Is it just me, or do the years go by faster as one gets older? I suppose that really is a cliche. Time flies of course… But what it’s really gotten me to think about is living in the present. The original title of this post was “Reflections on 2017” – but I really didn’t feel like going back and evaluating the years events. It wasn’t a bad year. It wasn’t a spectacular year. It was what I would categorize as a “steady” year. Time marching on and all that.
I am what society calls “middle-aged”. I embrace that. I accept that and I’m happy to be here. Being “middle-aged” in my circumstance also includes having elderly parents and young adult children. And I am fortunate to have both. Observing the differences in these “sandwich generations” of adulthood has been enlightening to say the least.
On the one end, having elderly parents means watching the natural effects of aging (arthritis, blood pressure issues, the natural slowing down and aches and pains) and sometimes dementia.
I’ve gained much perspective from watching the aging process play out. Over the past several years, I’ve been spending more time around elderly people, watching the expressions on their faces, seeing the wisdom, the acceptance there, even in the fog of dementia. And there is peace, and there is knowledge and it is humbling.
Why worry about things we have no control over, when in the end, what really matters is the relationships we had, how we treated others and ultimately cherishing the present moments?
“Never underestimate the gifts bestowed by those who’ve spent a long time on this planet.”
I tell this to my young adult children who are at the life stage of finishing their education, planning their careers, embarking on new adventures and relationships. For them, it is all about the future. What does life have in store for them? What if this happens, or that happens, or something doesn’t work out? What then? There is so much pressure, competition and anxiety.
I remember being in that mindset. And I still catch myself veering back to that way of thinking – because it’s hard not to. After all, what we want to happen in the future is what gives us hope. And there is so much to worry about, so much uncertainty in life.
I worry, but then I catch myself and steer my focus back to the present. To what is real. What is now.
I am hopeful for 2018. There will be good times and there will be struggles. But most importantly there will be moments. Present moments. And for that I am truly grateful.
Enjoy your present moments.
Happy New Year!