Friday, April 10, 2015

Demon Age

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Some people call the years of retirement the Golden Years—for many they are. Some people dread them as a time of loneliness, depression and decline—that too is possible. But it need not be so. After all, we are the pilot; we choose our path.

In my younger days the thought of aging never occurred to me. I was too busy with family, home and work. But times have changed—the internet, advertisers and a growing awareness of life around us keep reminding us daily of the passage of time.

Having passed the three-quarter-century mark, I can speak from experience now.

I chose the title Demon Age because of its twofold, apposite meaning. Age can be interpreted as the Devil’s doing, the Devil at work. Or if we look at the word’s Latin and Greek origins, Daemon and Daimon, we encounter the meaning of Deity and Genius. We use the word demon to praise a person’s extraordinary skills, such as a demon cook, or a demon at tennis.

And so it is with age. We can call on that divine spark in us to chart our voyage. We can plan ahead ingeniously —we can save, we can exercise and remain fit. It does take discipline, but the rewards are worthwhile—they enable us to anticipate our Golden Years.

It has been many years now since I retired. Yet surprisingly, my days are never long enough. I still get up around five in the morning. I’ll run errands on my bike and spend many hours volunteering. I have taken up Bridge and piano and write books, one of which became a bestseller.

These can indeed be the Golden Years. We finally have the leisure and wisdom to be aware of the many blessings that Life is granting us, filling us with infinite gratitude. Mark Twain put it in a humorous way when he said Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter. Age is no reason for depression and loneliness.

I savor being retired. No more outside pressures, worries and deadlines, except those of my own making. We see life from a different perspective. We treasure our friends more deeply, knowing full well that our numbers are steadily declining. I admire their stamina and persistence and especially their contented smiles.

There is much talk these days about the possibility of prolonging life indefinitely. To me it is not an appealing thought. We may not be eager to die, but I’d prefer to progress and come back one day with a new body and see how this planet has improved and advanced.

In the meantime I don’t want to miss a laugh, or a new experience, or a moment of enjoying our beautiful planet Earth.

I went to a tea dance yesterday. A young man from Buenos Aires asked me to dance a Rumba with him, a dance I’ll long remember. In perfect rhythm and with total grace he executed and taught me some wonderful Latin steps! I drove home bewitched with a wistful thought stirring my mind … if only I were young again.

Until next time,