Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Growing Old,
It's Simple

Younger people often ask me what it is like to grow old. I sometimes smile and say, "Can't say for sure. I'm still trying to do it." Truth is, they are asking as much out of fear as out of pure curiosity. There are, of course, lots of ways to look at getting on in years.

I could dwell on the weakness in my left leg due to a nerve being cut by a fragmenting disc. I could go on about how sleep patterns change, as does flexibility and a whole lot of other physical functions. Worst of all, I could obsess about how there are fewer days ahead (on this side of the grass) than behind me. But what would all that thinking get me, other than depressed? I choose, instead, to rejoice in the positives of being over 20, three times and more over 20.

1, I am never troubled by acne or getting chosen for a baseball game.
2, I can wear checkered shorts with knee-high black socks and a bad shirt, and no one would care (I don't do that, of course. I do have a sense of style. But I digress).
3, I don't run after chicks...they're too fast anyway. If that were my goal, I would have to troll.

But, seriously folks...I enjoy the simplicity.

I no longer worry about those million and one things that used to seem so important. I believe that is because my ego has also aged and, for the most part, gone into retirement. Impressing others in not a priority and rarely even a consideration. Winning your approval...well, what you think of me is of no concern to me. Don't get me wrong. I am interested in what you have to say and who you are. But, if you hate me, I don't take on your projections (although I would want to know how you could possibly not like a loveable guy like me. But I digress...again).

I have thrown a lot of things out and am trying to get rid of more. Why. Because, as I child, I played with the toys of a child. You probably know the poem. Still a kid at heart, I still find lots of stuff--once coveted and saved for--of little use or interest. Bottom line, life is simpler.

Now, things seem to distill themselves down to their essence. I no longer see crowds (unless I take it all in as an entity of mass...don't get a head ache working on that one). Instead, I see a face in a crowd...or a leaf on a bench (just outside my family room's window).

I've mentioned before the Zen teaching:

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

The thing is, that's all there is, and it is more than enough. Being an elder is, ideally and in my judgment, the time when all the lessons of life can be used to be of service. Thankfully, I have all that I could ever want, and the only need (my calling) I feel is to be of service. Being in that frame of mind, I do not fear becoming obsolete or of no use. And, I don't have to seek employment for my talents. It seems that by making myself available to the Universe, the needs find me...and I am happy to serve. See

It's simple

Paddle safe


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