In your most private moments, what do you think about aging? Does advancing seniority fill you with distaste, or with relief? Apprehension or contentment? Are you grinning or grimacing?
What image of aging first pops into your mind’s eye? More memory-making with the grandkids? More midnight shuffles to the bathroom? A lengthening shelf of unpronounceable pills? A closet-full of business attire dry-cleaned for schlepping to Goodwill?
Have you dreams deferred or nagging irritations? A Danube cruise? Elusive words on the tip of your tongue? Performing with the Community Players? Being nibbled to death by ducks?
Like most of my peers, I’m aware the aging glass is both half-empty and half-full. We have to take the sour with the sweet. But it’s my impression that we tend to over-emphasize seniority’s downsides. If that’s correct, this reflexive pessimism exacts a high price. Not only can it impair our mental and emotional health. It can also neglect and undervalue seniority’s rich offsetting opportunities, passions and pleasures. This blog is dedicated to helping rebalance the scales. I want to make the case for a positive approach to growing old.
I’m pleased to report that my November 30 blog post, “Election Reflections,” stimulated an unprecedented volume of feedback. More important than their quantity, those responses were intensely personal and thought-provoking. Going beyond mere comments on my original reflections, readers offered their own electoral opinions, analyses and concerns. The collective enthusiasm persuaded me to devote this follow-up post to sharing feedback excerpts. These selections are reproduced with the authors’ permission but I’ve omitted senders’ surnames to protect their privacy. Individual readers’ comments are flagged with stars. Some animated respondents are credited more than once.
In the following reprise, I’ve retained the original Election Reflections topic headings to organize the feedback. You will also find updates of my own November observations. A final section suggests organizations we might support and activities we might undertake to contribute personally to national healing.
Let me again thank Shary Farr, whose peer profile had been the planned subject of this December post, for her gracious flexibility in agreeing to a postponement.
Russell Sunshine worked for 40 years in 40 countries as an international development lawyer and independent policy advisor to foreign governments. Now retired back in America, he’s writing non-fiction and practicing agile aging on California’s Central Coast. Russell’s memoir, Far & Away: True Tales from an International Life, is available on Amazon. Click Here