From the ground up, Denver Airport, Colorado (2017)
The perception of time passage is different for older people. As we grow older, years appear to go by faster. I read this, many years ago, and now it all makes sense to me: in his young years, a man runs by the riverside and he looks at the river and says: “this river barely crawls! “. The same man grows old, very old, and he now drags his feet by the riverside, unable to run. He looks at the same river and says: “wow, this river zooms by me!” . The river has not changed, though. It’s all a matter of perception, both the viewpoints of the old and the young are valid.
We have been warned multiple times: old age is not a joy trip. Just imagine: finding yourself in the midst of a whirlpool of years and events while your mental and physical conditions decay before your own eyes. That river running faster and faster. Imagine that the world you grew up with shatters and slowly vanishes. Imagine not having an able body to enjoy the things you used to. Imagine that your independence shrinks. Yikes! No wonder why no one wants the old in the West. No one wants talk about old age either, let alone talk about death.
We may want to consider breaking some of our most beloved habits in this western life of ours and studying what the East is up to when it comes to facing old age. Say, the habit of showing to the world that we are dammed right about this _____ (fill in the blank) and “here is why”. How old you said you are? I offer this: there is no need to go in full force one way or another. Why would you? It is not a matter of life or death anymore (it never really was). The years of fierce competition are over. Who cares about this issue? No need to convince no one.
Or the habit of finding problems and engaging the mind to solve them because “one will never be happy until this one problem gets solved”. Hey, relax, how old you said you are? You should have realized by now that there will always be problems. Try, as you may, they just never go away. Let’s become a bit more philosophical here: no “problem” is so critical that it can take away your peace of mind and your joy.
Or the habit to constantly seeking attention. That twenty year old kid looking for a place in the world is gone, did you realize? You are in this world already. Seek to comprehend, instead. Comprehension and understanding…. What a great skill for humanity! The ability to understand others, listen to others, passing no judgement…. Is there any need more pressing than this one nowadays? Old age is the right time to allow this ability to flourish.
And on a on. A little wisdom from the East becomes quite handy when entering our golden years. There might be new dimensions to this thing called old age. It may not be such a horrible thing, becoming old, after all. We may even gain some speed and leave the river behind *