as i lay on my bed, sinking into myself, i heard, in my memory’s ear, a friend’s voice saying, “i’m going to bed at 9:00. isn’t that sad?”
sad? why is that sad?
‘sad’ implies that only staying up later than you might want to, in this moment, is ‘better’, ‘happy’, ‘right’. it implies that we are ‘sad’ because we might not choose, or be able to do, what we did at other times of life...and that the former things are what make life full and meaningful.
my heart bleeds for those who think it is ‘sad’ to go to bed at the time when the body is calling for rest.
yes, my body has changed.
yes, my body has different needs now than when i was at a different stage in life.
why do we think these changes are any worse than the changes that happened previously, in other times of life? no one would think it odd to buy new clothes as the old ones are outgrown. no one would deny a growing teenager more food, if it were available. no one would think it odd, strange, sad that she has need for nourishment so she can grow and change.
why then do we think it sad that, at the elder stage of life, we need less?
and what is the relationship between age and consuming? older people buy less...fewer gadgets, less music, fewer clothes, fewer cars and houses. because we live in a culture based on the economy, and we consume less, we are expendable! it seems we have nothing to offer a society that is based on buying, disposing and buying again.
and we, ourselves...or some of us...think that’s sad. we have bought the image of youth as the ‘better’, ‘right’, ‘happy’ way to be. whole industries have been created to market to us. new anti-aging products appear daily, all objects of worship at the altar of youth.
sadness arises in me when i realise how much wisdom is denied, how the resources of decades of experience is denied, how many wrinkles are disparaged and how many of us are ignored.
joy arises in me when i realise there is an alternative...
and we are creating it.