My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. One has had a long experience of life, not only one’s own life, but others’, too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One has seen grand theories rise, only to be toppled by stubborn facts. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty. At 80, one can take a long view and have a vivid, lived sense of history not possible at an earlier age. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like, which I could not do when I was 40 or 60. I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together. Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.
On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight. I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure. ~Oliver Sacks (brainpickings.org)
my mom’s birthday is a pause to reconnect to gratitude….to remember and honor moments in life that have been gifted, been received, been nurtured……
The path less traveled is less traveled for a reason- it requires courage to march to the beat of a different drum. Sometimes it can be a lonely trek- because very few will understand why you don’t walk the popular well-trodden path like everybody else. But you know you can’t. Your heart won’t let you. You must be true to yourself. And your regrets will be few. For at the end of your life you will look back at your short journey and with a satisfied smile, quietly acknowledge that it could never have been any other way. ~Christian Cabanilla
The whole of spiritual life is to meet our edge and soften.
~Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche