Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Task three of Aging Defining Life Realistically

When we “cling to illusions that are contrary to reality, then problems will surely arise”, according to Jung.  If we are following the tasks of ageing, we have come to understand that we are not immortal, that we will die, as well we have taken a look back and have understood the rules with which we live our life, and we have accepted these or made adjustments to them.

As we complete Jung’s task one and task two we have (hopefully) come to understand who we are, and we are prepared to strip away the illusions that we had come with us into the aging process. Many life events could have triggered our examination of our own reality, whether it be the sudden death of a loved one, a broken marriage, children run amok, a health crisis, a lost job or any number of other life challenges.

What does defining life realistically mean to you? This question is answered differently by each of us, and there is no wrong answer, if the question is answered based on our true understanding of self and how we see the world.  I know I cannot react as fast as I did when I was younger, nor is my mind as sharp as it once was, so I read this as the task of adjusting to the current situation of how my body and mind are different from what it was at 25 or 45.

I have friends who as they have aged have become narrower in their outlook on life, they have closed off themselves from new ideas, new ways of doing and do not open their minds to ideas that differ from their own. I find this sad, I believe that we as humans need to continually learn and grow.

To me finding life realistically means going deeper, spending more time reading, thinking instead of reacting and doing. I find myself more tolerant of the actions and words of others, I am open to more ideas that differ from my views than I was when I was I younger. Ageing is perhaps an exercise in letting go and accepting.

As the French philosopher and mystic, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said: we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience. As I grow older and look at life realistically, I realize there is merit in this idea.

Age allows us the luxury of realistically looking at our selves and our world, and the sense to begin to make changes that benefit, not only ourselves but the people we care about.   

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