George Bernard Shaw was quite right when he said: “Youth is wasted on the young”.
The older I get the more I appreciate that. In my youth I wasted so much time on such idiotic issues and expended so much energy and thought on what seem to me now to be absolute nonsense. What a waste. If only we could have the wisdom we now have to guide us to use our time better and to spare ourselves the heartbreak that we went through about all sorts of issues.
The less energy I have the more I want to do and the more I thirst for youth. The older I get the more eager I am for the company of those who are young, not only in age, but more importantly in spirit. It is with the aging of the spirit that people die. I have seen young people in age but who have very old souls, and that is not a good thing. It is not that they are wise; no they are tired and defeated. Like the saying “Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional”. If you keep the spirit of youth, the enthusiasm, the eagerness and the joy of discovery, you will never grow old.
Having gone through my Mom’s old age, and hopefully will go through mine as well, I have discovered that the only way to stay healthy and happy is to have a young spirit. Though my Mom did have a very lively spirit and a terrific sense of humor, yet the last few years were a very heavy ordeal, her deteriorating health and the toll Alzheimer’s disease took, left her tired, down and defeated a large part of the time.
Living with her in that state had its effect on me as well. I had never been in worse health and spirits as I was then. My health deteriorated, I lost my looks and my spirit atrophied. The strange thing was that I was not even aware of all that. I carried on as usual and though I struggled a bit, I kept up the façade of cheer and enjoyment. With the loss of my Mom, and the ensuing pain and grief, I was totally lost for some time. But now that I am starting to recover I already feel a change. I am getting healthier, even looking better and my spirit is starting to revive.
I feel so much younger. Yes, younger. I have more energy, more enthusiasm, have regained some of my impulsiveness – though now fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, tempered by wisdom – and most of all my enthusiasm for life. Everything is sharper, clearer, more concentrated and much, much sweeter. The blue of the sky is deeper, the freshness of the breeze is sharper, the sun is brighter, music is more soul shaking than ever; and just existing is a thousand fold more alive.
With this youthful wave I have come to the conclusion that I no longer want to hear about, associate with or even come in contact with anything or anyone old. By old I do not mean in years, but old in spirit, defeated, depressed, complaining, sick or hopeless. I want youth in every aspect of my life. I even feel that with my dogs.
My two old dogs, especially Lippa now that she is sick, break my heart, but worse still, give me such a horrible feeling of hopelessness and imprisonment which leave me depressed and very impatient. The young trio is the other side of the coin. Their antics and their very energy infuse my life with enthusiasm, with hope and with a great deal of joy. I would take their destructive behavior, the damages they cause, the energy expended in teaching and training them any time over the pain of tending to poor Lippa. But I will look after her and care for her to the very last. I still love her and would never abandon her. But how it affects me is the difference. I now know the difference.
Unconsciously I seem to have taken a vow to take a positive outlook of life, not to let anything ever again pull me down, affect my health and kill off my spirit. At the time I did not have a choice, but now I do, and have decided that now I come first. Better counsel and physical constraints might stop my climbing the Himalayas or parachuting out of an airplane, going kayaking or getting married, but short of something that would kill, maim or constrain me for life I am raring to go.
Adventures are waiting around every corner. Challenges are there every day. The eagerness to take on new experiences and savor every particle of life is growing daily, and with the return of my health I am able to do much more than I thought possible. My adventures might not be of the types that take on physical movement or travel, a lot of them are those of the mind and the spirit. They started with my appreciation of the world around me, then with a glorious feeling of serenity of deep satisfaction and happiness. An unparalleled feeling of freedom, like I am physically soaring above the earth, distancing myself from all its pettiness and meanness, taking in the beauty and glory of life and nature.
Though my creed in life is never to hurt anyone, I shall try to stick to it, only if it means that I do not get hurt in the bargain. This might sound selfish, but a good healthy dose of selfishness is required at this stage in my life. I had buried myself for so long to be able to take care of my Mom to the best of my ability, that now is my time. I shall do what I want to do, not do what I don’t want to do and will be very, very frank about it. Life is now too short to do otherwise. I need what remains of my life to be as happy and as enjoyable as I could make it, on my own terms, and thank God, I am in a position to actually do that. No parents, no husband, no children, no obligation to anyone but myself, and to my pets who depend on me. But they, thank God are not demanding, they are just bundles of joy and unconditional love.
Not only have I left my comfort zone, I think that now I have traversed to another orbit in a new galaxy. The feeling is so liberating and so exciting I feel young again and eager to start this most enjoyable part of my life. No longer does peer pressure have any weight with me and public opinion can have a field day for all I care. This is a truly liberating feeling. I feel that I have finally come into my own, that I feel comfortable in my own skin, and what is more that I like this new me. I am more fun, I am enjoying my life more and strangely enough this seems to radiate out of me. Wherever I go I find people I interact with are cheerful, more helpful and very cooperative. So not only has my inner life improved, my outer life is now taking on a totally different aura. One of happiness in the doing, beauty in nature, spirit and love, one of joy in the smallest act, one of satisfaction with the world at large.
20 Sept. 2014