I was staying with dear friends we have known since student days and inevitably the conversation developed around the subject of these postings, and we talked about what its like to be at this time of our lives. Able to fulminate about the sort of things that make me despair at the culture of manipulation and greed that surrounds us, Brian however was essentially positive about his life. At one point he said that it was a privilege to be old. The statement was sufficiently different from some of the blogs in this series for me to ask him to reflect on what he meant by this.
It can only be said, he writes, ‘by an aged person like me who already enjoys other advantages as well – a loving and caring wife, a comfortable home, western style prosperity, an income adequate for my chosen lifestyle, general good health – to name a few. The particular advantages are of 2 kinds : freedom from restraints, and the wealth of time.
The first is freedom to do and be what you choose.
Being aged we can take control of our lives and make our own choices, probably in ways not previously possible. How we live our lives depends upon our own needs, attitudes, values, not upon the direction, control or demands of others. Now we can choose our own criteria for our actions, our commitments to others, all the things we do. We can still choose to give ourselves to the needs and wishes of others and these are chosen not imposed priorities.
Wealth of time is the other main advantage. Sometimes this is a source of anxiety about what to do with it. Long experience of feeling pressed for time to do what has to be done makes this new time wealth difficult to get used to, leading to worries about extended years of boredom.
But now we can have new family time, new things to do time, new experiences to discover time, new learning time, new voluntary service time, new leisure time – the list is as long as you want.
There is time to enjoy new experiences that you have long wished for; revisiting those people, places and activities that mean a lot to us.
However the future is limited. Many things hoped for won’t happen. Mountains both literal and figurative will not be climbed. So we have to make the most of the wealth of time that we have left!’
…thank you, Brian,