"[My relationships were] like I was in these movies where the script was only half-written. When I’d get to the end of this half-script, the other actors wanted me to ad lib. But I had never gotten the hang of that. That’s why these movies were always box-office failures. Six of them in the past twenty years. I always blew the lines." ~ from my horrible first novel "Learn How To Pretend." (unpublished)(obviously)

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Waiting and Accepting: Gifts Not Waisted on the Elderly

Fearing old age prevents many of us from enjoying what this experience has to offer
Fearing old age prevents many of us from enjoying what this time in our life has to offer

I was recently turned on to a new book by fellow blogger and cyber-friend Ronni Bennett over at her Time Goes By blog.  It’s a book by Daniel Klein entitled “Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life”    Klein is a Harvard college graduate who majored in philosophy but whose career includes scripts for TV comedy and eventually focused on writing both fiction and non-fiction books.  His most popular was Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar – Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes which covers the classic categories of philosophy, with concepts explained or illustrated through humor.

author Daniel Klein
author Daniel Klein

In “Travels with Epicurus” Klein looks at old age as a stage in our life that should be appreciated for what it’s worth rather than something to dread.  It is after all an inevitable period in our lives we are all destined to face. There is much for each reader to take away from Klein’s observations as he spends time among the inhabitants of the Greek island of Hydra to study the culture’s apparent capacity to accept old age for its benefits, not its perceived curses.   Rather than view old age in and of itself as the threshold to death, the elders on this tiny Aegean landscape seem to value this time in their life that offers much more than we can attain wearing blinders during our ambitious and energetic youth.

For me, there were two themes that emerged - waiting and acceptance.  Behaviors that are not only foreign to today’s youth in most cultures, but to many of those people as well who are broaching old age or who have already crossed over to the late autumn of their lives.

Old age is not something I fear but I do get anxious at the thought of living long past any state where my quality of life has pretty much vanished.  There  is always that dread of living too long where we become nothing more than a fixture to be endured by our family, friends or even those strangers in our lives that become our caretakers.  It becomes a condition where our life has no real value if our mental and physical faculties depend largely on drugs, mechanisms and the 24-7 care of others.

 Read the rest of this essay at Woodgate's View.

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