This blog post is dedicated to all those who have turned eighty this year and to all those who have yet to turn eighty this year.
If, when you turn eighty, you’re not a cripple, if you have a semblance of health, if you are content even though your world has narrowed and finally if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical, people, you’ve got it (old age)
So many eighty year olds fear loss of physical and mental abilities to such a degree that they ruin what time they have left. They walk by a shop window and sneak a look at themselves, they do NOT recognize the image in the reflection.
After a few seconds they are forced to remake their own acquaintance. It’s a horror story, you no longer know yourself at first sight! They say to themselves:
“The past seems horrible, the present gray and desolate and the future utterly appalling!”
But, my friends, it doesn’t have to be like this. Your point of view can be less bleak. You don’t have to concern yourself with the future. As for the past, you have made the most of it, good or bad. All you really have is the PRESENT, but very few of us ever live it fully, which is what you should do.
When you get to be eighty you get the ability NOT to take things so seriously.
You view life as more of a comedy than a tragedy—you know, one of those comedies in which while laughing your guts out, you feel your heart breaking.
The person who takes themselves too seriously is doomed!
Now lets get to the nitty gritty.
When you get to be eighty, questions pop up in your head:
How to come to terms with death?
How we react to our personal death has a great impact on how we live in old age.
What meaning does this life have, this death, this suffering? For what have I lived?
Some people answer with: I was productive and contributed to society.
Is there something that transcends this life? Religious people believe in an afterlife. Atheists usually say: They were nothing before they were born and after death there is nothing.
Without a personal answer or position to the question of dealing with death, a seed of unrest will remain and disturb your last years. With a position on the question there is peace of mind.
How to deal with the transitoriness of life?
Everything is transitory—that means NOT lasting, brief and short-lived.
We have to say goodbye to a lot of things in old age: our work, loss of physical strength, loss of mental flexibility, loss of friends and relatives.
You MUST think of the things you have done, the opportunities you took and lived, they are an integral part of your life and can’t be undone by transitoriness.
YOU HAVE BEEN IS THE ESSENCE OF YOUR EXISTENCE.
How to relieve feelings of isolation?
You’ve retired and your world has narrowed and you are forced back into yourself.
Can I still maintain a conversation with myself?
You can talk internally to yourself and break the isolation.
So in conclusion:
Don’t sour on life, there is nothing wrong with life itself, it is the ocean in which we swim and we have to adapt to it or sink!
When an eighty year old looks back at their life they say to themselves:
“ONE DOES THEIR BEST, BUT IT IS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH.”
Happy Eightieth Birthday!
Also published on Medium.