Getting older: Becoming more - or less - of who we are | Street Jazz

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting older: Becoming more - or less - of who we are

Posted By on Thu, May 20, 2010 at 10:30 AM

I recently happened upon a quote from Gloria Steinem, writing about reaching about the age of 75. She writes, “Perhaps this is the best-kept secret of aging: We just become more of who we already are.”

Those are nice sentiments, but I’m not sure how much I truly agree with them.  Or, at least,  one hundred percent.

Like Ms. Steinem, I hope to remain active throughout my life, and to stay true to my beliefs, and I know a lot of older people who have - they have always been an inspiration to me.

But there are just as many who seem to retreat from life, from the things that gave their lives meaning, and become a shell of themselves - long before the aging process or disease can do it for them.

I’ll leave aside my mortal dread of Bingo, and just concentrate on those with once passionate minds who seem content (content?) to do the virtual equivalent of just sitting in a rocking chair, staring out at the horizon.

I think sometimes we can age ourselves, and separate ourselves from the vitality of life, even more than infirmity or the idiotic prejudices of society.

We’re sorting of living in a Renaissance period for older people, when we don’t expect them to just shuffle off to Buffalo, as it were. The thought that one would do so willingly is, honestly, a little frightening to me.

I’ve seen folks in their forties begin to disengage from life, and sort of pine after a golden age that never existed, and never will. I’ve seen them begin to hide from life.

As hopeful as Ms. Steinem’s feelings are - and I pray that they are true for most people - for many they are, sadly, just not true. Some willingly become less of who they were, throwing off the things that gave them intellectual and spiritual vitality long before cruel nature wrests it from them.

I just don’t think there is any point in speeding the process along.

******

Quote of the Day

I dearly love to persuade people. There can hardly be a greater pleasure (of a selfish kind) than to feel you have brought another person around to your way of thinking. - James Hinton

*****

1984 hijacked by paranoid conservatives - but have they actually read the book?


In one of life's true ironies, some conservatives are pushing 1984 as a warning about the Obama administration. I suspect they have only been skimming the Cliff Notes version of George Orwell’s classic.

True hilarity will ensue if they begin to promote Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 as yet another warning of the evils of liberals everywhere!

****

Oh, no, Laurie Masterson, not again!

Nothing, really. But since it has become obvious that the more humorless minions of Ms. Masterson are combing the Internet, seeking any and all references to her, I thought I’d just throw them a bone.    

rsdrake@cox.net

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