How do you feel about aging and growing old? Does the image of growing old conjure up thoughts of loss of vitality, energy and health? Admittedly, as we age, our physical and mental capabilities may deteriorate. This is not to be a cause for concern- it happens to everyone and is part of the miracle of life. Instead, we must celebrate the process of growing old. Popular culture tries to tell us that the elderly are a burden, and often we accept this view and put them away in nursing homes, forgetting them until it is convenient to visit. What we fail to realize is that the older generations of our society have so much to offer, and are so willing to give- if we are willing to listen. No one wants to be forgotten in the last years of their lives. This, I believe is one of the major stigma attached to aging, a sense of helplessness that is caused by society’s wanting to put older people away in homes, where they are out of sight and out of mind.
Mitch Albom’s book, Tuesdays With Morrie, has changed my views on aging and the elderly, and can have a profound impact on how we, as a society, view the older generations. We come to find that Morrie, near death, has accepted the fact that he has grown old. He has lived a full life and has few regrets. He does not want to change anything because he knows that good times and bad times are all a part of the life process. There is nothing wrong with being old, he assures us, because he has lived a full life that has given him much joy.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “if this is an advertisement, then what is this guy trying to sell me?” Well, at the risk of sounding like an insurance salesman, I am trying to sell peace of mind. There is no way to monetarily quantify peace of mind, so I am willing to give it away. That’s right, it’s free- no obligation and no shipping and handling charges. Just take my idea, free of charge, and send it back if you’re not completely satisfied. My idea is that there is nothing more important in the world than the relationships that we form with each other and the growth that we experience from them. Aging is a process that goes hand in hand with these intricate relationships. If we spend all of our time dreading the fact that one day, we may be old, and that we will die, we will never have time to spend with loved ones. So I urge each of you not to consider aging as growing old, but instead to consider it as an experience that should be celebrated and embraced.
Now for the conclusion of our program…