I ran across an article from a prolific writer-friend of mine, Jan Verhoeff. Jan writes every day, I think perhaps - most every hour of every day. She writes well and is recognized as an expert in several areas including marketing.
But this article isn't about marketing, or writing, or even politics (one of her favorite soapboxes). Her article is about aging. And anger. Jan lost her Mom a few months ago and we have spent some hours discussing this topic.
I'm 63; oddly enough, this subject touches me deeply, and I am all too often, acutely aware of this anger she speaks about in her article.
Many years ago, I'd watch older, cranky folks and judge harshly; 'Aren't they old enough to know how to behave by now', I'd so naively think. As I said, naively; I was - then - young!
Today, I still pride myself with a generally positive attitude, mostly. But - there are those other times.
-Having one hand from birth, I prided myself in my excellent eye-hand coordination - more than double the average person's dexterity. Now, I drop more items in a day than my pride dares to admit. I often cry with frustration. And anger.
-I have always treasured my mental capacities along the years; my A's and joys with Algebra and math and all my schooling - without much effort, my ability to assay a situation almost instantly with problem-solving almost second nature. Many days now, when conversing with anyone, I find cracks in my road of thoughts and words that I quickly kid away as not sleeping well the night before, or fighting a bug, etc. White lies. And anger.
-As an animal lover and owner of many cats, a few dogs and 2 horses, I deal with their aging as well. Last year we lost 5 animals to old age; my second horse's legs gave out from arthritis and she finally laid down in her corral, unable to get back on her feet...one last time. One dog succumbed to her aging heart, another to her aging legs. One cat lost her ability to eat; my last 2 cats are slowly, painfully ambling about, one losing her fight to renal failure, the other going deaf and blind. My heart breaks, over and again, more times than I recall. I deal with deep anger.
Unfortunately, my aging brain works well enough to continually struggle with this dilemma. Is it fair? Why are we born to eventually die? Philosophers and theologians have bantered these questions for eons. To be reborn, to learn lessons, to teach others, to leave behind legacies, they argue, etc.
Are these reasons enough to bear the weight of aging and all its pain, struggle, loss of strength, energy, willpower, youth, etc?
I don't know; I probably never will. But regardless, we must deal with the anger and frustration. At times, I win this ongoing struggle for periods of time. I do so by writing articles like this; or by walking across John Martin Dam at sunrise and sunset; or watching a new-born kitten get it's first sea-legs; or watching my chickens give their all to catching an energetic grasshopper as though their entire being rested on their success.
Jan writes; "They didn't choose to grow old, it was forced upon them." This is so true.
So maybe one way to bridge this anger can be found in the moments of life. I find that I am most angry when I am comparing what I used to do with what occurs now. In my list above, I notice that being in a moment, surpasses that anger, allows for an influx of Love and beauty and of participation in Nature's insatiable need for beauty.
I agree with Jan; age is forced on each and every creature that breathes (and even the parts of Nature that don't; erosion of rocks, mountains, etc). And it does create anger.
But sometimes, I can become parts of moments; I can create them or enjoy those of others. Yes, age is forced on us. But we don't have to constantly carry that load.
Sometimes...we can look the other way...