i spoke to an american friend today. she admitted quite openly that, when it comes to “later in life”, she’s an ostrich, her head deeply buried in the sand.
she slowly began to voice fears about care homes and assisted living facilities, as they are called in the u.s. slowly, she began to hear her own voice, her terror of living in “a place like that.” the tears rose for us both, over the miles, as we sat in silence together…nothing left to say.
and yet there is all the time between now and then. do we choose to live in fear of the future? there is only so much planning that can be done now, in the present, for an unknown future. we can write a will, create powers of attorney, state our wishes to those who care about us.
and yet, so much is unknown and unknowable. what will be our state of physical health? mental health? emotional health? there are no answers…only the existential realisation of our human being, our essential fragility. to hold this knowledge with tender care is vital to our spiritual eldering. this is a part the reality of human nature, along with the vast potential for continued growth and evolution.
the acknowledgement of our human strength, our hard-wired will to survive, makes it possible to find new avenues for that growth. finding the vitality to open to new ideas, new activities, new loves is also part of the path of the elder. simply taking our place in our community with elder consciousness can open vistas unseen before.
let us take our heads out of the sand and honour our elder selves, living as fully as we are able in each moment, in each breath.