The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.) – NYTimes.com

A wonderful essay from Oliver Sacks on the approach of his 80th birthday…

My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. One has had a long experience of life, not only one’s own life, but others’, too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One has seen grand theories rise, only to be toppled by stubborn facts. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty. At 80, one can take a long view and have a vivid, lived sense of history not possible at an earlier age. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like, which I could not do when I was 40 or 60. I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.

I am looking forward to being 80.

via The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.) – NYTimes.com.

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3 thoughts on “The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.) – NYTimes.com

  1. Wrote these verses regarding the path that opens much more fully as one steps within the unfolding ages of wisdom much as rings round a great old oaken tree providing growth for generations to come……

    Meet Me By The Garden Path

    Wait for me by the garden path
    My walk is slower than thine
    My eyes are not as clear
    My mind is wakening to the sound
    The silence once so frightening
    Is now my dearest friend

    I hear whispers of eh wind in the willows
    The sound of the gull high in the gray silent air
    The rhythm of the earth beneath my barren feet

    Time is making moments upon my soul
    I am yet growing younger as the numbers march on
    My heart is opening as a flower under greatness’ touch
    The colors are vivid – the smells are strong
    I taste the mist yet upon my tongue……..

    The clouds are rolling – the sun is rising
    The birds take flight – branches rise to touch
    the clean pure air………

    My mind is cleared…..
    My heart renewed……
    My soul revealed.

    Now ready am I to meet thee by the garden path
    My step dancing like silken fairies
    My eyes laughing like mischievous elves
    My mind expands to reach the soaring eagles calls
    And I envelop all of nature within………
    My once……timid hidden soul…..

    Judith A. Stevens

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