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Some Thoughts on Aging

It's Monday morning afternoon, and I have exactly 4 homework assignments that need to be done today, and I have finished precisely 0 of them (though I have started 3). So obviously, it is time for me to process some thoughts via this blog... 

I've been thinking this week about aging. Actually, I've been thinking about it all month, maybe longer.

Something in me feels like getting married has flipped a switch, setting an unstoppable train into motion. Growing old seems inevitable now. Children may or may not happen, careers will shift, retirement is something to consider, and someday I'll be the one using a cane to get up, shuffling through the doors of a church, trying to understand a rapidly changing and unfamiliar world.

I know it is isn't marriage that started this; the train has been in motion since my birth. But I felt a little ageless when I was flying solo, as if my unmarriedness was holding time back, because the only person on my to-care-for radar was myself (siblings and parents are a different kind of care, and their aging somehow seems disconnected from my aging). 

Now I talk about things like life insurance and pensions and if we can afford to raise (hypothetical) children in downtown Toronto.

Added to this are the conversations I often have with church folk, specifically the grey-haired variety. They're a significant demographic, and they're always up for a chat.

(I want to be like this someday.)

And it strikes me, over and over, that loneliness and isolation are all too easy to fall into, that we young folks don't understand (or even consider) what it is like to watch your life shrink down, your family move away, your body conspire against you so that your life simplifies down to the essentials, to keeping yourself alive and whatever small extras you may have energy for.

And I wonder two things:
  1. How do I prepare myself for these inevitable life-shifts? 
  2. How do I better care for the older people in my life? 


And I have two answers for myself:

  1. Practice contentment. Let your life be what it is, right now, with gratitude. Keep that attitude.  
  2. Give time. Call those who are far away on a regular basis. When you're face-to-face, be generous with your attention. 
Simple things, really. Simple ones that require my attention, my effort, and my willingness to let go of busy-ness. Which is something I always want but rarely do


Postscript: I'm glad I took twenty minutes to sort these thoughts out. It's been helpful, at least to myself. Maybe to you, too? Now, if only my school-thoughts will come as easily!

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