the media which is time consuming. Being comfortable is more important than being stylish. Talking about things of value is desired rather than superficial conversations. I think more about God and spirituality than clothes and the shoes I should wear.
My environment and the beauty of nature is essential for my survival. I will fight to protect them. All human beings are necessary for survival. We are connected to one another as human beings and spiritual entities. We all suffer losses, feel joy, share sadness, dream dreams, and have the need to be accepted by others, to feel we belong. We share the earth and resources so we can survive. Being compassionate towards other human beings does matter.