“Hey Tom, do you feel us oldies have much hope in the immediate future?”
“Well Dave, it depends on our present situation. If you have some semblance of health and still have energy and the inclination to do things, there is hope for the future, even for an oldie.”
“I think a lot about the past now that I am old.”
“I do too Dave, but they say the PRESENT is the most important time.”
“I guess you’re right, Tom. If you can forgive your parents for the crime of bringing you into this world, and if you are okay with getting nowhere and taking one day at a time and if you can keep from growing surly, bitter and cynical, I guess you have old age licked.”
We both laughed.
“Some people say all the times are important, PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE.”
“Why is that, Dave?”
“Well, my friend, although consciousness and reality are always in the PRESENT and the present is the ONLY life you have, the PAST and the FUTURE are also important, because the past influences the present and the future is essential for morale in the present. Your PRESENT would collapse if there was no hope for the FUTURE.”
“Wow, Dave, I never thought of the times like that.”
“Time is very important. It is part of the aging process.”
“Some say we age from the outside and the inside.”
“That’s right Tom, three items make up the universe, matter, energy and time. So aging is the effect of energy on matter over time. Erosion is an example of the outside effect of energy on matter.
But we humans age not only externally but inside as well.”
We both pondered that statement.
“Tell me more, Dave.”
“Inside us are the workings of chemistry, called metabolism which assembles chemical reactions which are needed for life, with one flaw—aging.
These reactions generate trash and waste products over time, called free radicals.”
“Oh boy, Dave, there’s trouble on the horizon!”
“Well Tom, we living creatures suffer wear and tear from external and internal energy. But we do some self-repair, some cells do renew themselves.”
“So, what does it all add up too?”
“It adds up to: Aging = wear and tear – some part repair.”
“Wow, Dave, that’s mind blowing stuff! Lets get back to our discussion on the PRESENT being called the most important time.”
“Well Tom, some say that your experiences in life should be exclusively in the PRESENT, because if they don’t experience in the present they are dwelling in the past and future.”
Tom scratched his head.
“So, Dave, do we need hope to attain our goals?”
“Absolutely Tom, we need to have some hope in the future to sustain our morale in the PRESENT. Hope is a need in itself.”
“Hope is more important than I realized.”
“Hope motivates us to work toward our goals.
Hope maintains morale in the PRESENT.
Hope maintains the immune system, it is the great energizer, we need health to work on our goals.”
“So, hope is looking forward to something and visualizing the future.”
“Yes Tom, now lets turn to the flip side of the coin, Hopelessness.”
“So, now we’re gong to look at the dark side of hope.”
“Hope is fragile, it can be destroyed in an instant. Hopelessness is the belief or knowing that what is desired will NOT be attained. We fear non-attainment.”
“Oh boy, this is getting scary.”
“When we age, the period before death, depression is on the horizon. We oldies may get depressed over diminished mobility, diminished health and diminished abilities and energy.”
“Dave, how do you fight this depression of hopelessness?”
“By becoming resigned to it. You accept the losses of aging. This act dilutes depression to bearable proportions.”
“How do we defend against too much anxiety in the meantime?”
“By simply avoiding thinking about the future and taking one day at a time.”
“Oh Dave, the passing time can be so cruel.”
“Well Tom, lets end this discussion by looking at the Nature of Time.”
“The march of time scares me when I think how relentless it is and we can’t slow it down.”
“Don’t panic, Tom.”
“I’m trying not to, Dave, but look at the clock, the second hand just keeps moving!!!”
“Time is moving forward constantly, a succession of moments that follow one another at the same rate.
We are lodged in time just like we are lodged in our skin. In five years we can count on having aged five years, no matter what we do or don’t do. Time carries us along but it is indifferent to us.”
“Another scary thing about time is that we can’t change what has happened in the past.”
“That’s right Tom, the consequences of an act can be modified sometimes BUT the act itself never can be recalled.”
We stopped talking for a few minutes to absorb all of the discussion points.
“Tom, our lives consist of many days, I’m working on 29,000, but they are fast moving.”
“Dave, the other day I came across a line: “The river of time carries us along through life.”
“It’s true, Tom, when people die they are left behind on the riverbank but the river keeps flowing. They are cast outside of time. They never again will be able to get back into the river.”
“Well Dave, the days will go by and when they are used up (the average is 27,000) we will never again see even one more.
So, the moral is: Enjoy Today, while you have it.”
“I will leave you with two bits of wisdom:
One realizes the importance of time only when there is little of it left.
And, I have discovered the most precious thing on Earth, it is just “Being Alive”.
We must NOT waste a minute of it!”
Tom and Dave left the building to enjoy the day.
Also published on Medium.