Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sixty-seven years old. Do I feel different inside?

“The funny thing is that I don’t feel any different inside” said my 84 year old mother, then a recovering stroke patient. I thought of this as I as my 67th birthday unfolded yesterday. My mother was trying to capture the idea that while her physical body had changed – the parts were gradually wearing out – she was experiencing some interior essence that had not.

My experience differs from my mother’s… but how? How does life at 67 differ from that of the 20 year olds who are my closest neighbors on most days? How am I different than when I was twenty?

At 67 I am more….
Patient (about most things)
Willing to take risks
Willing to listen
Accepting of what comes
Financially secure
Willing to share thoughts and feelings (as in this blog)
Protective of my time and discretion
Appreciative of life (I have less of it to live)

At 67 I am less
Physically strong
Agile on the tennis court (but not much less!)
Interested in being a spectator
Patient (about some things)
Uncertain about my likes and dislikes
Able to see without my glasses
Intense about relationships
Interested in “leisure activities”

Upon reflection, 67 seems like a pretty good time to be alive.

Of course the biggest difference between 20 and 67 is that at 20, you can only wonder how things will turn out in your life. At 67, you mostly know how they did turn out. You are living with the consequences and memories of your good, bad and indifferent choices, with a liberal seasoning of divine intervention added to the mix. At 67 you know you can be in control of some things, but not everything. You know that, as the Lord Buddha said, existence is impermanent. You know that while the speck of conscious mortality that you are remains vital, this hour, minute and second, you are definitely scribing the concluding chapters of its existence, at least on planet earth.

It is time to seize – and savor – the moment!


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