Sunday, April 25, 2010

old age and death

One of the nice things about age is that you get more realistic. True, there are some hard facts that go with that new-found realism, but facts that cannot be escaped might as well be enjoyed.

Yesterday, on the peace picket line, I was chatting with Bill, a man in his late 60's or early 70's. I asked him how his tennis was going and he said he played three times a week -- not as much as earlier in his life, but still, something. I asked him if he had gone on a peace march held last Monday and he said he hadn't -- "I can't walk that far any more." "Me too," I replied.

And then we chuckled a little about the various ailments we had been assailed by. The Organ Recital -- but recited with an it's-inescapable-and-not-all-that-bad tenor. And then we went on to chat about other things.

No one's going to die when they are 25 or even 40. But when you acknowledge that you are going to die, the various points of focus in life change ... and are both more sensible and more enjoyable, I'd say.

I never have liked persuasions that threaten people with death -- whether it's sitting in a graveyard imagining your own body decomposing or promising some wondrous afterlife if you just play the game right. I prefer persuasions that point out the way to live well rather than to badger others with things they don't and can't know.

From within the current framework, be it 25 or 40 or 70 ... how does anyone live well? Let old age and death do their thing. You do yours.

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