The Aging Process

It is April 26, 2021. Tomorrow will be two weeks since I received my second vaccination. I have never been so grateful for a vaccination in my life.

I haven’t written for this site for a few weeks. I have had a very good case of Writer’s Block. As that ends, I thought I would share with you some thoughts about aging.

Later this year I will turn 60. That means that if I live to the age of 90 (very possible, I have had lots of 90+ year old relatives), then I am about two-thirds of the way through my life. Which means I am about to enter the last one-third of my life.

There is something about turning 60 that has focused my attention on my death. I realize that discussing my death doesn’t make for great party conversation, but it is a fact that I am going to die. So are you. Since both of us are going to die, what are we supposed to do about that?

I think what I am supposed to do about it is to face it head on. Two quotes come to mind:

1) Scott Peck once wrote “the meaning of death is to add meaning to life”.

2) In the movie Shawshank Redemption, the character Andy Dufresne says “get busy living or get busy dying”.

Someone I know and love is aging very quickly right now. The pandemic aged him a lot. I care about this person, and it seems to me that he isn’t doing well. He seems tired of what he is doing, and how he is doing it. He is going to need some help while he is here. He is having a difficult time navigating the aging process. He is going to need a lot of support, and he isn’t someone who can easily reach out to get it.

In order to navigate through life in 2021, it helps to be able to use a bit of technology (computers, cell phones, etc.) and this person doesn’t do well with that. His ability to work his way through the healthcare system is limited.

Eventually I am going to go home too, but I hope it isn’t time for me to go yet. I am having a lot of fun doing what I am doing, and I do hope I get to do it for a while longer. But watching other people in an advanced decline makes me realize that that is going to happen to me sometime in the future.

I watch other people go through situations, and sometimes I think “that is going to probably happen to me too”. I call that “connecting the dots”. In this case, when I connect the dots, I realize that I am going to be a little old man someday, maybe unable to navigate the complexities of my life in 2050 or so. I may not understand everything that is going on around me. Hopefully my wife and my daughters will be able to help me navigate through that part of my life, so that I can do it with some measure of dignity and grace.

In the meantime, I need to remember to get busy living. I didn’t survive the pandemic just to stay home and hide from life.


Two great books from Hal, both available at Amazon:

Can Openers: Essays About Life And Love

Letter Openers: More Essays About Life And Love

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