Writer Dave is an Existentialist. I have been one for the last fifty years! But back then I probably didn’t know that I was.
Subtitle of this blog: “Interview with an Elderly Existentialist”
Question: What does existentialism mean to you?
Answer: It’s always been a challenge for me to live an existential life. Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve created my own purpose and meaning in life. I’ve always tried to assert my will rather than allowing myself to be swept along by circumstances. I knew that I had to take responsibility for myself and what I do.
Question: What is your definition of Existentialism?
Answer: You are a free agent, responsible for making your own meaning and purpose in your life. In other words, YOU MAKE YOURSELF.
Question: We’re talking about Old Age and Existentialism. What does that mean to you?
Answer: Being elderly brings many existential challenges. You have to come to terms with the transitory character of life. Life is not permanent. You must find a way to cope with your approaching death, possible illness, loneliness and depression. You have to be ready to respond to the basic questions of existence.
Question: Wow! That’s quite a list to cope with. Can you elaborate on dealing with your mortality?
Answer: Well, with my time growing shorter, I’m confident I can and will adjust to the boundaries of human existence.
Question: Faced with life’s limits, as you get older, and the changing conditions of life, what questions arise?
Answer: For what do I still live? I live for my writing and to be a companion to my spouse. I am still productive and creative.
For what have I lived? It was good, I was productive in my work life and I contributed to society.
Question: The previous questions, do they lead to the question of meaning?
Answer: Yes, they do. The question is: What meaning does this life have which ends in death? I have created my own meaning through my work life and now through my retirement, and I’m happy with it!
Question: What is the question that MUST be answered to ward off old age depression?
Answer: The question is: Is there something beyond this life?
Without a PERSONAL answer to this question a seed of unrest will be with you and could lead to depression for the rest of your days.
Question: What is the final thing you need to face the “last straight”?
Answer: Personal maturity. This is the ability to “let go”, which is possible if you have done what you wanted and lived for what you wanted. Through my existentialism and my writing I am continually discovering my inner self, which helps me in the “letting go” process.
Question: What would you say in conclusion?
Answer: The old person, like myself, faces the basic questions of existence, regarding it’s limitations and transitory character and in doing so, has the responsibility to live as fully as they can until the “back nine” is finished! Growing old successfully allows a person to develop their inner self for a death that is THEIR death!
TO END ON A LIGHTER NOTE:
“A natural death is where you die by yourself without a doctor’s help!”
and another one:
“The nearer the time comes for our departure from life, the greater our regret for wasting so much of it!”