over a cup of delicious tea...
...a friend recently commented,”i’m at an age where i could die tomorrow or i could live another 20 years. should i regard each day as a bonus or plan long term?”
my answer to her was, “BOTH!”
one aspect of elder wisdom is the possibility of letting go of either/or thinking and embracing both/and consciousness. we can choose both. each day is a gift, a bonus, if you like. it’s another opportunity to smile, to dance, to breathe, to grieve, to love, to experience all that life offers.
and planning for the long term is a sensible path to take. it provides some semblance of security in a very insecure world. it answers the basic survival need we all have as humans. taking care of adequate shelter, some form of health care, a will, an advance directive and powers of attorney all make perfect sense.
these documents may allow us to relax into our elderhood free from a bit of anxiety. they certainly might present challenges in dealing with siblings, spouses, or children. and, at the same time, they allow us to make our wishes clearly known.
with the material plane sorted out we can take time to reflect on our inner tasks. these might involve writing an ‘ethical will’ or a life history or a letter to someone loved dearly. there might be a task of forgiveness, either to be offered or accepted. we might have some time to review the significant events and people in our lives, acknowledging both the lessons we accepted easily and those we learned from our severe teachers. we might even plan our funeral.
long term planning and living each day as a gift are not mutually exclusive. in fact, the planning might make living fully more possible. the living of each day, being as fully present as possible, might make the planning easier and more authentic.
we can do BOTH!