Beauty & Wisdom provided insight into my own future. As I photographed these golden ladies and listened in on their conversations and looked into their eyes, I saw the kind of courage that comes from embracing life fully without expectations, except to be happy and connected to people. Their “take me as I am” attitude has given me permission to age fearlessly with no regrets and reasons to look forward to my own aging process.
via Beauty & Wisdom.
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.
[Exploring Life] A large proportion of our lifetime is focused on earning money as a means to ensure our survival in society. In order to earn an income we participate in some form of work. This participation in the workforce is commonly viewed as “a contribution” to the economic growth of our society. The distribution of money across the population suffers from extreme imbalance; some people live in poverty while others have far more money than they require. Money in and of itself is empty and meaningless; nevertheless, it remains the standardized symbol of material prosperity in a modern-day dramatization of the survival of the fittest…
Perception is reality when it comes to aging successfully: if a person feels she has aged well, then she has. If, on the other hand, she does not believe she has aged successfully, she has not, regardless of objective measurements. Another recent study in Gerontologist concluded that elderly people who self-reported successful aging, despite a high level of physical disability among the population evaluated, used adaptation and coping strategies to align their perception of successful aging with their own experiences.
I wonder how old we need to get before we gain the wisdom to accept the things we can’t change.